Bigger Case, Deeper Dive Rating, and Three New Colorways: This is the Zenith Defy Extreme (with Hands-on Photos)


Today at Watches & Wonders, Zenith unveiled the latest extension of its cutting-edge, “resolutely futuristic” Defy collection, called Defy Extreme. The new collection, which the manufacture describes as “all-terrain 1/100th of a second chronograph[s],” encompasses three models and essentially represents the most supercharged version of the Defy, with a larger and more accentuated silhouette to produce an overall more robust looking timepiece.  This new family arrives on the heels of other notable releases from the Defy collection, including the Defy 21 Felipe Pantone and Defy Classic Carbon, both unveiled at the start of this year.  

Taking a closer look at the Extreme trio, we find three distinct case executions: black microblasted titanium, blue-accented metallic titanium, and titanium-and-rose-gold. Upon first glance, the models seem like Zenith’s response to rising consumer interest in robust, integrated-bracelet sports watches, and one might even remark that the 12-sided ring underneath the bezel of each model is the brand’s answer to the increased use of octagonal shapes throughout the luxury-sport category; the recently released Big Bang Integral, from Zenith’s LVMH sister brand Hublot, features a somewhat similar design, for example.

All the cases are 45 mm in diameter by 15.4 mm thick — essentially, as mentioned, a beefed up version of the original Defy shape. Each case features sharp faceting on all its edges and prominent chronograph pushers with accented guards on its right side, flanking a large screw-down crown at the center. Each model is available on few different integrated straps that come standard with a new “interchangeable strap system” for quickly changing the look of the watch.

As on previous Defy models, the dial under the sapphire crystal is skeletonized, and showcases a chronograph subdial layout inclusive of a 1/100th second counter, 60-second counter, and 30-minute counter, along with a power-reserve indicator toward the 12 o’clock position. Standard timekeeping is displayed via running seconds and by large, partially skeletonized, lume-filled hour and minute hands. Despite its skeletonized style, the sporty dial is still quite readable thanks to its wise use of accent colors for the subdials and luminous markers and hands.

At the heart of the watch is the Zenith automatic Caliber 9004, a souped-up version of the El Primero movement that is capable of measuring super-precise chronograph interval down to 1/100th of a second. It does so through the use of two independent escapements: one with a standard frequency of 36,000 vph for regular timekeeping; the other, with a frequency of 360,000 vph, for the chronograph. The caliber also holds a power reserve of 50-hours, boasts a chronometer certification, and is wound via the Defy’s collection’s signature Zenith-star-shaped rotor. Its fine finishing is visible via a sapphire caseback, the use of which speaks to the watch’s robust functionality; its case notably has an incredibly hardy 200 meters of water resistance, making the Defy Extreme dive-ready if the need arises.

The Zenith Defy Extreme will be available later this year via authorized retailers, with the two all-titanium models marked at $18,000, and the rose-gold-accented edition priced somewhat higher, at $22,000.

To learn more, visit Zenith, here. Scroll down for more live photos:

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