The yr 1969 is remembered by many because the yr that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, because the yr of Woodstock and the Beatles’ final efficiency. Watch followers will bear in mind 1969 because the yr that Zenith launched the world’s first high-frequency automated chronograph motion, El Primero, and with considerably much less fanfare, the launch of its heavy-duty Defy mannequin. Following the well-received reproductions of historic El Primero fashions from the Sixties and Seventies (A3817, A385, A386), Zenith turns its consideration to the earliest Defy mannequin of 1969, reproduced with correct particulars utilizing the unique manufacturing plans. Meet the Zenith Defy Revival A3642.
The robust man
Usually considered the precursor to the elaborately formed circumstances of luxurious sports activities watches that materialised with Gérald Genta’s Royal Oak, the Defy tapped into the design temper of the late Sixties and early Seventies with its outrageously angular octagonal case and tetradecagonal (14-sided) bezel. A sturdy beast of a watch with a chunky 37mm waterproof case, screw-down crown and caseback and a mineral crystal, the Defy was described in adverts of the day as a “vault”. The Defy-Plongeur – ref. A3648 and A3650 – supplied a powerful 600m water-resistance, whereas the common Defy fashions – the A3642 but additionally the A3643 (silver dial) and A3645 (black dial) – delivered a really satisfying 300m water-resistance. Fitted with a patented motion suspension system and a versatile elastic shock-absorbing ring, the Defy is as sturdy a sports activities watch as they arrive. The primary Defy fashions had been powered by the Zenith calibre 2552PC with a 3Hz frequency after which the calibre 2562PC with a 4Hz frequency.
The octagonal case design of the unique Defy, with its scalloped edges, contrasting brushed and polished finishings and the dizzying 14-sided bezel, is radical and edgy. Coupled with the gradient or fumé dial – one of many first of its type in 1969 – the hour markers with horizontal ridges added a dynamic sense of movement to the dial. The metal ladder bracelet designed and manufactured by Homosexual Frères could possibly be adjusted and got here with a security clasp. Naturally, the markers, hour and minute fingers and central seconds hand with its paddle tip had been handled with tritium to glow at nighttime.
Nevertheless, like many different watchmakers, the rampage of low cost quartz watches flooding the market throughout the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties had its results, and Zenith turned to quartz. Following its acquisition by the LVMH group in 2000, the Defy line was revived in 2006 and is now the springboard for Zenith’s technological improvements incarnated in fashions just like the Defy Lab of 2017 with its revolutionary oscillator, the Defy Excessive with two escapements, or the Defy Zero-G and Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire. The Defy assortment additionally homes much less excessive fashions that show their defiantly up to date spirit because of avant-garde supplies and radical skeletonisation.
The Zenith Defy Revival A3642
As we talked about, the revival model of the Defy A3642 was created utilizing authentic manufacturing plans to provide an virtually good copy. The formidable geometry of the 37mm case with a case peak of 13.6mm is faithfully recreated with its thick octagonal and scalloped base and 14-sided raised and polished bezel. Utilizing contrasting brushed finishings on the floor of the case and polished bevels, the dynamic structure of the watch involves life. The big screw-down crown ensures the 300m water-resistance of the case, though the unique screw-down caseback with its four-pointed star has been changed with a sapphire crystal glass.
The taupe fumé dial is equivalent to the unique with a lighter tone within the centre that intensifies because it reaches the white minute and seconds observe on the perimeter. The long-lasting rectangular hour markers are faceted, rhodium-plated and polished to spotlight the ridges. Positioned discreetly beneath the markers are dots of lume that match the Tremendous-LumiNova used to deal with the faceted and rhodium-plated hour, minute and paddle-shaped seconds fingers. Like the unique, the date window is tucked in between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. Together with the Tremendous-LumiNova SLN C1, one other concession to modernity is the substitute of the unique mineral glass over the dial with a sapphire crystal, just like the caseback. The inscriptions on the dial and the typography are much like the 1969 Defy. The utilized Zenith star is at midday together with the phrases ZENITH, automated, and DEFY, however the point out of the frequency discovered at 12 o’clock on some fashions (these with 4Hz motion) has been eliminated right here.
Though the chrome steel bracelet is now not made by Homosexual Frère, it replicates the ladder bracelet with its open rungs and is brushed all through with a foldover clasp. The lug width is 18mm.
Calibre Elite 670
Zenith’s Elite 670 calibre is an automated motion with central seconds and date. Developed by Zenith in 1990 and offered in 1994, calibre 670 (automated) and calibre 650 (hand-wound) had been conceived as modular ultra-thin calibres that could possibly be made solely in-house. With a diameter of 25.60mm and a peak of simply 3.47mm, this ultra-thin motion operates at a frequency of 4Hz/28,800vph and delivers an influence reserve of fifty hours. The rotor is openworked and the bridges and plates are adorned with Geneva stripes and round graining.
Availability & Worth
As Zenith mentions in its press launch, a contemporary successor to the Defy with a sleeker case and a “complete new degree of efficiency” will quickly be unveiled (to be anticipated in per week, for the LVMH Watch Week 2022). The Zenith Defy Revival A3642 is restricted to 250 items and retails for CHF 6,900.
Extra info at Zenith-watches.com.