Upon its reintroduction in 2021, the Zenith Defy Excessive instantly took its place as one of the vital superior and audacious designs within the model’s intensive lineup. Designed as a bigger, extra aggressive “all-terrain” tackle the fashionable Defy sequence, the Defy Excessive took nods to each beefed-up variations of competing sports activities chronographs and to the model’s divisive 2000s period underneath earlier CEO Thierry Nataf. This extra rugged positioning made it a pure fixture for the model’s partnership with the Excessive E all-electric off-road racing sequence, and as Excessive E gears up for its second season in 2022 Zenith returns to the Defy Excessive with a brand new iteration designed with the pains of recent rally racing in thoughts. The brand new Zenith Defy Excessive in carbon fiber affords one of many model’s most dramatic and ultra-sporty designs in current reminiscence, alongside considered one of its most unique in-house actions.
At 45mm-wide and a ponderous 16mm-thick, the matte cast carbon fiber and titanium case of this new Zenith Defy Excessive is decidedly not for the faint of coronary heart. The general type carries over a lot of the fashionable Defy sequence’ structure, together with the squared-off built-in lugs, triangular case aspect chamfers, and the general angular tonneau case profile, however provides this type a extra muscular, substantial presence with reworked proportions and a handful of recent visible parts. The bezel takes on a layered two-piece design, with the spherical easy internal bezel flanked by a 12-sided ring in micro bead-blasted titanium. Zenith additionally provides further visible heft to the three o’clock aspect of the case with a set of large, wedge-like utilized titanium crown guards. These imposing guards additionally act as surrounds for the sloping cast carbon pushers, persevering with the terraced theme established by the bezel. Whereas all these varieties have been a part of the Defy Excessive sequence earlier than, the carbon materials itself provides this design a markedly completely different character. The layered striations within the carbon fiber assist to visually break up the majority of this case in pictures, notably from the case sides, and the totally matte mottled look of the carbon provides this variant a racier, extra purpose-built look than its extra polished stablemates. Like earlier iterations, nonetheless, the solid carbon Zenith Defy Excessive boasts a powerful 200 meters of water resistance.
Like earlier iterations of the Defy Excessive, the Zenith Defy Excessive in carbon makes use of a completely skeletonized dial design. Followers of the model ought to be conversant in this format, with its broad skeleton palms, 12 o’clock energy reserve indicator, and faceted utilized indices. As with the preliminary fashions within the line, Zenith takes intensive measures to stability the drama of a visual skeleton motion with the legibility that the majority skeleton dials lack. Step one on this course of comes from the clear sapphire dial floor, which each permits the subdial scales to visually float above the motion and provides a perceptible — though clear — boundary layer between the timekeeping parts and the motion under. The opposite secret to this extremely legible design is coloration. Every of the chronograph subdials, together with the outer 1/100-second chronograph scale, makes use of highlights in vibrant yellow, blue, or inexperienced to attract consideration in pictures, whereas the 12 o’clock energy reserve indicator makes use of comparable highlights in blazing crimson. Against this, the motion under is completed in a combination of matte and brushed grays, with brushed black used for the primary bridges. This lets the motion mix in easily with the remainder of the design in pictures, whereas nonetheless permitting attentive viewers to soak up highlights just like the 12 o’clock mainspring barrel, the gear prepare, and the stability wheel at 8 o’clock. Zenith additionally makes use of these vibrant spotlight colours as a springboard for future iterations within the sequence. Starting with the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia in February 2022, Zenith will produce a brand new restricted version colorway of the solid carbon Defy Excessive based mostly on every spherical of the 2022 Excessive E championship.
Zenith powers the Defy Excessive in carbon fiber with its in-house El Primero 9004 automated chronograph motion. The El Primero 9004 has change into a fixture in a lot of Zenith’s high-end chronograph choices over the previous few years and stays an announcement piece within the model’s lineup for one particular motive – its over-the-top tackle the chronograph complication. The El Primero sequence has been well-known since 1969 for its high-frequency 36,000 bph beat price, however to permit this mechanical chronograph to trace 1/100-second intervals Zenith equips the El Primero 9004 with a second escapement devoted to the chronograph complication. As soon as engaged, this secondary escapement beats at a ballistic 360,000 bph, 10 instances quicker than the bottom motion, which permits the central chronograph hand to make a full circuit of the dial as soon as each second. When this ultra-high-frequency chronograph will not be in use, the El Primero 9004 manages a decent 50 hours of energy reserve.
Zenith pairs the brand new carbon Defy Excessive with a trio of included straps. First up is a sturdy built-in black material strap with a raised central ridge in black rubber and a Velcro fastening system. This rugged, dual-material look matches the light-weight, purposeful ethos of the watch effectively in pictures, and can probably be essentially the most versatile of the three on the wrist. The remaining two straps are variations on the built-in rubber straps utilized by the remainder of the Defy Excessive line, with raised rectangular sections that mimic the middle hyperlinks of the road’s H-link bracelet. Accessible in each black and a vibrant scarlet crimson, this sculptural strap provides the already layered design much more visible depth in pictures.
Though its over-the-top design philosophy is probably not to all tastes, its aggressive new supplies, futuristic racing spirit, and motion bursting with mechanical spectacle make the brand new Zenith Defy Excessive in carbon fiber a step ahead for the model’s most audacious line. The Zenith Defy Excessive in carbon fiber is out there now by way of approved sellers. MSRP for this mannequin stands at $25,100 as of press time. For extra info, please go to the model’s web site.