Table of Contents
As always, the Watches & Wonders show is a source of great discoveries in terms of watchmaking novelties. After Rolex, we are now looking at Zenith, which is relying mainly on black ceramic this year to offer its models a look that is both contemporary and stealthy.
New Pilot Collection
«Dreaming of conquering the sky. Pursue the freedom to gain height and discover a new perspective. The sky belongs to you: it invites you to reach for your star. »
For once, the brand returns to its fascination for the field of aviation by redesigning a new collection Driver, leaving aside its traditional vintage style for a more contemporary style, straddling past and present. On the program, two creations, each offered in a microblasted black ceramic version and in a stainless steel version.
This automatic timepiece consists of a 40 mm case with soft and refined lines, combined with a round bezel with a flat surface. The matte black ceramic version gives the watch a stealthy look, while the satin steel model offers a more classic, all-purpose silhouette.
On the black opaline dial, the horizontal grooves add texture and volume, while evoking the corrugated sheets making up the fuselage of many vintage aircraft. Above, oversized Arabic numerals whose immaculate white offers perfect readability, including in the dark since they are luminescent. Ditto for the hour, minute and second hands.
Finally, at 6 o’clock, there is a date window surmounted by a luminescent white line reminiscent of the artificial horizon of an airplane (on-board instrument measures the attitude and inclination of the aircraft in relation to the horizon).
The transparent back of the Pilot Automatic allows you to admire its movement, the high-frequency Manufacture El Primero caliber 3620, equipped with a 60-hour power reserve. The openworked and blackened oscillating weight also echoes the artificial horizon, further reinforcing the aviation theme of this collection.
For the ceramic model, Zenith is presenting a khaki or black Cordura-effect rubber strap with a new folding clasp developed expressly for the Driver. As for the steel model, it leaves the choice between the same Cordura-style black rubber strap and a second one in more elegant brown calfskin, reminiscent of the typical equipment of aviators of yesteryear. These bracelets are interchangeable and will therefore allow you to alternate as you wish.
The Pilot Big Date Flyback
It was obviously necessary to add a chronograph to this new collection. Here too Zenith offers two different versions in micro-blasted black ceramic and steel. These two timepieces come in a 42.5 mm case with the same type of bezel as on the Pilot Automatic, and the same interchangeable straps. In addition, two pushers surround the crown to activate the chronograph functions.
The real change is therefore made at the level of the dial which, while retaining its grooved black, differs slightly from one model to another:
- On the Pilot Big Date Flyback in ceramic, the design is sober, modern, utilitarian, with white luminescent hands and indexes which contrast greatly with the dark dial. Two counters face each other at 3 and 9 o’clock, with a date window at 6 o’clock. This piece looks a lot like the Pilot Automaticbut in a chronograph version.
- On the Pilot Big Date Flyback in steel, same location for the counters and the date window, same luminescent white numerals and indexes, except that here we find a few touches of bright colours. On the border surrounding the minute counter at 3 o’clock, but also on the central seconds hand and the chronograph minute hand, which stand out with their vibrant orange.
Finally, these two creations also differ in terms of movement (visible on the back). They house a new version of the El Primero caliber 3600, with several new functions specially designed for the Driver, including the large date and the flyback function. This mechanism oscillates at 36,000 vph and offers 60 hours of power reserve.
New Defy Watches
The Defy Revival Shadow
There Defy Revival returns this year in a new ultra-light version in dark bead-blasted titanium for a very modern and stealthy look, with a matte black dial and scale bracelet directly integrated into the 37 mm octagonal case. Like the previous models, this watch is equipped with the Manufacture Elite 670 caliber, with 28,800 vph and 50 hours of power reserve.
In the latest addition to the DEFY Revival collection, ZENITH offers an alternative to the original 1969 DEFY with a decidedly modern and stealthy twist. The DEFY Revival Shadow is a refined blend of vintage design and modern creativity, combining the heritage of the original model with a contemporary aesthetic of dark hues and subtle textures. The geometric case and iconic ladder strap are made of matte titanium for the first time, and the matte black dial with luminescent indexes and hands reinforces the retro-futuristic look.
Born in the 1960s, 1969 was a major turning point for ZENITH, with the launch of the El Primero caliber and the DEFY collection. Facing the threat of quartz watches, ZENITH persisted in creating a watch with a bold design and unmatched robustness. One of the first DEFY models was the A3642, followed by the A3691 with a red dial.
The new DEFY Revival Shadow is an accurate recreation of the original, inspired by historical production plans and featuring all the distinctive details that made the first DEFY model an exceptional reference. The 37mm octagonal case and fourteen-sided bezel are made of matte titanium, with a matte black dial, unusual square hour markers and the Gay Frères matte titanium scale bracelet.
Equipped with the Elite 670 automatic movement, the DEFY Revival Shadow runs at 28,800 vibrations per minute, has 27 jewels and offers a 50-hour power reserve. The movement is visible through the sapphire caseback, combining vintage aesthetics with modern watchmaking techniques.
The Defy Skyline Ceramic
Since the inception of the DEFY collection, Zenith’s goal has been to influence the watchmaking field with rugged and distinctive watches that would accompany their owners on any adventure they decided to undertake. It all began in 1902 with the original “DEFI” series of rugged and precise pocket watches, which then led Zenith in 1969 to retain that bold spirit in a wristwatch collection called DEFY. With its bold and decidedly modern aesthetic, coupled with solid construction and reliable performance, it earned the nickname “safe”. Now, in an ever-changing world where every moment counts, the latest creation in the DEFY line lives up to expectations, with an elegant and evocative design accompanied by an innovative function.
Evoking the seemingly still night sky above an ever-waking city, the DEFY Skyline is dedicated to those who follow their own light and chart their own course in search of their star. Combining geometric structure and celestial inspiration, the starry dial with a sunray finish is adorned with a perfectly aligned pattern of engraved four-pointed stars, which are actually a modern reinterpretation of the Zenith “double Z” logo from the 1960s. At the heart of Zenith’s history and dating back to its origins, the night sky was a major source of inspiration for the visionary founder of the Manufacture, Georges-Favre Jacot, who realized his dream of creating the most accurate watch of his time and decided to name his Manufacture after the highest point in the night sky. The unique combination of the colored metal dials and the sparkling glow of light from the engraved pattern adds a subtle but distinctive touch of depth and fascination, transporting the wearer into another perception of time.
Bold in form but familiar in the Zenith repertoire, the DEFY Skyline draws on the distinct octagonal geometry of early DEFY models, including the recently updated Defy A3642, without attempting to recreate the past. Impressive in its angular form, the DEFY Skyline preserves the DNA of strength and durability of its predecessors while bringing a bolder, more architectural aesthetic and a host of new features to this metropolitan-ready companion.
Launched in 2022, the collection Defy Skyline welcomes two new 41 mm references in black ceramic combining satin-brushed and polished surfaces, with integrated bracelet. One features a skeletonized dial with a four-pointed star-shaped structure in the center behind which the movement can be seen, as well as a 1/10th of a second indicator in a disc at 6 o’clock. The other is simpler with its dial (also black) embellished with small cross motifs and 1/10th of a second counter at 9 o’clock.
Both timepieces are powered by the El Primero caliber 3620 and feature an interchangeable strap system (black rubber or black PVD stainless steel).