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Since its release, it’s a watch that has intrigued us. Until March this year, more precisely during Watches & Wonders, we had not yet seen it in person and even less tried it. And arriving at the stand of Zenith, it was the first thing that caught our attention, not on a display because the honor was with the Pilot collection, but on the wrist of one of the team members. Love at first sight was immediate and confirmed from the first fitting. We wanted to tell you about it, but not before we’ve spent at least a full day with this Defy Skyline in 41mm. It’s been 4 days now and here it is our opinion.
Defy: the future according to Zenith
Under the impulsion of Jean-Claude Biver, the revival of the Defy collection first began with a series of experiments. First with the Defy Lab and his monolith oscillator housed in a case made of Aeronith, a hybrid metal foam, following which the manufacture continued to play with materials before moving on to a truly mainstream model with the urban Skyline name. Still in the vein of the Defy collection, born in the 1960s with the desire to imagine the watches of the future, this archetype of the sport-chic watch Zenith’s DNA transpires. From the texture of the dial to its very special counter, to its bracelets with the patented system and its starry rotor, everything is there to satisfy the informed connoisseur as well as the enthusiast sensitive to design and looking for more privacy.
The strong points
For a watch from a major manufacturer with a sport-chic style like Gérald Genta to be available, it is already a feat. This availability coupled with its price make it a superb candidate for fans of the genre. We also appreciate the fact that his paternity is attached to a historical model of the brand, which gives it a certain legitimacy. Its proportions deserve a little thought because with 41mm wide on paper, it is a limit that some do not cross and of which we are usually part. But what its technical data sheet does not mention is its “horn to horn” length of only 46.3mm which reduces its size a lot when worn. Our wrist measures 17.5mm in circumference, and this watch fits it perfectly.
On the dial side, we love the starry pattern of the background that screams Zenith and above all affirms it, thanks to the small seconds making a complete turn in just 10 seconds. A great way to make the 36,000 A/h rate more tangible of the El Primero caliber. Its bracelets are also very well executed, and we can see that Zenith has meticulously considered every aspect, whether in terms of design, comfort and finishes, not to mention the ingenious and very efficient patented quick-change system. And by turning the watch over, this huge star also has its effect; the finishes of the movement are very subtle but are there and live up to the reputation of the brand.
What we regret
The list of positives is so long that we would forget the negative points. Frankly, we love everything! But since watchmaking is always a subjective matter, we can put ourselves in the shoes of a critical amateur. One might find destabilizing the fact that the small seconds running franticallyi.e.
6 times more than a traditional second, or even its position at 9 o’clock which unbalances the dial. We could also say that its patented system will force owners to buy their bracelets from Zenith and with a reduced selection, even if the very principle of the integrated bracelet is not to change frames. Some will think that the movement finishes are rather light or too industrial, or that its design is still very far from the original model, which leaves him only a name as a story. And finally, in terms of proportions, in a new era where diameters are shrinking, a more contained version 39mm for example would have been welcome. After some will say the opposite by asking for a stronger version for XL wrist…
Our opinion on this Zenith watch
Once again it is a love at first sight for us. We love everything and everything speaks to us. From its design to every little detail, every finish, every meticulousness carried out by the starred brand to offer the general public a sport-chic watch worthy of the name. And yet, when this piece was unveiled, nothing in particular was triggered in us. We said to ourselves that it was not bad, without asking too many questions. It’s a watch which deserves – even requires – to be tried and which will surprise you, just as she surprised us. And when we compare its price of 9,400€ or its availability with competing manufactures of the same size and with such a rich history, we say to ourselves that Zenith is frankly an underrated brand. Too many good boxes are ticked not to consider it. For us, the choice is made!
FEATURES – ZENITH DEFY SKYLINE
316L stainless steel – brushed and polished finish – 41mm wide x 46.3mm long x 12mm thick – flat sapphire crystal – transparent sapphire crystal back – screw-down crown – water resistance 10 ATM (100 meters)
navy blue background – sunburst finish – embossed star pattern – applied indexes – matte blue minute scale with white markings – date window at 3 o’clock – SuperLumiNova on indexes and hands
automatic – manufacture – El Primero 3620 caliber – 60-hour power reserve – 36,000 vibrations per hour (5Hz) – 219 parts – stop-seconds function – hours, minutes, seconds and date – skeletonized star-shaped oscillating weight
2-link stainless steel – brushed and polished finish – 25/17mm cutout – quick change system – butterfly folding clasp – second bespoke molded blue rubber strap with 25/18mm cutout and double folding clasp
reference 03.9300.3620/51.i001 – available on the official Zenith website and from authorized retailers – 2-year warranty (or 3 years on the official website) – €9,400 including tax