Zenith DEFY 21 Black & White

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Zenith goes for strikingly bold contrast with the DEFY 21, made exclusively for Zenith’s boutiques and online shop.

Zenith DEFY 21 Black & White

While the DEFY 21 and DEFY Classic have gone through numerous iterations that incorporate exotic materials and vibrant colors, the Zenith Boutique-exclusive Black & White editions take on a drastically different approach with an achromatic palette.

The Case and Dial

Featuring a matte microblasted black ceramic case in 44mm for the DEFY 21, the muted finish enhances the sleek lines of the faceted case as it absorbs light rather than reflect it. The DEFY 21 is paired with white ceramic bezels for a sharp contrast, giving way to the three dimensional dial.



The case in size and style is similar in concept to pieces from Tag Heuer and Hublot. There are lesser screw fastened elements on the case, but the design construction is similar to the Big Bang. Changing colors or materials on the case, bezel, rehaut and strap gives 1 base design many SKUs. This allows manufacturing to scale. Using an integrated lugs design, the shorter lugs as compared to a Royal Oak Offshore or Hublot Big Bang delivers a stark improvement in wearability.



On the DEFY 21, a white 1/100th of a second scale and 30-minute chronograph counter appear to seemingly float above the blackened movement. The open worked dial is modern and sporty, and allows the wearer to enjoy the mechanics of the watch from the dial side. As the finishing touch, a black and white corduraeffect rubber strap completes the theme.


The Movement

The watch runs on the El Primero 9004 automatic caliber. This is a highly unique complication with 2 escapements, one for the watch and another for the 1/100th of a second Chronograph. Fascinating is that both escapements beat at different rates, since a higher rate is required for the 1/100th chronograph, but having it run all the time for regular timekeeping would create too much wear on the parts.  1 escapement for the watch beats at (36,000 VpH – 5 Hz); and 1 escapement for the Chronograph beats at (360,000 VpH – 50 Hz). The movement is TIME LAB Chronometer certified.


Concluding thoughts

A step up from the run-off the mill skeleton rubber strap chronographs, Zenith wows with its movement as it usually does. That said, while this piece is a stunner, some may find that the watch is more LVMH than it is Zenith. As one who is biased towards a classic Zenith case, the Shadow may be a better option if one is considering a Zenith for his collection.

Priced at 13900 CHF, the Black & White model is only available through boutiques or through Zenith’s online store.


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