Review: new Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Ultrablue

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The new Zenith Defy Ultrablue is the brand’s statement high-frequency chronograph. In a striking blue color, the high precision timepiece achieves stellar technical feats of a dual escapement and a 1/100th of a second chronograph.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Ultrablue

The Case and Dial

The 44mm microblasted titanium case has a dark grey color tone close to gunmetal, with a granular surface texture. Its case design features strong sharp lines with angled facets with a homogenous surface finish.

With ergonomics as well as durability in mind, the watch is fit with a rubber and fabric strap, with a water-resistance of 100 metres.

Rectangular pushers activate and reset the chronograph, while a rubber inlay screwdown crown adjusts the time. Both buttons and crown are well sized to maximize the tactile experience when interacting with the watch, enhancing the watch’s sportiness.

The openworked dial shows an underlying dark blue bridge, beneath contrasting grey subdials. Through the dial, one can see the escapement, gear train and spring barrel. Moving parts that add to the exciting 1/100th second theater on the dial.

Unequivocally modern in its choice of proportions, architecture, materials and finish, the DEFY El Primero 21 Ultrablue does  carry on some of the distinctive traits from the earliest retro-futuristic DEFY models of the 1960s such as the  A3642, included the angular case and its faceted bezel.

The same strap quick release is used in the Ultrablue as well.

The El Primero 21 Ultrablue is also fit with a quick release mechanism which allows for easy strap changes without the use of an additional tool.

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. For starters, dual escapement, super high beat chronograph, all titanium case are major plus points for a modern sports watch.

Priced at US$13500, the DEFY 21 Ultrablue is only available through boutiques or through Zenith’s online store and appears to be sold out currently.


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