Review: new Zenith DEFY Extreme in Carbon Fibre

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The Zenith DEFY Extreme represents a supercharged DEFY, where the outlines and details are accentuated. The case is larger than the DEFY 21, has an additional ring under the bezel and a more pronounced pusher and crown design.

Review: Zenith DEFY Extreme Carbon

Retail price of the new Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon is set at SGD 36,700 inclusive of GST / CHF 24,900.

The Case and Dial

The new DEFY Extreme is fit with a larger 45mm carbon fibre case. It features more sharp lines, angles, beveled edges and an additional contrasting stacked 12 sided bezel ring. The overall silhouette brings to mind elements of Grand Seiko’s SBGC231 and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore. Side by side with the regular DEFY 21, the Extreme looks significantly more sporty, a proverbial answer to the Royal Oak Offshore.

The DEFY collection is Zenith’s luxury sports collection and the DEFY Extreme takes it a step further. The case is water resistant to 200 meters despite its see-through caseback. The larger case size helps with pressure resistance, but not without maintaining the retro-futuristic styling of the original 1960s DEFY models.

Visually striking and astonishingly light, the case as well as the pushers and crown are made of highly durable layered carbon fibre. Commonly used in the automotive and aviation industries among many others, carbon fibre offers a unique set of performance properties.

Highlighting the angular geometry of the case, the pusher protectors as well as the twelve-sided bezel are made in microblasted titanium.

The dial features applied overlapping chronograph counters. For low light readability, the satin brushed hands as well as the applied hour markers are also extra-large and filled with copious amounts of Super-LumiNova. The openworked dial shows an underlying gunmetal bridge, beneath contrasting colored 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.

The DEFY Extreme comes with three different straps with quick strap-change mechanisms: A mircroblasted or polished and satin-brushed titanium bracelet, a rubber strap with a folding buckle matching the case and, a first for Zenith and the DEFY line, and a Velcro® strap.

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

We like the look and feel of the watch; in particular for its larger size as compared to the DEFY 21. While it takes a larger wrist to pull off, the DEFY Extreme offers a compelling alternative in the skeleton sports watch category. As with the DEFY 21, the movement is ahead of most of its competitors, in technical feat and animation. The Extreme also offers multiple looks in one watch with a bracelet, rubber and velcro option interchangeable with a button quick release mechanism. Priced from CHF 24,900, the DEFY Extreme is a muscled up DEFY 21 for those who like a sporty chronograph with a carbon fibre flare.


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1 Comment

  1. ARBcuentatiempos on

    Gracias por compartir.
    Me gusta mucho el calibre.
    No puedo decir lo mismo de la envoltura exterior de este Zenith.
    Aunque entiendo que ser novedoso es cada vez mas difícil en relojería, suelo rechazar los diseños copiados o reiterativos. En este caso, los dos mandos pivotantes con forma de palacas, son copia al calco del excelente diseño volcado por Citizen en el Cronómetro 1/1000 que usa el calibre U70.