Editor’s Note: Need a quick watch fix? This preview of the new Zenith DEFY Skyline is a GET TO THE POINT (GTTP) review with all the info you want / need to know QUICK. For our actual hands-on reviews, please head to the dedicated section here. Now let’s get to the point.
What Is It
The new 41mm diameter Zenith DEFY Skyline 3-hander timepieces with the famed El Primero movement that seems to have been created to tick off a number fo boxes that watch enthusiasts seem to rant about.
The Defy Revival A3642 was the introductory chapter in the Defy resurgence; is the Zenith DEFY Skyline as a sequel better than the original?
Basic Specs Of The Zenith DEFY Skyline
Inside the Zenith DEFY Skyline ticks the automatic winding calibre El Primero 3620. This derivative of the El Primero 3600 1/10th second movement comprises 228 parts, beats at the high frequency of 5Hz, and provides a decent (min.) 60-hour power reserve.
Zenith DEFY Skyline – Why, When, Where
First announced as part of the third edition of the LVMH Watch Week 2022 (January 24 – 28, 2022).
In Sydney, both Gregory Jewellers and Swiss Concept are/used to be the Authorised dealers.
Attack of the Watchmaking Cliches
Geez. One man sketched a unique for that era timepiece that can these days resemble anything from a porthole to a traffic stop sign to manholes or drain covers and it becomes the norm. Great. It’s 2022. Can we move on though, please?
Introducing the new Zenith DEFY Skyline, one more set of watches that for a decent part mimic the Gerald Genta / AP RO universe.
Technically the Zenith DEFY Skyline is inspired by the brand’s own A3642 model that was a predecessor of the famed RO, but such is the fame and power of the RO is the modern age of Instagram, that one can’t help but associate the connections.
And it sucks too because Zenith has had a great run these past few years, and the recent nostalgically beautiful new Defy Revival A3642 and the stellar Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – Final Edition are great timepieces.
It is released in three colour variations. All retailing for the same 12’200 AUD: ref. 03.9300.3620/01.I001 with a silver-toned sunray-patterned dial, ref. 03.9300.3620/21.I001 with a black-toned sunray-patterned dial, and surprise, the ref. 03.9300.3620/51.I001 with, wait for it, a blue-toned sunray-patterned dial with a geometric shape to the dial base.
At first, the Zenith DEFY Skyline is like an attack of the watchmaking cliches: take an octagonal or hexagonal case design, throw in a movement that’s found fame or respected or uses the word ‘Manufacture’, use a case size that is slightly above 40mm mark so the watch community can talk about how only if it was a little smaller, insert a blue dial for versatility and a steel bracelet because even Covid couldn’t harm the obsession with bracelets, and voila. You get yourself a ‘new’ watch.
The good side of all this is that anyone who can’t afford to buy an AP RO can now get their hands on one of these. And given my respect for Zenith who I strongly believe is in no way ‘inferior’ to Audemars Piguet despite all the Holy Trinity talk, I reckon the Zenith DEFY Skyline is pretty good deal in that case.
So a better way to look at this is to ignore the fact that the RO exists. Then, the new Zenith DEFY Skyline is a stellar offering.
It’s got the QC and finishings from a top notch brand, it’s got the roots of the historic El Primero movement, a variety of dial colours and that starry night dial design, 100m water-resistance, impressive 60-hour power reserve, and frankly a very wearable 41mm diameter with ~11mm thickness and only ~46mm lug-to-lug spacing case. Flip the watch and one can admire the special oscillating weight with satined finishings.
There is great symmetry to the dial, and Zenith has even forgone the 4.30 date placement for this one. The 1/10th of a second counter at 9 is quirky and balances out the date at 3. By not framing the date Zenith has also avoided the pitfall of being compared to a GS.
The black ruthenium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova SLN C1 markers provide pretty great legibility too. It’s even got a silicon escape-wheel and lever. The steel bracelet appears to be very comfortable and with satin-brushed surface with chamfered and polished edges, it matches the contours of the faceted case.
Heck, the brand generously also offers the option to quickly swap out the metal bracelet, with a complementary patterned rubber strap. They have also listened to the enthusiasts and finished the date wheel in the same colour as the dial.
There is too much to love and appreciate, just keep certain AP, GP, PP, VC watches out of your mind.
Simply put, the new Zenith DEFY Skyline ignoring that the world has similar looking watches is a superb offering. But disregard that and the design sadly is up for debate. Not by seasoned watch collectors mind you, but by those whose idea of the world of horology is limited to the internet.
I personally have too much respect for the brand to criticise this release. So I will wrap this preview up with this – Zenith is obviously capable of great watchmaking, and while each to their own, I would be honoured to include a number of their other watches in my collection. This watch, I am not sure for myself, perhaps a lengthy time with it might change that.
That said, you can absolutely NOT go wrong when buying these. The new Zenith DEFY timepieces may have been constructed in a ‘skyline’ with similar architectural codes, but my educated guess is, once you would have them strapped on your wrists, they would have the potential to write their own story and reach new ‘starry’ heights.
To find out more about the new Zenith DEFY Skyline and other Zenith watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are courtesy are ©Zenith. All rights reserved.