HANDS-ON: The Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition marks five firsts for the collectionZach Blass
Collaborative limited-edition watches between brands and publishers are all the rage right now, their saturation within the marketplace creating some cynicism towards their value outside of being rather rare and collectible. I can’t speak for other publishers and the brands they work with, but what I can say with absolute certainty is that when Time+Tide approaches a project, such as this, we are all in. It is not a pursuit of just making another watch limited in quantity to create hype or FOMO. This is why we are really proud of the realisation of the Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition. The Defy Classic Skeleton is, admittedly, a very underrated collection in the watch marketplace. Therefore, we have kept many of the elements that make the collection a total sleeper hit for the wrist. But, we also have used this opportunity to work with Zenith to really explore new territory, put our own stamp on the watch, and draw further attention to the Defy Classic Skeleton by incorporating five new elements of design that mark firsts for the collection.
The Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition case has a very muted aesthetic that’s stealthy in nature, fashioned in a dark grey titanium that, for the first time ever within the collection, has a microblasted finish. Microblasted surfaces create a subtle grained texture that do a great job of hiding the inevitable signs of wear. Its faceted cushion profile is a very Zenith format, taking direct cues from their beloved classics like the A384 chronograph. Here, however, you don’t have the presence of mixed finishes or light play – again the entire case, even its bevels, have a microblasted finish. Digging into the dimensions, you have a very wrist and cuff-friendly case 41mm in diameter, a slender 10.75mm thick, and compact 45mm lug-to-lug across the wrist. Apt for the Night Surfer nickname, the watch is also 100 metres water-resistant making it fully capable of going for a swim or a surf.
A microblasted finish was not utilised just for the sake of doing something for the first time, it was a calculated choice that works to best frame its vertical-gradient blue dial. Another first for the Defy Classic Skeleton collection, the muted nature of the case showcases the debuting vertical-gradient blue dial that is the star of the show – quite literally when you consider another debuting element I will touch upon soon. The openworked gradient blue really pops, its dynamic nature best conveyed in the metal. Faceted diamond-cut hour indices and a white printed hashed minutes track consume the outer circumference of the dial, framing the star-like open-worked centre.
The central hours, minutes, and star counterweighted seconds hands, like the hour indices, are rhodium-plated and mirror polished. Speaking of stars, the subtle star of the show is actually the star logo at the 12′ position. The hour indices, hours and minutes hands, and, for the first time ever, the Zenith star at 12′ all incorporate SuperLuminova®. The idea stems from the “evening star” that appears, for a time, as the only visible star in the Southern Hemisphere – further capturing the essence behind the dial: a surfer looking up from the horizon up to the sky above. This, however, is not the only surprise glowing element to uncover here. The fourth debuting design element is the luminous date frame at 6′, its glowing aperture making the date easier to discern in darker night hours.
The fifth and final debuting element of the Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition is its case matching microblasted titanium bracelet. Its usage in the case and bracelet keep this robust sports watch featherlight, weighing in at a mere total of 95 grams. The bracelet rests flush to the case creating an integrated-like profile, and tapers as you get closer to the clasp. The links are comprised of h-shaped and squared central components, with bevels to the shoulders of the link sides.
Inside the Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition is the in-house caliber Elite 670SK. The caliber has an industrious and futuristic finish and aesthetic that ties in really well with the vibe and look of the case, bracelet, and dial. It offers 50 hours of power reserve, hacking seconds, and, notably, the 28,800 vph movement utilizes a silicon pallet lever and escape wheel for resistance against magnetism. The open-worked star winding rotor continues the skeletonised theme of the watch, allowing you to maximize your view of the caliber beneath.
Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition pricing and availability:
Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton “Night Surfer” Time+Tide Edition is priced at $9000 USD / $12,200 AUD and is available now in our shop, and in Zenith physical and online boutiques worldwide.