INTRODUCING: The Zenith DEFY Zero-G and 21 Double Tourbillon are clear-cut winners in sapphire crystalRicardo Sime
Sapphire crystal. Known for its durability and high transparency, it’s the number one choice for top watch brands around the world, providing a window for the beautiful dials that are on display. However, recently, brands have been experimenting with the material to be more than just a window. Instead, they want to create a full glass house for their creations to reside. And that is exactly what we have here with these latest, extremely limited, releases from Zenith. Here are the Zenith DEFY Zero-G Sapphire and DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire; two watches fully displaying the work of this horological powerhouse.
Upon first glance, the level of craftmanship required to create these watches is immediately noticeable. With both being housed in a 46mm sapphire case, a material that can only be manipulated by diamond-tipped tools, the soft and sharp lines are a testament to this. However, it becomes quite clear that the use of sapphire has more to do with what’s behind it than the material itself.
By creating a sapphire case, Zenith can’t cheat where some brands normally would. With every millimetre of these watches on display, care must be taken to present a beautiful piece. So those edges on the dial, normally hidden behind a stainless-steel case and rehaut? Have to be finished. Or those screws securing the movement to the case? Have to be finished as well. Nothing can be left unaddressed because it’s all on display for the world to see.
With such stringent requirements, Zenith wholeheartedly succeeds in presenting two masterpieces. On the Zenith DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon, we’re treated to their automatic El Primero 9020 movement. Beating at 36,000 bph and with a power reserve of 50 hours, the movement’s chronograph function allows you to measure time at 1/100 of a second. Beyond it’s functions, Zenith has also immaculately finished the movement. It has been given a blue PVD coating, that is engraved with stars. Multiple edges have grey rhodium chamfers, which should easily capture light. These design elements can also be found on the back of the movement as well.
On the Zenith DEFY Zero-G Sapphire, we get those same design elements with the addition of meteorite, aventurine and enamel. These materials are used throughout the case and aid in bringing the astronomical theme together. The aventurine is used on the centre portion of the dial at 12. The meteorite surrounds that. And at 10 o’clock, we have the enamel being used to depict our close neighbor in the solar system, Mars.
Yet even with all this beauty, the highlight of this model is definitely the cylindrical movement located at 6 o’clock. This is the “Gravity Control” gyroscopic regulating module of this manually wound El Primero 8812 movement. It also beats at 36,00o bph and has a 50 hour power reserve. To complete the astronomy theme, when viewed from the caseback, this cylinder has been finished to look like our moon.
In terms of similarities, both watches are rated to 3 ATM (30 metres). They will also come on dual material straps. The strap has blue fabric with grey contrast stitching on the top and black rubber on the skin side. This is secured with a titanium double folding clasp.
Overall, the Zenith DEFY Zero-G Sapphire and DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire are two watches where the brands gets to flex it’s horological and artistic muscle. They’re both beautifully made and any of the 20 individuals who buy one will have a remarkable piece to put on their wrist.
Yeah. You read correctly. Only 10 pieces of each model will be made. Furthermore, the individuals who are lucky enough to get one will also experience a weightless flight this coming February. This will be through Novespace in Bordeaux, France. Guests will even receive instruction from an actual astronaut. That my friends is one heck of a package experience.
Zenith Defy Zero-G Sapphire and DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire Price and Availability:
Both Zenith Defy models are available at brand boutiques. The Zenith Defy Zero-G Sapphire is $174,000 USD and Defy 21 Double Tourbillon is $196,000 USD