LVMH Watch Week: The Zenith Defy Extreme Glacier brings intrigue with a subtle pop LVMH Watch Week: The Zenith Defy Extreme Glacier brings intrigue with a subtle pop

LVMH Watch Week: The Zenith Defy Extreme Glacier brings intrigue with a subtle pop

D.C. Hannay

LVMH Watch Week is back, and Zenith is bringing out the big guns to kick off 2023. And one of the biggest and boldest has to be the new limited-to-50 Defy Extreme Glacier chrono, a technological tour-de-force in a striking package that incorporates a unique material.

Zenith Defy Extreme Glacier

The 45mm titanium case still retains the angular, architectural visage of its Extreme predecessors, but throws a unique ingredient into the mix: Chalcedony stone. Like the Extreme Desert Edition from 2021, the Glacier utilises the natural material in the bezel surround and pusher guards, and where the Desert used black Falcon’s Eye stone, the Glacier goes with a translucent pale blue that evokes its icy namesake. The subtle hue of the Chalcedony adeptly complements the cool tone of the titanium, imbuing the timepiece with an almost otherworldly glow, akin to the light play that happens when you’re out on an actual glacier. The rest of the case elements are familiar, including the screwdown crown that provides 200 metres of water resistance, very competitive for a chronograph.

Zenith Defy Extreme Glacier

The open dial continues the chilled-out theme, constructed of frosted and tinted sapphire that resembles a thin layer of ice beneath the subdials, with a transparent outer edge. It’s a unique view of the inner works, mysterious and revealing all at once. The remaining dial elements feature complementary silver-hued finishes, including the chapter ring, subdials, and the rhodium-plated handset and indices, all fully lumed with Super-LumiNova. The subdials functions are as follows, going clockwise from 12: chronograph power reserve (more on that in a minute), 30-minute counter, 60-second counter, and running seconds at 9. It’s a dial packed with oodles of visual interest, and a real showcase for the horological fireworks of the Extreme’s movement.

Zenith Defy Extreme Glacier

Said movement is Zenith’s in-house automatic El Primero 9004, an evolution of 1969’s original El Primero. The contemporary cutting-edge of Zenith’s mechanical know-how sports two separate escapements, one for timekeeping, and a second one for the chronograph that runs at a mindbending 360,000 vibrations per hour, hurtling the central chrono hand around the dial once per second. This allows wearers to track increments of 1/100th of a second, but consumes a metric tonne of energy in the process (10 times higher than the standard El Primero), which is the reason the power reserve metre at 12 is so vital. Zenith has over 50 years of experience in high-frequency automatic chronographs, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing in this upper strata of movement manufacture. And you can view all this eye candy, including the Zenith signature star-shaped rotor through the visible sapphire caseback.

Even though the Defy Extreme Glacier’s bracelet is well-integrated into the case, you have options, thanks to the quick-change arrangement of the titanium bracelet. It features a brushed finish on its nicely faceted H-links, cutting a mean profile that compares well to other A-list integrated sports models. As befits a watch of action, you can also swap out your Extreme’s bracelet for the included white rubber strap with titanium clasp, or the third strap, an up-for-anything black velcro number.

The Defy Extreme is a well known quantity among fans of bold sports watches, and those who’ve been hypnotised by that dizzying chrono movement. And if you like to keep things frosty, it doesn’t get much cooler than the Glacier edition. But given its limited nature, you shouldn’t cool your heels too long before pulling the trigger.


Brand Zenith
Model Defy Extreme Glacier
Case Dimensions 45mm (D) x 15.4mm (T) x 51mm (L2L)
Case Material Titanium and chalcedony
Water Resistance 200m
Dial Frosted sapphire
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal and caseback
Bracelet/Strap Brushed titanium bracelet, rubber strap w/titanium clasp, Velcro fabric strap
Movement El Primero 9004 automatic chronograph
Power Reserve 60 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve, 1/100th of a second chronograph
Availability Now, limited to 50 pcs.
Price CHF25,900