INTRODUCING: The Zenith DEFY 21 Ultrablue adds a touch of indigo to a high-tech tour de force INTRODUCING: The Zenith DEFY 21 Ultrablue adds a touch of indigo to a high-tech tour de force

INTRODUCING: The Zenith DEFY 21 Ultrablue adds a touch of indigo to a high-tech tour de force

Thor Svaboe

Only two weeks ago we introduced you to the firework display of bedazzling colours in the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone, which hypnotised us with small, fresh flashes of the rainbow. This time, Zenith shows us how the angular tool presence of the DEFY series projects an image of quiet elegance, in the Zenith DEFY 21 Ultrablue. 

As the more formal and less outrè brother of the Ultraviolet of 2020, the new Ultrablue is no less of a wrist presence. This time, the dark, matte sandblasted titanium case is matched to the comfortable signature DEFY rubber strap with an indigo blue textured fabric pattern. The light high-tech dynamic language of titanium is a perfect way for Zenith to underline what is their technical tour de force chronograph. Just as the Felipe Pantone edition thoroughly distracted us from what is a seriously impressive version of the El Primero calibre, one press of the top right pusher and you’ll be sold. The mad whizz of the 1/100th second hand through its 360,000vph will boggle your synapses. Equally mind-bending is the fact that all the tech of the twin escapements will fit within a case of such lightness and softness of touch thanks to the smooth sandblasted surface.

The sapphire dial surface lets you have a fascinating peek into the inner workings, here popping with an electric blue on the angular bridgework and finissage of the El Primero heart. Yes, there is a lot going on, but blue distractions aside, it is still a graphically sharp and proportionate dial, the large registers easily making the DEFY 21 Ultrablue an eminently usable chronograph. If you don’t feel like timing a brisk run for fear of stumbling while watching the spin of the 1/100th hand doing its thing, be careful, as it is a very real risk.  The SLN C1 Super-Luminova on both hands and indices will make even a night mission a legible affair, sans the openworked distractions of the dial.

Personally while feeling a strong sports vibe in the Ultrablue, the monochrome of the matte grey transferred onto the crisp registers and rehaut makes for a quiet backdrop to the rhodium-plated, visceral look of the twin-tip sword-like hour and minute hands. Juxtapose to the blocky polished indices gives me a feeling of formality, though equally at home with a summer short-sleeved tee as that Brioni suit. Knowing the soft comfort of the Zenith rubber strap makes it a very tempting proposition indeed.

Be prepared to set aside extra wardrobe time, as the bright metallic blue details are even more prominent under the blue star-shaped rotor when you take the watch off and turn it around. Within the muscular, faceted case lies the in-house El Primero 9004 calibre, the first automatic chronograph from last century that’s upgraded here through the impressive addition of the double escapement. The mechanical 1/100th second party trick, believe me, is something you will never get tired of with a dynamic signature of one rotation per second. This is made possible through one escapement for the watch (36,000 VpH – 5 Hz) and one escapement for the chronograph (360,000 VpH – 50 Hz). Chronometer-certified, of course, Zenith plays a strong game. The power reserve has a minimum of 50 hours, in a movement we could class as “haute sports horlogerie”, and beautiful with it.

The Zenith DEFY 21 Ultrablue, price and availability:

The DEFY 21 Ultrablue chronograph is CHF 13,400 on a rubber strap. This will be available at Zenith Boutiques around the world as well as its regional online boutiques, from March 2021.

Made in partnership with Zenith. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.