You know the phrase “Business on the outside, party on the inside”? Well Zenith has flipped that with the new, very limited-edition Zenith Defy 21 Spectrum line. The business is on the inside with that magnificent dual-escapement El Primero 9004 automatic movement – but there’s no doubting that it’s party time on the outside. A classy party, but with just a hint of wild abandon.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen diamonds and precious stones – or solid colours – in the Defy models. A couple of years ago, a rose-gold Defy El Primero 21 added diamonds to the case and rainbow sapphires to the bezel with impressive effect. A titanium version swapped baguette-cut diamonds into the bezel. And if their 44mm size was a little too much, the Defy Classic offered similarly dazzling options in a more manageable 41mm.
But the Defy 21 Spectrum takes things to another level, most obviously with audacity of the colours. Yes, we’ve talked about bold colours a good bit through this year’s Watches and Wonders – and the past year – but Zenith has been a notable part of that trend, with the Defy 21 Ultraviolet in 2020 and the recent, dynamically multi-coloured Defy 21 Pantone.
These Spectrum models take Zenith’s previous experiments in colour and precious stones and commit in a big way.
The five colours are, the brand says, based on the wavelength of visible light. Now, you could argue about black being in here, and wonder where the yellow might be, but there is still a delightful cohesion in the collection even while each watch remains quite distinct from the other.
The 44mm, 15.4mm thick cases are encrusted with 288 diamonds, but each bezel is set with 44 baguette-cut precious stones, matched with coloured movements and rubber straps.
Sapphires ring each of the orange and blue editions. Amethyst is on the purple edition, while spinel gems sit on the black. Green tsavorites are on the green edition. What’s tsavorite? It’s a green Grossularite Garnet, of course… and you bet I had to Google that. But in a sea of green watch releases, this one absolutely stands out.
Back to the movement for a second – well the 1/100th of a second it can measure – because it’s always worth repeating that the watch features the world’s fastest chronograph, beating at 360,000 vibrations per hour. That requires a separate escapement for the chronograph and should the owner look beyond the dazzle of the case they’ll see it engage through the open-work dial.
Of the Spectrum options, arguably the blue most clearly links with Zenith’s traditional palette, given its familiar appearance on the El Primero’s dial and its previous use in the Defy classic.
But there’s a watch for every personality here and should you happen to meet one of the few owners of these pieces – limited to 10 per colour – you can be sure they know their watches, they know business and they probably have a pretty good idea where the party’s at.
Zenith Defy 21 Spectrum pricing and availability:
The Zenith Spectrum range – each colour limited to 10 pieces – is available for CHF 34,900. Zenith-Watches.com