The Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror is a high-tech love letter to chrome

The Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror is a high-tech love letter to chrome

Fergus Nash
  • The Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror sports nearly every surface in a reflective finish, excluding the sapphire dial plate letting you peek into the movement.
  • The flat planes of the angular 45mm case offer distortion-free reflections that curves would otherwise accentuate.
  • The El Primero 9004 offers a 1/100th of a second chronograph with its own power reserve indicator, with separate balance wheels for the chrono and regular timekeeping.

Watch enthusiasts love to go on about zaratsu and black polishing, however it takes a certain love of extremely to go to these lengths. The Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror’s press release goes on about how it’s inspired by the natural elements which it can reflect, but let’s be real, there’s nothing natural about this watch. With its completely mirrored dial, case and bracelet, it may as well be a tribute to the chrome excess of the ‘90s and ‘00s. But in typical Zenith style, they pull it off so well.

Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror 1

Chrome looks have gone in and out of fashion pretty regularly throughout its history, and with the current Y2K revival, the world has never been more ready for a chromed-out sports watch. You could describe it like a high-technology spaceship or you could describe it like a plastic toy, but ultimately the effect is the same — pure fun. Just as it reflects the environment around it, it also reflects your attitude towards creative watchmaking. The Zenith Defy Extreme is the perfect platform for such an experiment, as its rigid, blocky shapes accentuate the 1:1 reflections that inevitably get distorted on curves. Across its flat facets, you may need to be cautious of smudges, or at least carry a microfibre cloth around with you to keep the mirrors at their best. At 45mm in diameter, 52mm lug-to-lug and 15.4mm thick, the Defy Extreme Mirror doesn’t shy away. Not that you’d ever be able to hide this watch anyway, as being nearly 100% reflective doesn’t exactly lend itself to stealth.

Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror 2

Inspecting the dial reveals quite an intricate design, with a slightly tinted sapphire crystal that lets you peek into the movement, and three floating subdials with mirror finishes. Black printing means that you can still actually use the watch’s functions, along with both a mirrored and non-mirrored chapter ring for depth and contrast. Aside from the chronograph counters, there’s also a power reserve indicator placed over the Zenith logo. The five-pointed star can be seen there too, as well as a hollow version counterbalancing the seconds hand.

Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror 3

Of course, the Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror is extreme by name and by nature, being powered by the elaborate El Primero 9004. This dual-balance movement actually separates the chronograph from the rest of the timekeeping, allowing the day-to-day functionality to be taken care of by a 5Hz high-beat rate and 50-hour power reserve. The chronograph, which is capable of measuring 1/100ths of a second, beats at 360,000 vibrations per hour and has an individual power reserve of 50 minutes. The power reserve indicator on the dial is actually exclusively for the chronograph, so you can top it up by hand and let it fly whenever you like, while the automatic winding rotor handles the rest. Watching the chronograph hand complete a rotation of the dial in a single second can get pretty dizzying if left on, but it’s always going to be tempting to play with.

Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror pricing and availability

The Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror is available at Zenith’s website, boutiques, and authorised retailers. Price: CHF 25,900

Brand Zenith
Model Defy Extreme Mirror
Reference Number 03.9102.9004/90.I001
Case Dimensions 45mm (D) x 15.4mm (T) x 52mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 200 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire with double-sided AR coating
Dial Sapphire crystal, mirror
Lug Width Integrated
Strap H-link steel bracelet Rubber and velcro straps included
Movement El Primero 9004, in-house, automatic cam-operated chronograph, dual balance wheels
Power Reserve 50 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, 1/100th second chronograph, chronograph power reserve
Availability Now
Price CHF 25,900