We are so besotted with our “Night Surfer” Zenith, and this video shows why (and it proves Andrew’s in 🇨🇭 too) We are so besotted with our “Night Surfer” Zenith, and this video shows why (and it proves Andrew’s in 🇨🇭 too)

We are so besotted with our “Night Surfer” Zenith, and this video shows why (and it proves Andrew’s in 🇨🇭 too)

Andrew McUtchen

Andrew’s note: Hi, and greetings from Neuchâtel, Switzerland! It’s not like I needed to prove that I’m here (after all, Zenith totally outed me on their Instagram with a super-fun interview with me and CEO Julien Tornare), but it’s more a case of being so stoked about it, I’m taking every chance to catch it on record. And when Marcus, our Amsterdam-based Creative Director joined me briefly for a gig, I grabbed him and said, let’s go shoot some Swiss stuff! The magic was back. A country I’ve visited more than I ever could have imagined is now a place I officially miss when I’m away from it for years on end. And so, the intro to this Night Surfer review starts where I am right now – just outside the Beaulac Hotel, on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel. To check on availability of this watch, hit here. 

What’s in a name?

First, let’s catch you up on this nickname that’s being bandied about. Why is this Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton being referred to as the “night surfer? The VO in this video spells it out:

“The sun is going down, but you’re sure there’s one good set left. There is a line of light that appears on the horizon. The sky turns electric blue and deepens to black above you. The evening star is the first to appear, and it’s so bright. The water laps at your board while you wait. Just one more set, and you’ll call it. 

This is the scene that inspired our second collaboration of 2021, the Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton Night Surfer, Time+Tide Edition. The first was also ocean-related, in the Doxa SUB 600T Pacific. Whether you’re a surfer or not, this vision of a blue-black night sky and the evening star is one we know well in the Southern Hemisphere.” 

The Defy Classic Skeleton

The model this scene takes place in is the Defy Classic Skeleton, which is the second best-selling Zenith model after the Chronomaster Sport. The Defy Classic looks like a contemporary watch, but it is based on a model from 1969 – a pretty incredible and decidedly futuristic design that still looks modern today, with its facets and multi-layered case construction of shapes within shapes. 

The 5 premieres on this model

The Night Surfer houses five premieres for Zenith, and it highlights the many cool things about the Defy Classic Skeleton – most notably that skeletonised dial which lifts off the movement – you can still see the escapement and purple components peeping through – with the top layer being the mirror-polished and green Superluminova-filled handset. 

1 & 2. The first two premieres are the frame for the sky-show on the dial, the case and bracelet. Both are in microblasted titanium for the first time in the Defy Classic collection. It’s a material and finish that has to be experienced to be believed. It is textured to the touch, care of the stippled surface, but cool and light to the skin – the watch weighs just 95 grams. 

Microblasted titanium is something of a mic-drop material flex from Zenith – they use it rarely, and it always stands out. The Edge of Space, the Shadow and the Land Rover Defy 21 are three recent models that were made all that more desirable for its use. This is the first time ever that Zenith has done a bracelet in this material.

3. The third premiere is the luminous Zenith star logo – the first time the brand has done a logo in Superluminova. As for how it’s done, I had assumed it was cast in a mold, but wrong! Cut out of a solid piece of Superluminova! Crazy. Shines incredibly brightly, which you can see on the promo video Zenith filmed.

4. The one detail that’s missing from the promo video, however, is the fourth premiere! The luminous square behind the date on the date wheel – the superluminova backlight allows you to see the date at night, as the square of luminous material shines through the skeletonised date wheel. 

5. The last premiere is the dial itself – it is the first gradient dial in the Defy Classic Skeleton collection. It is skeletonised, obviously, and features a vivid, vibrant blue vertical gradient – from light blue at 6, where the sun has just set, to a rich dark blue at 12. The method to create this even tonal gradient was complex – it involved a translucent layer on the whole dial, then a light blue layer on the whole dial, and then a lot of experimentation with the painting process to get the imperceptible gradient shift just right.

How does the watch wear, and what are the key specs?

As for the specs – the watch is 41mm, though measured from 3 to 9 it is 40mm, so it wears closer to a 40mm watch. Also, the lack of lugs means that its lug to lug is just 45mm. You can see from the shot of it on a feminine wrist, that this watch is properly unisex, which fits CEO Julien Tornare’s vision for ungendered watches. The thickness of the watch is where the goal of the Defy collection to be both sporty and elegant comes in. It is just 10.74mm high, partly care of the in-house manufacture Elite 670SK movement, which beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers 50 hours power reserve and hacking seconds. The pallet lever and escape wheel are in silicon, meaning this watch will resist the magnetism of your phone, and other digital devices, the magnet in your phone case, all of that! 

Pricing and availability

The Night Surfer is a limited edition of 100 pieces, and is priced at $9000 USD and $12,200 AUD. 

Buy the watch here until sold out.