A Midsummer Night's Dream: ZENITH Unveils DEFY Skyline Skeleton in White Ceramic

The new summer-themed watch, modern successor to the original DEFY model from 1969, combines the past and the present with bold architectural lines
A Midsummer Night's Dream: ZENITH Unveils DEFY Skyline Skeleton in White Ceramic
July 5, 2024
A Midsummer Night's Dream: ZENITH Unveils DEFY Skyline Skeleton in White Ceramic

An open movement has its internal mechanisms visible via a transparent or partially transparent dial or caseback. This allows a viewer to examine the movement's intricate workings and craftsmanship that encompass the gears, springs, and oscillating balance wheel. Frequently seen in high-end mechanical timepieces, open movements are valued for their aesthetic appeal and ability to highlight the complexity and creativity of the watchmaking process. The latest watch to boast such an open movement is the new DEFY Skyline Skeleton variant from ZENITH. Already available in black ceramic, Skyline now has a summer-themed version in white ceramic with a blue dial (Ref.  49.9301.3620/79.I001).

It seems watchmakers have cracked the cheat code for their timepieces as ceramic cases are gaining popularity. White ceramic is resistant to scratches and abrasions. This makes it a perfect choice for timepieces, as it helps keep their appearance clean over time, even with daily use. The material is substantially lighter than stainless steel or gold. Many also prefer white ceramic because of its modern, sleek design. Another advantage is that this material retains its colour and quality over time, preventing fading due to sunshine and other environmental variables, unlike copper that would have a brown film on the surface, thanks to oxidation occurring over a long period.

The DEFY Skyline Skeleton is a sporty version of the integrated luxury watch model, measuring 41 mm in diameter. The case remains angular, octagonal with a screw-down crown at 3 o’clock, but it is now topped with a dodecagonal bezel, which is a more balanced solution than what the 14-sided bezel of the historical models offered.

Ensuring a cool summery feel are the dial and the movement covered in dark blue for contrast. The symmetrical openworked bridges that form a four-pointed star provide a clear view of the El Primero-based movement, which includes a 3D Zenith star suspended between the bridges at 12 o’clock. This sense of symmetry is maintained by the running seconds counter at 6 o'clock, indicating the 1/10th of a second and rotating once every 10 seconds. To ensure good legibility, the hour and minute hands, and the hour markers are rhodium-plated and faceted. SLN covers all parts of the display.

Powering the timepiece is El Primero 3620 SK, an automatic movement with a silicon escape wheel and lever, delivering a 55-hour power reserve and a frequency of 5 Hz; it is also endowed with a stop-second mechanism for precise time-setting. Turning the watch over showcases the see-through caseback with a star-shaped rotor. The back of the movement is also fully coated in blue. The watch is finished on a white ceramic bracelet with a folding clasp. There is also an additional white rubber strap with a starry sky pattern and a folding clasp.

Image Credits: Zenith