Swiss watchmaker Zenith has collaborated with Valencia-based artist Felipe Pantone to create a timepiece that blends ‘high-frequency watchmaking’ with ‘vibrant multimedia optical art’.
Pantone first collaborated with Zenith in 2020 when the brand offered the facade of its manufacture as a canvas for the artist. Since then, they have worked on two other watch collections. The fourth project, namely the Defy Extreme Felipe Pantone watch (Ref. 03.9100.9004/49.I210), is inspired by Pantone’s ‘Planned Iridescence’ series, wherein the artist combines bold colours with metallic elements and geometric shapes to create optical illusions.
Technicolour Timepiece in Motion
Each timepiece in the 100-piece limited edition is set in a 45-mm, mirror-polished stainless steel case and has a minimum 60-hour power reserve from an El Primero 9004 automatic movement. It plays with transparency and colour in the dodecagonal bezel with chronograph pushers at 2 o’ clock and 4 o’ clock to start and restart the chronograph respectively. They are made of translucent blue YAS (yttrium aluminosilicate), a crystalline glass material comparable to synthetic sapphire.
The four corners of the case sport the inscription, ‘FP#1’, which stands for ‘Felipe Pantone El Primero’. To match the blue transparent elements of the case, the watch comes with a blue silicone strap as well as a polished steel bracelet with a folding clasp and a black Velcro strap that can be swapped with just the push of a button on the caseback.
A distinctly Felipe Pantone-inspired redesign has also been applied to the El Primero 1/100th-of-a-second, automatic, high-frequency chronograph beating within. A gradient rainbow 3D PVD finish coats the oscillating weight with an open star shape, made of Ruthenium, complete with satin finishing. For the chronograph and timekeeping functions, the watch has two independent regulating organs that beat at 50Hz and 5Hz, making sure that the accuracy of the watch is not affected by the use of the chronograph.
Dialling it Up
The sapphire elements of the dial provide it with a translucent and metallic look, which flashes colourful, geometric patterns when you turn it slightly. Pantone’s signature style of merging colour with light makes the dial unlike any other.
The hour and minute hands use the same PVD technique, reflecting a perfectly transitioning gradient of metallic rainbow tones. Despite the standardisation of this innovative process, each set of hands takes on slightly different colours, making each watch truly unique. Minutes are segmented by different tones on the chronograph's minute counter. It mimics the moiré effect with its concentric black-and-white lines on its second counter. The Rhodium-plated hour markers are faceted and coated with Beige SuperLuminova. The dial indicates hours and minutes at the centre, small seconds at 9 o'clock, a 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock, a 60-second counter at 6 o'clock, and the chronograph power-reserve at 12 o'clock. The watch is powered by the El Primero 9004 automatic, 1/100th-of-a-second movement. Here, the central second hand moves around the dial in one second.
The watch has a 45-mm case with 200-m water resistance and is delivered in a box that looks like an art book. The 100 pieces will be available at Zenith boutiques (online and brick-and-mortar stores) from October 27, 2022.