Mirror finishing, also known as mirror polish or high polish, is a technique that involves polishing a surface to achieve a high level of smoothness and shine, almost resembling the reflective quality of a mirror. Mirror finishing is often applied to metals like stainless steel, gold, platinum, and titanium. Luxury watchmaker Zenith has just launched the new DEFY Extreme Mirror (Ref. 03.9102.9004/90.I001) watch as a shining example of this technique. With a fully mirror-polished metal exterior, the timepiece gets a tone that reflects light and colours, yet has no colours of its own.
This year saw many timepiece makers moving towards gender-neutral watches, especially for people with thinner wrists. Zenith’s DEFY Extreme watch has always been associated with ruggedness in tonality and enjoys the status of a luxurious sports watch. Indeed, the line has seen it all — from iridescent rainbow hues to carbon fibre Extreme E to double tourbillons. With each new addition, the collection really lives up to its name.
Achieving a mirror finish requires skilled craftsmanship and precision. Expert artisans carefully polish the surfaces by hand or by using specialised tools to eliminate any imperfection. The aim is to create a flawless, reflective surface. While mirror finishing adds a luxurious touch, it may also make a watch more susceptible to scratches and fingerprints. Therefore, watches with mirror finishes may require more careful maintenance. Regular cleaning and polishing are recommended to keep the mirror finish looking its best.
The new Zenith DEFY Extreme Mirror is a bold watch, housed in a 45 mm, stainless steel case, with a dodecagonal and circular stepped bezel, wedge-like stylised crown guards, and two rectangular pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock (to start and restart the chronograph complication). The watch has intricate surfaces, moving between monolithic simplicity and complex reflections, depending on the light. Like its case, the Extreme Mirror’s skeleton, open, multi-layered dial is ultra-reflective and monochromatic.
Zenith takes the timepiece to a different level of finesse as the whole dial gets metallic mirrored finishing. This includes no colour on the outer minute track, the rhodium-plated hour markers, and the hour and minute hands that are faceted and coated with SuperLumiNova. The 1/100th of a second chronograph scale features satin-brushed metallic elements, keeping the dial easy to read while maintaining the fluid, all-metal theme. The dial gets three silver-coloured counters: a small seconds counter at 9 o'clock, a 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock, and a 60-second counter at 6 o'clock. There is a chronograph power reserve indication at 12 o'clock. The central chronograph hand makes one turn each second.
Powering the watch is the in-house Calibre El Primero 9004 movement, which delivers a minimum 50 hours (watch) and approximately 50 minutes (chronograph) of power reserve. The movement is partially visible through the open dial as well as through the sapphire caseback. Turning the watch over showcases the special oscillating weight with satined finishings on a transparent sapphire crystal caseback. Finishing the watch is a full, polished metal bracelet with a folding clasp. It is also accompanied by a black rubber strap with a folding buckle and a Velcro strap. The timepiece has a fully interchangeable strap system.