Even as Zenith is primarily known for its high-frequency chronograph movement, El Primero, there is much more to its oeuvre than meets the eye. The luxury watchmaker has always believed in creating uncompromised timepieces, which are avant-garde and have an edgy design language, with equally advanced technology to support overall construction. The Defy collection from the Le Locle-based manufacturer holds a unique position in the world of horology, thanks to its technical precision and modern design. Expanding the line, Zenith has now launched the Defy Chroma II in two new variations. These include a matte white ceramic (Ref. 49.9014.9004/01.R953) model that looks very similar to the 2022 version, launched at the LVMH Watch Week that year, and a black microblasted ceramic variant (Ref. 49.9013.9004/21.R952).
The white ceramic version is limited to 500 pieces and will be available at Zenith boutiques and selected retailers globally while the black ceramic edition of 500 pieces is available at all Zenith-authorised points of sale. The 44 mm, matte, white ceramic model, housed in a barrel-shaped case, uses a combination of colours in the visible light range. The openworked dial features a spectrum of hues, spread across the skeleton movement, starting with a shade of green at 12 o'clock and then moving towards turquoise, blue, violet, pink, orange, yellow, and lime green in a clockwise direction for the hour markers. There are two large rectangular chronograph pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock in grey.
With the power reserve window at 12 o' clock in blue, the carefully applied colours go beyond the dial and the case towards the crown's blue rubber grip. The colours move even on the three chronograph hands in violet, blue, and orange. Nevertheless, the watch gets a monochromatic look with a white bezel, a white minute track with black marking, and a white rubber strap with rainbow stitching and a titanium double folding clasp.
Next in the collection is the 44 mm black microblasted ceramic variant, which also gets a barrel-shaped case and an openworked dial. The dial features a red marking at 12 o'clock, moving towards orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and violet for the hour markers. There are two large rectangular chronograph pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock in black. The orange power reserve window for this model is also at 12 o' clock. The carefully applied colours extend to the crown's yellow rubber grip as well. The chronograph hands are in violet, blue, and yellow. Sporting a monochromatic look, the watch gets a black bezel, a black minute track with white marking, and a black rubber strap with rainbow stitching and a titanium double folding clasp.
Common to both models are the three chronograph counters ― a small seconds counter at 9 o'clock, a 60-second counter at 6 o'clock, and a 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock. There is a central 1/100th of a second central chronograph hand as well. Powering the Zenith Defy Chroma II variants is the in-house El Primero 9004 automatic movement, which has twin escapements and twin barrels. The latest models also have rhodium-plated, faceted hour markers, and hour, minute hands. Only the hour markers get rainbow varnish.
The time escapement beats at 5Hz and the chronograph escapement beats at 50Hz (360,000vph), with the latter allowing precise 1/100th of a second timing. The two barrels provide a 50-hour power reserve and up to one hour of continuous chronograph timing. Turning each watch over showcases the oscillating weight, which is shaped like the Zenith star with four screws, and the engraving of the individual watch number out of 500.