Zenith celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of its legendary El Primero movement in January. This is not only an important date for the brand, but also one of the most significant in modern watchmaking history.
The original, revolutionary El Primero, with its date or triple-date and moon-phase options, was at the heart of the very first automatic chronograph, which enabled exceptional 1/10th of a second precision. And its evolution over five decades has secured this integrated calibre pole position for both high performance and as the most precise series-made chronograph. The El Primero now comes in 23 different versions — not just chronographs — featuring in pieces across the Zenith Chronomaster, Elite, Pilot, and new Defy collections.
The Defy collection is Zenith’s modern premium offering. It includes the Defy El Primero 21 and the groundbreaking, 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Innovation prize winner — the Defy Lab. The latter is the world’s most accurate mechanical watch, with its extraordinary oscillator system. The 44mm Defy El Primero 21 was launched last year and is powered by the El Primero 9004 automatic calibre with its exceptional 1/100th of a second chronograph.
Led by innovation and inspired by marine chronometers, the new Defy Zero G (for Gravity) features the high-frequency in-house El Primero 8812S manual-winding calibre, paired with a miniature, fine-tuned Gravity Control gyroscopic module. It neutralises the effects of gravity on the smooth running of the watch by making sure that the regulator and balance wheel are always in a horizontal position.
Back in 1969, Zenith’s unprecedented choice of dial colours for the El Primero also set a new trend. The combination of light grey, anthracite, and blue has become its aesthetic code. This design DNA is evident in this black rhodium-treated skeletonised movement of the Defy Zero G, which is visible through the sapphire crystal from both sides.
Functions include the hours and minutes on an open-worked dial, with blue counter offset at 12 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock, self-regulating Gravity Control module at 6 o’clock, and 50-hour power-reserve indicator at 2 o’clock. The Defy Zero G is unashamedly masculine, and its 44mm case is available in pink gold or titanium. It’s water-resistant to 100m and comes with your choice of an integrated metal bracelet or a rubber strap coated with alligator leather. Picot & Moss, 011-669-0500