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LVMH Watch Week 2022: Zenith

By Stephen Watson | 6 minute read

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This Zenith article is part of our spotlight on LVMH Watch Week 2022.

In 2020, LVMH set a groundbreaking precedent in the watch industry when they presented their collections at the Bvlgari Resort on Jumeirah Bay Island in Dubai, light-years from the conventional trade fair route of Baselworld and Geneva. The visionary changes set forth a fresh international outlook, upending many long-held traditions still reverberating throughout the industry.

The French multinational Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, a.k.a. LVMH, specializes in all types of global luxury, dedicating the first few weeks of January to focus on their top watch brands. In early January 2022, following strict Covid protocols, seeing watches in person became an exciting reality for the first live preview since 2020 at New York's LVMH Tower on Madison Avenue.

DEFY Revival A3642

For Zenith, a smart look back at their illustrious past, specifically a DEFY model from 1969, set the pace for their 2022 introductions. A Revival of the first DEFY model, a limited edition of 250 pieces, faithfully reproduces the look and spirit of the edgy DEFY collection using Zenith's original production plans. The DEFY collection is always a standout, an innovative line that pushes design and technology forward in exciting new ways. Sleek and futuristic, the DEFY Revival A3642 with its 37mm stainless steel case feels as cool and modern as it most certainly did during its 1969 debut.

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DEFY Skyline

Updating the DEFY collection for 2022, a new watch is being added to the line, a super attractive and versatile timepiece named the DEFY Skyline. Taking advantage of Zenith's groundbreaking design codes, the Skyline fits right into the current desire for a more casual 41mm stainless steel sports watch. Setting the Skyline apart is the use of the El Primero 3620 automatic movement with a 60-hour power reserve, famously used for their legendary chronograph. The constantly running small seconds counter with 1/10th of a second accuracy takes advantage of this movement, completing a rapid full rotation every ten seconds. This delightful detail is a must-see when you have the chance.

Adding to the appeal of the Skyline is the fully interchangeable strap system, where the steel bracelet can easily be swapped out for a matching rubber strap. The tiny engraved stars on the dial coalesce to create a distinctive graphic pattern that changes slightly with different lights and shadows in silver, blue, or black sunburst designs. The revival that inspired the new watch received the nickname coffre-fort, French for safe or vault, and you can see the resemblance immediately.

DEFY Extreme Carbon

As the official timekeeper and partner of the rapidly growing Extrême E Racing, Zenith introduced the DEFY Extreme Carbon. Electric racing is on the cusp of mainstream global awareness, an exciting development for electric cars, SUVs, and racing. Extrême E is a Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA oversees Formula One)sanctioned international off-road racing series where electric SUVs (think wildly souped-up dune buggies) race in the most extreme parts of the world, bringing attention to sustainability and climate awareness in places like the deserts of Neom, Saudi Arabia, the coastlines of Sardinia, Italy, and Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The new DEFY Extreme Carbon is designed to survive the harshest conditions, having proven its grit during the first season of Extrême E racing. Zenith's powerful El Primero 9004 automatic movement powers the 1/100th of a second Chronograph movement with a power reserve indicator at 12, small seconds at 9, 30-minute counter at 3, a 60-second counter at 6, and a central Chrono hand that makes one turn per second (!). A power reserve of 50 hours and water resistance of 20 ATM (about 200 meters) allows for ease of use and reliability. A 45mm case made of layered carbon fiber and micro-blasted titanium makes the DEFY Extreme Carbon as durable as it is light with an interchangeable strap system that allows for the easy switch out of either a rubber strap with a titanium folding buckle or a velcro strap with a carbon buckle.

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DEFY Midnight Sunset & Midnight Borealis

Stars and the night sky have always played a large part in the overall design of Zenith watches; the name Zenith even features a star within the insignia. The ladies DEFY, first introduced in 2020, now adds fabulous bold color to its glamorous yet sporty versatility. Expanding upon the night sky theme, two new styles find inspiration in the heavens with the DEFY Midnight Sunset and the DEFY Midnight Borealis.

The 36mm stainless steel case of both features a sapphire crystal caseback, revealing the automatic Elite 670 caliber, with a dependable power reserve of 50 hours and water resistance of 10 ATM (about 100 meters). Forty-four brilliant-cut diamonds surround the bezel, and 11 brilliant-cut diamonds are set on the dial, kindly leaving room for the date window at 3.

But the main attraction here is the spectacular gradient guilloché dials, red to yellow for the Midnight Sunset and blue to green for the Midnight Borealis. The interchangeable strap system adds more fashionable versatility, with the ability to switch up the DEFY with three additional different colored rubber, leather, and fabric straps. Reaching for the sky has never been so captivating!

DEFY Midnight owners can now also shop an exclusive range of sustainably made stylish straps made in partnership with Nona Source. This start-up business has been nurtured by LVMH and uses upcycling techniques to transform deadstock materials from the group’s respected Fashion & Leather Goods Maisons into hand crafted haute couture straps for those extra special occasions.

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DEFY 21 Chroma

Rainbows have been having a moment within the watch world. You can see the appeal; the cheerful, colourful designs provide the perfect antidote during the cold and gloomy winter months. At first glance, the artful DEFY 21 Chroma seems quite classic with its 44mm matte white ceramic case, but then reveals its kaleidoscopic effects in a very subtle way. The El Primero 9004 automatic caliber, besides its 1/100th of a second Chronograph movement, plays a fascinating role in the overall aesthetics.

Various colour PVD-coated bridges and blue oscillating weight within the visible movement reveal the "rainbow" effect around the dial, accentuated by rainbow hour markers varnished from red to violet. The limited edition of 200 pieces features a power reserve of 50 hours and water resistance of 10 ATM (about 100 meters), allowing for ease of use and powerful versatility. Subtle colorful details continue with a bright yellow crown and multi-color stitching on the white rubber and "Cordura-effect" strap. Like the DEFY 21 Chroma and rainbows, sometimes the best things appear where you least expect them.

Discover more from Zenith here at Goldsmiths.

Author Credit: Stephen Watson serves as an authority within the US watch industry. He is currently the Editor in Chief of Modern Luxury's Watches International following his post as the Editor in Chief of Revolution USA, Watch Journal, and Executive Editor of Surface Magazine. Stephen Watson is a GPHG academy member.

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