10 Best Zenith Defy Watches For the Avant-Garde

Jan 30, 2020
10 Best Zenith Defy Watches For the Avant-Garde

When talking about Zenith, people think of the El Primero. The collection’s name, which translates to “the first”, is worthy of every praise it receives. But, Zenith is not only about the El Primero. They have other collections that deserve the same recognition. One of them is the Zenith Defy collection.


The Zenith Defy collection is what you would describe as ‘avant-garde’. Indeed, the watches in the lineup boast a design that’s unlike any other. But inside its very modern-looking exterior, you’ll find a very precise movement that’s the product of years of watchmaking heritage. This is the reason why people call it the “future of tradition”.


Learn more about the collection by reading the article below.

What Makes the Zenith Defy Collection So Good?

The Zenith Defy collection is the brand’s take on experimental watches. While the collection is not one you’ll often hear about, it is still important nonetheless. We have listed below some of the reasons why this collection deserves your full attention.

1. A Long and Reliable Heritage

Outside the watch community, and maybe even inside it, Zenith is a brand that flies under the radar. Its technology and innovations, however, are far from being low-key. In fact, Zenith is the first brand that opened the first watchmaking “manufacture” in 1865.


That was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the brand’s milestones. Another interesting thing is that they were the first to introduce an automatically wound wrist chronograph. And that wasn’t just any chronograph. The watch’s movement ticked at 36,000 vibrations per hour. Presently, the average movement oscillates at 28,000 vibrations per hour. This only shows that even vintage Zenith watches were way ahead of their time. 


To make things more interesting, famous Swiss watch brands even borrowed their movements. That even includes Rolex! So, go check if your Rolex Daytona really has a Zenith movement inside. If you’re good enough to be trusted by a watch brand giant like Rolex, then it says a lot about their quality.

2. The Safe of Time

In the 1960s, when the Defy collection was introduced, it swept the people off their feet. The movements inside the watches were so precious that they deserved a case that could protect them. So, Zenith produced them in durable metal cases that were resistant to both shock and moisture. Not soon after its release, people started calling it the “safe of time”.


Trust me, it feels good wearing a watch and not worrying much about damaging it. 

3. Reasonable Price

One big advantage of an unpopular brand is that it is relatively easy to get. If you’re a big fan of the Holy Trinity of watches, you’ll know the struggles of searching high and low for a Rolex Rainbow Daytona that’s not being sold double its SRP. Or maybe the agony of standing by the phone for months waiting for the call from an AD informing you that you’re already next in line to buy a Patek Philippe.


This is not the case with the Zenith Defy collection or even Zenith watches in general. In reality, you can even score their watches for less than the SRP in the used market! See, being unpopular also has its upside.

Recommended Zenith Defy Watches

If you’re in the market for your next timepiece, you’ll never go wrong with Zenith. Here are 10 watches from the Zenith Defy collection that you should check out.

front view of Zenith Defy El Primero 21 watch

1. Zenith Defy El Primero 21

Can’t choose between the brand’s two collections? The Zenith Defy El Primero 21 is the perfect combination of the Defy and El Primero. It takes El Primero’s excellent movements encased in the Defy collection’s modern interpretation.


To bring honour to the world’s first automatic chronograph (a.k.a. the El Primero), they took some design cues from it. The case is large at 44mm with oversized chronograph buttons like its predecessor. However, Zenith gave it a modern twist by giving it an open-worked dial so you could see the gears inside.

front view of Zenith Defy Classic watch


2. Zenith Defy Classic

It’s hard to admit, but a lot of models in the Defy collection look too wild for many people’s tastes. That is why Zenith decided to launch a milder and simpler version — the Zenith Defy Classic.


But simple doesn’t have to be boring. In hopes of catering to a wider audience while still standing out, this timepiece dons a simple blue-toned sunray-patterned dial. They also decided to keep the case size in the middle. Whereas the others are big at around 44mm, this one has a more friendly size of 41mm.


Meanwhile, its in-house skeletonised movement is fitted inside a brushed titanium case. This gives it a sporty-looking vibe that looks a lot like the Royal Oak and the Nautilus.

front view of Zenith Defy Zero G watch

3. Zenith Defy Zero G

Zenith once again introduces a horological innovation with the Zenith Defy Zero G. In case you’re wondering, the letter G in its name stands for “Gravity Control”. This mechanism makes sure that the regulator is always in a horizontal position no matter what. Its invention is considered another impressive feat in the horological world.


This mechanical innovation is something a lot of watch geeks will surely appreciate.

front view of Zenith Defy Classic 18-Carat watch

4. Zenith Defy Classic Brushed Titanium and 18K Rose Gold

Are you a fan of shiny things? If yes, then you’ll fancy the Zenith Defy Classic Brushed Titanium and 18K Rose Gold. This two-toned wristwatch boasts the same precise automatic movement that the rest of the collection has. Only, this one comes in a louder colourway.


This wristwatch is perfect for giving a pop of colour to your wardrobe while still staying elegant.

front view of Zenith Defy Classic Range Rover watch

5. Zenith Defy Classic Range Rover

Does the Zenith Defy Classic Range Rover‘s name sound familiar? Yes, it was intentionally named after Land Rover’s vehicle. But there are a lot more in common with the watch and the car aside from the word “adventurous”. If you look closely, the brushed titanium case of the watch mimics the Range Rover’s body. Meanwhile, the skeleton dial is sculpted to echo the SUV’s wheels.


But that’s not all. The watch’s seconds hand comes in what they call an ‘arctic petrol’ turquoise blue colour. That is the same colour that can be found on the Range Rover Evoque’s steering wheel and seats.


What’s so good about this collaboration is that the product placement is so subtle. In fact, even when looking at it up close, you wouldn’t instantly know that it’s a collaboration. The only indication of the partnership is the engraving at the caseback, and a lot of people love it.

front view of Zenith Defy Double Tourbillon watch

6. Zenith Defy Double Tourbillon

As its name implies, the Zenith Defy Double Tourbillon contains not one, but two tourbillons inside. The industry-standard tourbillon rotates at only 1 rotation per minute. Meanwhile, one of its two tourbillons rotates at 1 per 5 seconds. This makes it one of the fastest tourbillons in the world!


Apart from the fact that it is technologically advanced, it is futuristic-looking too. It has a clear skeleton design that shows off the gears inside. Because when you’re powered by a great machine inside, why not show it off?

front view of Zenith Defy Carl Cox watch

7. Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Carl Cox Edition

As an observation, people like looking at the lume of different watches. Case in point, watch forums are filled with pictures of timepieces with their hands and markers glowing. If you think those are impressive, wait ’til you see the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Carl Cox Edition. Not only does its hands and markers glow, but its whole bezel does, too! 


Carl Cox, the DJ whom this watch was named after, chose a very modern look for this watch. The case, pushers, crown, and bezel are all made of carbon fibre. Meanwhile, the strap dons a bright red colour with stitchings that glow in the dark, too! I gotta say, this is perfect for a DJ who spends their job in the dark.


But the fun doesn’t end there. As a personal touch, Carl Cox even added a small vinyl disc on one of the subdials. How cool is that?

front view of Zenith Defy Classic Midnight watch

8. Zenith Defy Classic Midnight

Ladies, this one is for you. The Zenith Defy Classic Midnight is the brand’s first model that’s made exclusively for women. At only 36mm, this wristwatch looks perfect on slender wrists.


As its name implies, this timepiece sports a celestial-themed design, and the dial is a gradient blue that looks like the night sky. Meanwhile, its hour markers are adorned with diamonds to represent the stars.


This watch is also easily customisable. You can choose among a plethora of straps and bracelets that range from classic to playful. But don’t worry! Zenith specifically designed the straps to be easy to change. No tools needed! Zenith definitely aimed beyond the stars with this one.

front view of Zenith Defy Inventor watch

9. Zenith Defy Inventor

The Zenith Defy Inventor is very special for one good reason — it uses the oscillator. To the unacquainted, the oscillator is the brand’s patented regulating organ. In the watch community, the tech is considered revolutionary because it replaces the traditional sprung balance that has been used for centuries. They even call it the “new era of watchmaking precision”. So, if this does not convince you of Zenith’s watchmaking prowess, then I don’t know what will.


Meanwhile, its exterior is made out of ultra-light materials. Specifically, brushed titanium for the case and Aeronith for the bezel. This aluminium component is considered one of the lightest in the world. So light that you could easily forget that the watch is on your wrist!

front view of Zenith Defy Fusee Tourbillon watch

10. Zenith Defy Fusee Tourbillon

The Zenith Defy Fusee Tourbillon combines two of the most important watch innovations. These are the fusée-and-chain escapement and tourbillon. 


There’s no denying that both the tourbillon and fusée-and-chain escapement have become obsolete. However, having both of those mechanisms means that the Zenith Defy Fusee Tourbillon is a mechanical marvel. Truth be told, the fusée-and-chain transmissions are very complex to manufacture even in this age.


Meanwhile, its exterior is at the other end of the spectrum. Despite the antiquated mechanisms inside, it still possesses the same avant-garde vibes that the collection has.

Final Notes

Zenith is one of the most reliable Swiss watch brands in the world. Its countless accolades are proof of that. Moreover, the Zenith Defy collection is a demonstration of their dominance in watchmaking. 


Indeed, the Defy watches’ quirky designs may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, there is no denying that its movements are some of the best, if not the best. And if you’re a hardcore watch geek, this is more than enough reason to check out the collection.


Need an elegant watch for your next formal occasion? Check out our top picks here!

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