Defy El Primero represents Zenith for LVMH watchmaking in 2017

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 1

Jean-Claude Biver says that Zenith will do less of the high profile sponsorship of TAG Heuer and work with fewer superstar brand ambassadors than TAG or Hublot. Its marketing budget, the LVMH head of watchmaking says, will be poured into research and development.

Zenith will be the horological leader of the LVMH group of brands; the top, the apex, the zenith. It will be the exceptional technology and design of its watches that will appeal to a new generation of enthusiasts as well as loyal collectors, the company hopes.

The Defy El Primero 21 is a case study in what Mr Biver means. It builds on the reputation of Zenith in the 1960s, when it was considered a leader in highly accurate mechanical movements, leading up to acclaim for producing what it said was the world’s most accurate series-made chronograph in 1969 – a watch capable of measuring tenths of seconds.

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In 2017, the Defy El Primero is being launched with a COSC-certified in-house movement driving a hundredth of a second display by means of a central hand that performs a full rotation of the dial marked with hundredths of a second, in just one second.

That isn’t the only trick under the dial. The watch’s double-chain structure is based on two regulators, made of carbon-matrix carbon nanotube composite, a patented new material that is resistant to magnetic fields and temperature gradients to a degree well above existing norms.

“With its powerful 44 mm titanium case, Defy El Primero 21 becomes the master of extreme precision,” Zenith says.

The 2017 model has an all-new El Primero movement equipped with new regulating organs as well as a patented chronograph control mechanism.

Chronometer-certified by the COSC, the calibre has been created with the stated aim to establish itself as the most accurate on the market.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 calibre

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder