This year, at LVMH Watch Week 2021, the fastest chronograph in production gets a new, bold colourway in shades of green: Meet the new Zenith DEFY 21 Urban Jungle. If there’s one collection that best defines Zenith’s spirit of innovation and watchmaking excellence, it would undoubtedly be the Defy Series. Through the collection, Zenith continues to set new standards in both precision and avant-garde design.
It was back in 2017 when the legendary high-frequency El Primero chronograph movement was brought into the 21st century. The newest avatar of the famed calibre—the El Primero 21 is essentially an integrated chronograph capable of measuring time intervals accurately to 1/100th of a second, an upgrade from 1/10th of a second, which its predecessor offered in 1969. In terms of speed, the movement operates at 50Hz and features two escapements, one for the main timekeeping and one for the chronograph. What’s interesting about the El Primero 21 is that the two balance wheels are made from a carbon-matrix carbon nanotubes composite which is strong, light, antimagnetic and has greater resistance to changes in temperature, thereby making the movement even more resilient.
The new Zenith DEFY 21 Urban Jungle is beautifully crafted in a 44mm khaki green ceramic case with angular lugs. I wouldn’t really go to the extent of calling this watch compact, but rest assured it sits comfortably on the wrist. The open-worked dial has a modern, avant-garde appearance. It is wonderfully contrasted by khaki green accents (parts of the main plate). In a first for Zenith, the manufacture has cladded its 1/100th of a second chronograph in a green ceramic armour for the DEFY 21 Urban Jungle. Sleek rhodium-plated hour-markers and hands filled with SuperLumiNova add a beautiful touch to the tri-compax layout. You have a chronograph power-reserve indicator at 12 o’clock, hours and minutes in the centre, small seconds at 9 o’clock, black 60-second counter at 6 o’clock and a distinctive silver 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. The inner bezel bears a silver scale graduated from 1 to 100 around which a 1/100th of a second hand sweeps at a lightning speed of one turn per second, offering unprecedented visual impact and a surreal sensory experience of time for the wearer. The open-worked dial of the DEFY 21 Urban Jungle offers an unobstructed view of the revolutionary chronograph movement, El Primero 9004, topped by a star-tipped 1/100th of a second central hand, large luminescent baton-type hands and facetted hour-markers all paying proud tribute in a stunning demonstration of futuristic brilliance.
The magnificent movement provides the wearer with a power reserve of 50 hours. Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback is a green star-shaped oscillating rotor to match the case and parts of the dial. Completing the look is a grey rubber strap with a green cordura-effect rubber insert.