Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Ceramicised Aluminium

Ever since the launch of the El Primero movement  in 1969, Zenith has broken an incredible amount of chronometry prizes. Being an acknowledged champion of high-frequency chronoraphs Zenith steps up with the Defy El Primero 21 taking it from 10th to 100th of a second.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Ceramicised Aluminium

From 10th to 100th of a second

Where the original El Primero was precise up to 1/10th of a second. The Defy measures up to 1/100th of a second. Something we’ve seen from Tag Heuer in the past has now been incorporated into the Zenith Defy. To accomplish this they came up with a new architecture for the movement with two independent gear boxes and two barrels. Doing this should guarantee max precision for the time and using the chronograph function. For the the chronograph the watch comes with a power reserve indicator for the chronograph at 12 o’clock. With all changes to the movement it’s gone up in size and precision yet it has less parts compared to the 1969 El Primero movement. Going down from 278 to 203 components while going up only 2mm in width and just over one mm in thichness.

The new-generation twin-barrel El Primero with double barrel has a crown that functions in two positions. One for winding and the other for time-setting as usual. Yet the manual winding works in both directions as you need to power both barrels seperately. So you rotate the crown clockwise for the chronograph and counterclockwise for the time function of the watch. It only takes 25 turns of the crown to obtain a 100% charge of the chronograph barrel. While on the wrist the oscillating star-shaped weight handles the one-way automatic winding of the watch function.

Return of the Defy

Interesting to see is that the name Defy made it back to the stage. While introducing a newly designed movement Zenith also returns the name Defy to the stage. Cool to see that the case design has clear elements that link back to the older models. However the skeletonized dial is not a thing seen back in the days it sure adds an interesting look into the technical movement. For those who are not keen to this there is also a ‘normal’ version that hides the movement behind the dial. Through the glass caseback the back side of the movement is always visible on all models.

All together the Defy is quite a cool watch and especially the black version has my attention as it differs from the usual chronograph. Although I usually say that 40mm is the maximum size for a watch it fits really comfortable on the wrist. While you probably will hardly use the advanced timing chronograph it sure is something special on the wrist. Wearing chronographs most of the time myself I hardly use their functionality. Last time was during a flight to the UK. For all other timekeeping I use my iPhone but I still love the looks of a proper chronograph on my wrist.

For more information visit the official Zenith website

Technical Specifications

Case material: Ceramicised aluminium
Dimension: 44mm
Movement: El Primero 9004, Automatic Certified
Power: At least 50 Hours with automatic winding
Water resistance: 100meter / 10ATM
Dial: Openworked or skeletonized
Strap: Black rubber with black alligator leather coating
Buckle: Titanium double folding clasp
Zenith Defy El Primero 21 price 11.600 USD

More from Bert Buijsrogge

Atelier Reverso brings 3 new dials

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Atelier Reverso makes the relationship between a man and his watch...
Read More