INTRODUCING: The New Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon In Steel & Ceramic

by Matt Clymo

Overnight, Zenith dropped their latest additions to the Defy Skyline range, both tourbillons with one in steel and one in black ceramic, complete with their iconic star pattern on the dials.

When Zenith released their Defy Skyline range at LVMH Watch Week back in 2022, it was an instant hit. A throwback to the nostalgia of the 70’s integrated steel bracelet watches with a modern twist. With three colours, blue, white and black, the blue quickly became the most coveted, so much so that I ended up purchasing one shortly after. You can read my Hands On Review here. Since then, Zenith has expanded the range with a smaller slimmed-down collection, some with diamond set bezels for a more dressy ladies’ piece, several skeleton models, and now, their latest new comer to the pack: a high-frequency tourbillon in a steel model and black ceramic.

Zenith’s new Defy Skyline models in black ceramic or steel

Keeping to similar proportions to the standard 41mm Defy Skyline, Zenith has amplified their looks with the dial design, taking into account the new tourbillon mechanism that is found at 6 o’clock. Radiating out from the tourbillon is the starry night pattern on the brush-finished sunray dial, as Zenith describes it, “Like the core of a galaxy around which countless constellations are strewn”. And looking at the dial, it does seem this way.

The tourbillon with the Zenith four-point cage star provides for a captivating display

The tourbillon movement has been given the Zenith treatment, with the cage taking on the shape of an open four-pointed star, typical to both Zenith and the Defy Skyline range. The tourbillon makes its rotations every 60 seconds and is driven by the Zenith El Primero calibre 3630 automatic movement. Being an El Primero movement, it operates at a high-frequency rate of 5Hz (36’000 VpH), ensuring optimal performance and giving the wearer a power reserve of 60 hours. Mirroring the dial design, the movement features côtes de Genève on the bridges, radiating out of the tourbillon in a sunray pattern and the open rotor of the 3630 Calibre so should you want to admire the movement, you can with ease.

The Calibre 3630 showcases the design philosophy behind the Defy Skyline Tourbillon

With the steel variant, you get a beautiful blue dial with the starry night pattern emblazoned on it (or should I say in it), with silver indices filled with Super Luminova, as you have on the standard Defy Skyline. The two hands telling the time are Zenith’s iconic broadsword-styled hands crossing over in the middle and the logo and Zenith star at 12 o’clock. On the black, a similar configuration, but Zenith has given the indices and hands the gold-plated treatment, along with the bridge of the tourbillon.

The black-on-black with rose gold plated hands and indices looks stunning with the radiating dial giving the impression of circular depth when viewed on this angle.

As is standard with the Defy Skyline range, Zenith includes a bracelet and interchangeable blue rubber strap on the steel variant, which you can quickly change via their quick change mechanism on the case. Coming from experience, I can safely say it’s super easy to change one for the other, which means you can pick and choose depending on your mood and situation. More of a classic bracelet look or a sportier look on the rubber strap. It’s up to you. The black ceramic comes with a secondary black rubber strap should you want to swap out the full ceramic bracelet.

Final Thoughts

A tourbillon is always a way to showcase a watchmaker’s skill and ability with a complex movement mechanic, and in this instance, Zenith’s Caliber 3630 does this, along with the El Primero 5hz movement that powers it, a feat not a lot of brands will attempt. So it’s not surprising that a piece like this was several years in the making from the design to the movement and how this piece would all fit into the 41mm Defy Skyline case.

The ceramic model is beautifully brushed and polished, the way ceramic cases and bracelets should be, and plays with the light so well. It’s one element that no matter if you love or hate ceramic, you have to appreciate it for what it is and how it looks. Whilst you don’t get quite the same effect with the brushed steel, it still does pick up and reflect the light off the polished surfaces on the case and bracelet links, but if you ask me, it looks the best on the blue rubber as it just gives the watch such a nice sporty but still elegant look. And let’s face it, with the quick change mechanism, you can have the best of both worlds with a few simple clicks!

Reference: 03.9300.3630/51.I001 (Steel) / 49.9300.3630/21.I001 (Ceramic)


  • Case: 41mm, 43mm lug to lug at the taper
  • Case Material: Brushed and polished steel or ceramic
  • Dial: Blue-toned sunray-patterned / Black-toned sunray-patterned
  • Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating 
  • Water resistance: 100 metres with screw-down crown
  • Movement: Automatic El Primero 3630 Calibre with a tourbillon beating at 36,000VpH (5hz)
  • Power reserve: 60 Hours
  • Bracelet/Strap: Integrated steel or ceramic bracelet interchangeable with dial matching blue or black rubber with quick change system

Australian Recommended Retail Price: A$83,600 (Steel) / A$98,800 (Ceramic)

Availability: Available now via all Zenith boutiques, authorised retailers, or online at

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