The fifth rendition of the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 sees the brand giving the model a complete carbon look. After the black ceramic and rose gold versions were released in 2018 along with the titanium and black ceramic in 2017, Zenith introduced the Defy El Primero 21 Carbon edition during this year’s Baselworld.
The Defy collection is leading Zenith into the future with the brand’s innovative watchmaking being utilized in their latest models. We had a chance to review the Inventor and Classic models from the Defy collection, which were surely eye-catching pieces, to say the least. (You can find the reviews to Inventor and Defy Classic here ). Make no mistake, however; the Defy El Primero 21 Carbon is just as pleasing to look at, even if everything seems as if it’s trying to blend in with its camo-style appearance.
The beauty of using carbon fibre is that due to the nature of the material and how the alternating layers of carbon fibres are always randomly arranged, each individual piece will be unique. As carbon fibre is used for the faceted case, round bezel, crown, chronograph pushers and buckle head, each of these pieces will vary in aesthetic appearance from one watch to another. This makes the watch that you buy a truly unique piece.
The carbon fibre case and the round bezel is what gets your attention first in this piece. As said earlier, the way the carbon fibre is patterned gives off a subtle camouflage appearance. After wearing the Defy El Primero 21 Carbon for a while, I got quite a lot of compliments on how great the carbon fibre on the watch looks, especially paired with the open-worked dial.
The open-worked dial is iconic to the DEFY El Primero 21 models and is unchanged besides a few colour variations on the Defy El Primero 21 Carbon. The main plate on the dial is given a black finish which subdues the overall appearance of the open-worked movement and lets the carbon material be the stand out feature of the watch. Other models of the Defy El Primero 21 have seen the main plate been done in different finishes, varying from blue, white to brushed titanium.
With the main plate being finished in black on the DEFY El Primero 21 Carbon, it allows the readability of the watch to be a little easier too. The only drawback of this stunning piece is that the time can be hard to read initially. With both the hands and hour markers being done in the black ruthenium-plated faceted finish with SuperLuminova added, it blends into the overall open-worked dial. Having the main plate a darker black than that of the hands and markers certainly helps the readability of time which would otherwise be lost on the dial.
The open-worked dial also showcases the DEFY El Primero’s 1/100th of a second chronograph feature. Starting with the central chronograph hand which does the mind-blowing one rotation per second, to the standard chronograph features of 30 minute counter at 3 o’clock position and 60 second counter at 6 o’clock position. There is also a power reserve indicator for the 1/100th of the second chronograph at the 12 o’clock position. The wind turbine style constant second hands counter that is showcased on the El Primero Defy 21 models is retained in this piece as well on the 9 o’clock position.
The El Primero 21 movement is currently the only mechanical movement capable of doing 1/100th of a second chronograph. The jump from 1/10th of a second chronograph to 1/100th of a second chronograph is a monumental leap in terms of engineering. The movement is an astonishing piece of modern engineering as Zenith has constructed the Defy El Primero 21 Carbon with state-of-the-art methods, using the latest technology and being finished with the finest materials. The El Primero 21 movement serves two primary purposes; to have a finish of the highest quality, and to also provide optimum performance and highest possible accuracy from a wristwatch.
For Zenith to make this watch as accurate as possible, the El Primero 21 movement comes with a “double-chain structure”. This structure is essentially the time display and chronograph each having their independent mechanisms equipped with its barrel and high-frequency escapement. The individual mechanisms allow the chronograph to oscillate at a staggering 50Hz (360,000 VpH!) while the time display caliber operates at 5 Hz (36,000 VpH). Having two separate mechanisms also allow for two different power reserves. The main watch power reserve is approximately 50 hours. The 1/100th of a second chronograph’s power reserve is roughly 50 mins, which as mentioned earlier is indicated on the power wheel at the 12’oclock position on the dial.
The Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Chronograph Carbon wears surprisingly well for a watch that measures 44mm in case diameter. Usually, a case this size would be a little too big for my 7inch wrists. However, the sculpted shape of the case makes it wear quite snug on the wrist. At 14.5mm thick, it can be a little large, although not intrusive. Thanks to the carbon fibre material, it feels incredibly light too.
This comes in handy if you plan on using this piece as a daily, as you’ll barely feel it being on your wrist. What you will notice, however, is the visual appeal of the open-work dial and the carbon fibre material. Due to the appearance of the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Chronograph, it can be matched with a variety of outfits to suit different occasions. It’s sporty to be worn to casual events yet at the same time subtle enough that it can be worn in office and business environments.
With a movement that has been operating at a phenomenal and unrivaled rate and an open-worked dial that demands attention, its only natural that the casing is made to match the watch’s mysterious allure.
The Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Chronograph Carbon is a complete package, providing performance, reliability and aesthetics all in one.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Carbon Specification :
Model Reference: 10.9000.9004/96.R782
Case Diameter: 44mm
Dial: Black Openworked.
Case-back: Transparent Sapphire Crystal
Movement: El Primero 9004 Automatic
Power Reserve: Min. 50 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes and 1/100th of a second chronograph.
Water Resistance: 10 ATM
Australian Retail Pricing : $26,200.00
Availability : Available now.
Local Authorised Dealers :
- Brisbane – The Hour Glass
- Melbourne – Monards ( Collins Street and Crown Casino) ,Gregory Jewellers and The Hour Glass
- Sydney – Hardy Brothers and Swiss Concept
- Perth – Barbagallo Watch