2021 Zenith Defy Classic Night Surfer

by Chamath Gamage
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The latest unveiling from the Swiss watchmaking powerhouse Zenith sees them collaborating with a fellow Australian Watch Media company Time + Tide. In an unlikely meeting of Zenith CEO Julien Tornare and Time+Tide Founder, Andrew McUtchen, the pair got together to create an exclusive Defy Classic Skeleton model; the “Night Surfer”. 

This newest timepiece was given the name of “Night Surfer” after taking inspiration from the sky-show that greets surfers that dare to stay out in the open waters after sunset. This is beautifully depicted on the vertical gradient dial and on the Zenith logo, which for the first time for the brand is now made from Super-LumiNova. Being one of the world’s premier surfing destinations, this national pastime is enjoyed by millions of Australian’s throughout the many coastal regions in the country.

The effect of “Night Surfer” in real life is described as riding the waves into the sunset, to which one is then greeted by a line of light that appears on the horizon. This is smoothly followed by a deepening gradient of blue, transitioning to a black in the skys above. This is then topped off by the highlight of the show, the “evening star” which when it appears is the only visible star in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Andrew McUtchen, founder of Time+Tide describes how special this timepiece is by saying “It’s no secret that the Defy Classic Skeleton is an underrated model on the market, and in the Night Surfer we have sought to highlight its many qualities. The watch’s high polished, gradient, luminous, layered and matt elements give the Defy Classic Skeleton a new way to shine. The results speak for themselves and are a credit to the creative and production team at Zenith, led by the extraordinary Romain Marietta. This was a tough brief – capture a totally magical natural moment in a timepiece – and he and his team have absolutely crushed it.”

Design:

The Defy Classic Night Surfer has a desaturated matt black bezel on a micro-blasted 41mm case. This watch comes packed with a bunch of “firsts” for the Swiss watch manufacturer. The premieres featured in this timepiece include the first micro-blasted titanium bracelet in a Zenith Defy classic model. The first Zenith piece to have the Zenith star logo on the dial is made from solid Super-LumiNova. The first Zenith Defy Classic Skeleton timepiece to have a gradient dial and also the first Defy Classic Skeleton to have a luminous date frame.

The gradient blue of the dial is quite beautiful, as it goes from lighter shades on the bottom to darker at the top, much like waves of water meeting the night sky. The watch has a great balance between being perfectly legible while also showing much of the movement underneath. This is thanks to the contrasting Super-LumiNova coated hour indices and hands. The micro-blasted titanium case and bracelet are very sleek and refined too, but more importantly, the matt colour allows the dial to instantly stand out. 

Movement:

The movement used in the Defy Classic Night Surfer is Zenith’s in-house movement, the Elite 670 SK Automatic. This movement operates at a frequency of 28, 800 VpH (4Hz) and gives out a minimum power reserve of approximately 50 hours. The case back is open, which gives a view into this movement. From the back, the special oscillating weight with its satined finishings is certainly what stands out the most. 

Zenith’s collaboration with Time + Tide is aesthetic and ground-breaking at the same time, as it includes a variety of “firsts” for the brand. The timepiece is limited to 100 pieces only, with Time + Tide getting allocated 50 watches with the other 50 being distributed among Zenith’s boutiques. 

To sum this piece up nicely, we’ll leave a special quote from Zenith CEO Julien Tornare, who said “I have spent many years travelling to and from Australia, and this model, for me, really captures what is special about the place, and the power of the natural elements there: The vividness of the sky, the brightness of the evening star, which is presented here as the Zenith logo in a luminous material for the first time. It is fitting that I can connect with our Aussie collaborators, Time+Tide, in-person to launch this special model.”

Australian Retail Price: $12,200.00

Reference: 97.9000.670/26.M9000

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