zenith defy el primero 21


With its new chronograph, Zenith has made the only standard watch on the market with precision to 1/100th of a second.

To stay at the timekeeping summit, Zenith has redefined its precision level with a high-tech, high-frequency calibre running at 50Hz. Nothing less was expected from the watchmakers with 2,333 timekeeping records! The result? The Defy El Primero 21 Titanium chronograph measures time to 1/100th of a second. To achieve this result, the watchmaker has developed a completely new calibre equipped with a double-chain architecture featuring two carbon-alloy regulators. One escapement running at 36,000 vibrations an hour is used to drive the watch. A second controls the heartbeat of the chronograph at… 360,000 vibrations an hour. A spiral made from carbon nanotubes guarantees that the mechanism is unaffected by magnetic fields.

zenith defy el primero 21 closeup

While in 1969, when the El Primero movement was first launched, Zenith used 278 components to assemble the calibre, only 203 were needed to make an El Primero 9004 automatic. This new-generation two-barrelled movement drives the central hour and minute functions, the subsidiary second counter at 9 o’clock, the 100th of a second central chronograph hand on a scale on the circumference, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, the seconds and tenths of a second counter at 6 o’clock and the power-reserve indicator for the chronograph at 12 o’clock, shown as a percentage.

zenith defy el primero 21 movment

The design on the 44mm-wide titanium case is inspired by the El Primero models from the 1970s. While the skeleton dial provides a contemporary face, the presence of the starred second hand, and the blue and anthracite grey counters mean that the Defy El Primero 21 Titanium is a worthy descendant of the mythical chronograph from 1969.

Price: 10,900 CHF zenith.com

By Dan Diaconu