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ZENITH Defy Xtreme RIP (2006–2009)

By TLex If you didn’t already know, an enormous investment has come to an end; the ZENITH Defy Xtreme watch line has been discontinued; the Xtreme cutting edge sports watches that grabbed so much attention, and were lavished so much capital would seem not to have received an equal amount of love or appreciation. Both the Defy Xtreme and Defy Classic families were first introduced at Basel 2006.

LOOKS The Xtreme range (the largest of the two Defy lines) consisted of 4 distinct looks; Xtreme, Elite, Stealth and Sea. Apart from the Stealth versions, which only had two models, each look was based on 4 models with 4 movements; Open, Chronograph, Power-Reserve and Tourbillon, which were powered by Zenith’s El Primero calibres.

EL-PRIMERO All Defy and Defy Xtreme models were / are powered by Zenith’s famous in-house movement. The Manufacture’s El Primero calibre was the first automatic chronograph movement produced in the world.

XTREME Although not true divers watches (they were certainly lacking in the lume department) the Xtreme watches were all water-resistant to 1'000 meters and were fitted with uni-directional rotatable divers bezels. They made use of the very latest in watch making technologies and utilized cutting edge materials such as aluminum, carbon-fiber, Kevlar, black titanium and Zenthium.

ZENITHIUM is an exclusive alloy that is three times harder than steel; it combines titanium for strength, aluminum for lightness and niobium for shape memory.

DEFY SEA A numbered limited edition of 250 pieces, the Xtreme Sea models used blue carbon fiber and Kevlar to further enhance their distinct nautical theme.

STEALTH Another limited series of 250 watches; inspired by Stealth Bombers, they housed Zenith’s new (at the time) Open Grande Date 4039 SX movement and an El Primero Chronograph with a 3-disk Grande Date, a unique, patented system.

ELITE 18 carat Rose Gold was used on elements such as bracelet center links and chrono pushers. It was also used to highlight features such as bezel studs and made up many of the components used on their decorated movements.

LOUD Their avant-garde designs were somewhat loud and flamboyant, some might even say vulgar, but were so different from anything else that the luxury sports sector was producing at the time and were so detailed and of such an exceptional quality that one couldn’t help, but admire them, and perhaps even (secretly) covet them. I myself had a brief flirtation with them.

ZERO-G Zenith must have invested a small fortune on the Defy watches; no exception was the mind blowing horological marvel that was the Defy Xtreme Tourbillon Zero-G powered by an automatic movement with a unique gyroscopic system that ensured perfect horizontal positioning of its regulating organ whilst maintaining the 1’000 meters of water proofing that all Xtreme models boasted. Only 25 pieces were produced.

CLASSIC The Defy Classic range consisted of 2 looks; Defy Classic and Defy Sea (below). These Defy Classic watches although less noisy than their Xtreme siblings were far also from classic in appearance. They were available in stainless steel or 18 carat Rose Gold. In 2009 Zenith produced a special anniversary edition to celebrate 40 years of their famous 'El Primero' calibre.

RAINBOW The 2010 Zenith watch line now offers just one Defy model, the 300m Defy Rainbow Flyback (below).

HOPE Not a time to lament, but a time to look forward; this could be wishful thinking on my part, but are Zenith at this very moment working on a new sports line to replace the memorable Defy and Defy Xtreme families and will these new models be dive watches; lets hope so, Zenith have left a huge void to fill!

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