Zenith explores new frontiers with Defy Extreme Desert watch
Zenith is celebrating the release of a very special edition of the Defy Extreme model with a collaboration with nature photographer Kourosh Keynejad. The partnership marks the launch of the first special edition, the Defy Extreme Desert, which takes its inspiration from the vast and untamed desert environment.
Keynejad, who captures bewitching landscapes across the globe, here turns his eye to the four deserts in North America: the Great Basin; Mojave; Sonoran; and Chihuahuan deserts. The resulting series of photographs is set to be unveiled alongside the new Defy Extreme Desert watch in a travelling exhibition this year, starting with FIAC in Paris and continuing on to Dubai and Tokyo.
and Zenith’s partnership
For the British-born, California-based photographer, this new collaboration with Zenith marks his first time working with a brand. The partnership is a natural fit for Keynejad, who shares with Zenith a commitment to conservation, sustainability and diversity, encapsulating this environmental focus in his spellbinding images of oceans, deserts and mountains. The remote locations he captures come alive for the viewer thanks to his skilled interplays of light and shadow, reflecting the same intricate interweaving performed by Zenith, which pairs traditional watchmaking codes with a sharp technicality.
‘When Zenith approached me with the idea for a collaboration, I couldn’t have thought of a better fit,’ Keynejad says. ‘Precision of time and light are key to a great photograph. With optimal planning and the flawless engineering of Zenith watches, I never miss my moment.’
He was inspired by the rugged form of the watch for his exclusive photographs for Zenith, which encompass nine images in three triptychs, nodding to the three themes, ‘Wind Carved Canyons’, ‘Deserted Dunes’ and ‘Starry Nights’.
For Zenith CEO Julian Tornare, the collaboration is a chance to bring to life the awesome landscapes that inspired the new watch editions. ‘I’ve been following Kourosh’s work for some time now and I have to say, I’m always blown away by the way he’s able to transport us to these faraway, untouched locations,’ he says. ‘He shows us a side of nature that we never really knew – or simply overlooked. The great thing about Kourosh is that he is also spreading awareness about the environmental issues and challenges that we all must face together.’
The Zenith Defy Extreme Desert
The Defy Extreme Desert nods to the stark beauty that Keynejad captures through his lens with the use of unexpected materials that embody the desert’s landscape. For the first time, Zenith incorporates an unusual gemstone into the design, embracing the hazy blue-grey of the quartz gemstone, falcon’s eye, which glints from the dodecagonal bezel and from its position protecting the pushers. Appropriately named after the bird of prey that has offered hope to desert explorers over the years as it soars above them, here the gemstone’s nebulous fluidity recalls a magical mirage, shimmering in the heat of the desert.
While assimilating this gemstone into the form of the watch proved complex, its opaque character makes a natural foil for the toughness of the titanium case, and the uniqueness of each stone means each of the 50 editions of the watch is one-of-a-kind.
The beauty of the materials is equalled only by the technical accomplishment that drives the beating heart of the watch, with accuracy measured to an impressive one-hundredth of a second and the open dial allowing us to fully admire the intricate El Primero 21 movement. Even here, the desert is glimpsed in aesthetically pleasing nods: in the warm brown of the power reserve indicator, and in the beige markers, hands and applied chronograph counters.
Wearers can choose from a black Velcro or beige rubber strap, making this the perfect choice for any environment, whether extreme or urban.