Zenith's new watch is the most extreme yet

Adventure awaits with Zenith’s dialled-up Defy Extreme, a rethink of a classic that’s dubbed a watch for all terrain

Zenith black watch against a blue background
Zenith Defy Extreme watch in microblasted titanium with tinted sapphire dial, £15,300, by Zenith, zenith-watches.com
(Image credit: Zenith)

As unconventional as it was reliable, Zenith’s Defy watch first appeared in the 1960s, marrying a futuristic design with a tough titanium case. Now, the Zenith Defy Extreme builds on these foundations, keeping the original’s angular case and faceted bezel with 12-sided ring, but rethinking key design codes. Dubbed a watch for all terrain, it is a modern rethink of the classic adventurer’s watch.

‘It has been radically modernised with regard to proportions, architecture, materials and finish,’ says Romain Marietta, Zenith’s product development and heritage director. Legibility is a crucial component of the new design, which features a tinted sapphire dial providing optimum clarity. ‘We have a special dial made out of sapphire for two reasons: the possibility of admiring our mechanism and for maximised legibility,’ says Marietta. ‘The central part of the dial and underneath the counters is tinted in order to clearly see the indications of the chronograph function’s dial features, with oversized and slightly overlapping chronograph counters emphasising volume and legibility while allowing an uninterrupted view of the chronograph calibre.’

The oversized hands and hour markers are generously coated with Super-LumiNova to ensure readability in the dark, and the models are finished in titanium (a corrosion-resistant metal now much favoured by the watch industry) that has been either satin-brushed, polished or microblasted. Crucially, the lightness and strength of the titanium also ensure it is comfortable on the wrist.

Wearability is considered throughout the design, with an easily interchangeable watch strap system, originally introduced last year, ensuring wearers can switch effortlessly between the rubber and Velcro strap options. The model’s aesthetic, although bold, ultimately serves the functionality of the watch. ‘Aesthetically, the Defy Extreme represents a supercharged Defy, with a design reinforced by components designed to protect the pushers, and a screw-down crown, while emphasising ergonomics and durability, with water-resistance up to 200m,’ says Marietta. ‘Accentuated outlines and details – such as a larger 45mm case, sharper lines, more pronounced edges, and the overall silhouette – express robustness, resilience and a desire to explore new horizons.’ 


This article originally featured in the July 2021 issue of Wallpaper* (W*267), available for free download


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels. 

With contributions from