Zenith Defy Revival A3648

DEFYing Gravity: Zenith Launches Three New DEFY Editions at Watches and Wonders

This sporty collection continues to build on its horological strengths.

By Rhonda Riche

It seems like only yesterday that Zenith revealed the long-awaited Chronomaster Triple Calendar and Chronomaster Sport at LVMH Watch Week in Miami.

Now, months after those January releases, the Le Locle-based watchmaker is sticking to a similar game plan at Watches and Wonders: Give the people what they want but also give them something they didn’t know they wanted.

In the first case, Zenith delivers with the highly anticipated DEFY Skyline Chronograph and a Revival series reissue of the legendary A3648 dive watch. Then, in the unexpected but much-appreciated category, the maison also introduced a modern reimagining of the A3648, the DEFY Extreme Diver.

Let’s take a closer look at these keen machines.

The DEFY Revival A3648

Zenith has been operating in the underwater arena since 1969. The diver was, in fact, among the earliest DEFY models. So, it’s no coincidence that these editions in the maison’s 2024 dive watch offerings – the DEFY Extreme Diver and DEFY Revival A3648 – bear a strong family resemblance to those “Swingin’ Sixties” originals.

First off, the Revival A3648 is a real showstopper (no joke, I fell in love with it the moment I spotted it across the room at the press presentation in Palexpo), with its most exciting aspect being the rotating bezel with bright reddish-orange accents for instant readability underwater.

Then, there are the finishes: The small but mighty 37mm case is brushed and polished to emphasize the angular case and dodecagonal bezel angles. It also has an offset crown at 4:30 (just like the original) and comes on a slinky brushed and polished five-link bracelet.

Like the diver the DEFY Revival A3648 is based on, the 2024 model is also rated to 600m (1969 feet for, you know, the year it was released). However, while all of the original’s visual elements intended to help divers back in the day still work now, Zenith has upgraded many of the watch’s mechanical aspects so it can take on even tougher environmental challenges.

Priced at $7,700, the DEFY Revival A3648 is powered by the Elite 670 automatic manufacture movement, which is visible through a sapphire caseback and carries a 50-hour power reserve.

The DEFY Extreme Diver

While the DEFY Revival A3648 stays aesthetically faithful to its ancestors, the DEFY Extreme Diver is a forward-thinking timepiece with extra action-packed features for “now” adventurers.

The most modern addition to this DEFY diver is the fact that it’s encased in titanium, an extremely light but tough metal that allows for a comfortable ergonomic experience. Moreover, despite its chonky silhouette, it’s also a practical timepiece – with the same 600-meter rating as the Revival but with an extra boost of protection thanks to a helium escape valve.

Secondly, the Extreme Diver is powered by the El Primero 3620-SC automatic high-frequency manufacture calibre, running at 36,000 VpH, with 60 hours of power reserve. This precision mechanism is also visible through a sapphire display back (a feature rarely seen on a dive watch because of, you know, water resistance).

This 42.5mm x 15.5mm brushed titanium timepiece comes in either a blue and orange or black and orange colorway. Both have a rich ceramic unidirectional bezel that matches the shade of the starry sky-patterned dial.

Finally, priced at $11,300 each, the DEFY Extreme Diver comes delivered with three interchangeable straps: one in rubber with a folding buckle to match the dial, one with a matching fabric strap with a pin buckle, and a third, metal bracelet with a folding clasp.

The DEFY Skyline Chronograph

This year, at Watches and Wonders, Zenith finally added a chronograph to the DEFY Skyline collection. The brand, it seems, was waiting for an update of its vaunted El Primero automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre before introducing this complication to the Skyline family.

But, boy, it was worth the wait!

Fans will appreciate this iteration of the Skyline’s multi-dimensional dial pattern and angular case architecture. The 42.5mm wide and 100-meter water-resistant octagonal steel case features a combination of polished and satin surfaces that highlight these complex geometries.

Another neat visual trick is that the pushers follow the contours of the case. Moreover, it comes in metallic black, dark blue, and silver colorways, each appealing to different stylistic expressions (with the silver-dialed version feeling especially fresh).

But the big story here is the El Primero 3600 calibre and its 1/10th-of-a-second chronograph function. This means that you can start and stop this complication in the blink of an eye. The self-winding mechanism, which beats at 5Hz (36,000 vibrations per hour), is so precise that, even with the chrono feature, it has a power reserve of 60 hours.

Finally, speaking of fast, the quick-change, integrated strap function is also appreciated because the new DEFY Skyline Chronograph – priced at $13,400 each – also comes with an additional star-rubber strap. For more information, check out Zenith’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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