The Future is Female: Zenith Celebrates Women At The Inaugural LVMH Watch Week In Dubai
The Swiss watchmakers see a starry future for its women’s collections with the DEFY Midnight and the Elite line.
The world has changed a lot in the last decade, and Zenith is ready to embrace the new by unveiling two new historic women’s collections this week in a non-traditional (i.e., not Swiss) location, Dubai.
“We are placing women’s watches at the forefront of the brand’s creative endeavors,” says Zenith CEO Julien Tornare. “With our newest models, it is the first time that Zenith has conceived women’s watches from the ground up.”
It’s no secret that women are an important audience for watchmakers. But in the new millennium, women are playing a bigger role in business. For example, they are just as active as men culturally and socially, and increasingly, women are buying their own timepieces. But what women need and want in a watch has changed a lot. But, depending on the individual, what a woman wants in a watch can vary widely. Some female collectors are into super complicated timepieces, and some are dedicated followers of fashion.
Zenith’s approach is to elevate both ends of the women’s watch spectrum.
Take, for example, the DEFY Midnight. When Zenith rebooted its DEFY range in 2017, it quickly became the collection where the company felt free to innovate. Not just technologically, but also in presentation. Two of Zenith’s most celebrated timepieces in 2019 were the striking Zenith DEFY El Primero 21 High Jewelry chronograph, set with a rainbow of gemstones, and the white, blue, and black DEFY Classic Ceramics.
With DEFY Midnight, Zenith takes the codes of the sporty-chic DEFY and makes it even more visually interesting with a uniquely designed dial embellished with diamonds depicting a starry sky. With this expression, says Zenith, it is as much a jewel as it is a watch. It’s available in deep blue or grey colors, featuring a glossy finish with a vertical gradient effect that gives it a depth as unfathomable as the heavens themselves.
And for women who express themselves through fashion, the DEFY Midnight features an assortment of bracelets and straps to adapt itself to almost any situation. Options include an integrated stainless steel bracelet, as well as a selection of colored satin and leather straps with rubber backing. All can be swapped out using a quick-change mechanism requiring no special skills or tools. Each DEFY Midnight sold will come in a special box that includes three additional colored straps and an interchangeable folding clasp.
It is also mechanically interesting. Housed in a 36mm stainless steel case, the DEFY Midnight’s automatic Elite in-house movement provides dependable precision and autonomy of 50 hours. And, Zenith’s signature star-shaped oscillating weight adds an extraterrestrial element, easily enjoyed through the clear case back.
The DEFY Midnight is designed for a woman who doesn’t want to wear either her mom’s watch or her boyfriend’s watch. It is conceived for confident, contemporary women.
WHERE THE ELITE MEET
Zenith also wants to recognize the diversity of women. Which is one of the reasons why the company is debuting these new watch families at LVMH Watch Week in Dubai this week.
Zenith’s CEO, Julien Tornare, believes Dubai is the new international destination for the world of watchmaking, saying, “Glamorous and forward-thinking at the same time, Dubai is the perfect place to present an innovative collection of feminine watches.” And the new Elite collection redefines the codes of 21st-century watchmaking for a new generation of internationally engaged women.
To create for the future, Zenith has revisited its past by exploring the graphic identity and proportions of mid-20th century watchmaking, but through the eyes of the 21st-century woman.
There are two models in Elite collection, the Elite Classic and Moonphase, each available in two sizes with several case and dial combinations. Yet, while they have a retro look, they appeal to contemporary customers with their upsized 40.5mm and 36mm case diameters and their stainless steel or rose gold options.
Zenith adds an extra, almost high jewelry approach to this Elite collection. The dial features a radiant sunburst pattern and is set with faceted and polished hour markers, which serve as a nice complement to the “Dauphine” shaped hands.
Like rays of light darting out from the sun, the radiant sunburst pattern of the Elite Classic dial creates a spectacle of highlights and shadows. To enhance the visual depth, the dial is set with tapered hour markers that are faceted and polished. The minutes and seconds track lend the dial a scientific touch, while slightly larger applied hour markers break up the track and highlight the four cardinal points of the dial. Floating above the lively dial are sharp and slim “Dauphine” shaped hands, a nostalgic nod to Zenith timepieces from the mid-20th century.
The Elite Moonphase is even more majestic. It too features a starburst dial but with a deep blue and gold circular moonphase indicator set at the 6 o’clock position. And a small running seconds hand at 9 o’clock points to the fleeting nature of time.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Elite family is just how personal they feel. Available in stainless steel or rose gold, and with an array of dial colors, the wearer can further individualize their Elite with a choice of straps in numerous materials.
Available in 40.5mm and 36mm case sizes, Zenith also wants to emphasize its commitment to inclusivity by suggesting that these Elite timepieces are also gender-fluid, in case your boyfriend wants to borrow yours.
(Photography by Watchonista)