Zenith Breaks All The Color Codes With The New Defy 21 Ultraviolet

Purple Reigns: Zenith Breaks All The Color Codes With The New Defy 21 Ultraviolet

The vibrant high-frequency chronograph makes a bold statement.

By Rhonda Riche

It’s safe to say that we’re in a golden age of statement dials. From the emerald green Rolex Hulk to fiery orange Glashütte Original Sixties, there’s a growing demand for bright, colorful faces.

But as far as we can recollect, nobody had ever produced a version of a high-end timepiece.

That is, until now. Zenith has just introduced the Defy 21 Ultraviolet, and it’s a great, grape-colored chronograph.


Let us begin with two fun facts about the color violet. The first is that, for centuries, this noble hue was reserved for royal-use only. For example, King Cyrus of Persia adopted a purple tunic as his royal uniform, and various Roman emperors forbid regular citizens from wearing violet clothing under penalty of death. These harsh restrictions were most likely due to its rarity, as the production method for purple dye was a closely guarded secret by the artisans who produced it.

Secondly, violet operates at the highest frequency on visible light spectrum. The only frequency above it is ultraviolet light, which is invisible. So, it’s appropriate for Zenith to pair this intense hue with its highest-frequency chronograph in regular production, the DEFY 21.

Made of lightweight titanium, it’s also an easy watch to wear. Big, but not too bulky.


Even though colored dials have never been more popular, Violet is still a daring dial choice. But please note that the shade is nicely balanced with many matte grey accents. A white-tipped central 1/100th of a second chronograph hand also revolves above the dial in just one second.

The DEFY 21’s signature open dial features three grey chronograph registers and a grey flange ring. And the faceted 44mm titanium case has a matte sandblasted finish, which gives it a very modern and grounded look. In short, it’s has a dandy, Warhol-ish quality without being too campy. You can wear it with a casual tweed or dress it up with a crushed velvet ensemble. You do you.

The vibrant violet is more evident on the inside. The certified chronometer movement is Zenith’s revolutionary 1/100th of a second El Primero 21 chronograph calibre, which beats at an incredible frequency of 50Hz. The open, angular rotor and bridges change from warm violet to cool purple tones. And to complete the spectrum, the black rubber strap has a violet insert that mimics the look of woven fabric.


While colorful watches aren’t for everyone, the violet vibes of the DEFY 21 Ultraviolet will appeal to fans of the avant-garde architecture of the DEFY 21. Actually, I find this face more legible than other chronos in this family.

Again, balance is the key and with its centered hour, minute, and chronograph hands, the power-reserve indication at 12 o'clock, small seconds at 9 o'clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, and 60-second counter at 6 6 o'clock, the layout is very legible. The closed, grey counters are another nice touch. In fact, apart from the DEFY 21 El Primero 50th Anniversary edition, the Ultraviolet is the first stand-alone DEFY 21 with an open dial paired with closed chronograph counters.

The DEFY 21 Ultraviolet is out now and is priced at CHF 13,400.

(Images provided by Zenith Watches)

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