Shiny, Shiny: Zenith Closes Out 2023 with the DEFY Extreme Mirror
Another winning watch from the DEFY collection.
And now, just in time for the gift-giving season, there’s another DEFY to add to the wish list because Zenith has launched the DEFY Extreme Mirror – a timepiece that, in many ways, is the opposite of its predecessors but is also a distillation of the angular architecture seen on the Skyline Skeleton and Revival Shadow that caught my eye in the first place.
The genius of the DEFY collection’s sport chic design is that it can shapeshift without losing its integrity. For instance, when compared to the Revival Shadow, which features a matte black textured titanium case, the new Extreme Mirror, with its highly polished stainless steel surfaces, almost feels like its mirror image.
However, when the Extreme Mirror is compared to the Skyline Skeleton, you can easily spot the similarities, given that both feature an openworked display. Still, even with sharing such an in-your-face feature as an openworked dial, the Skeleton’s emphasis on structure lends it an industrial look. Meanwhile, the Extreme Mirror’s multilayered metallic dial is translucent yet reflective, giving it a futuristic finish.
Moreover, since the Extreme Mirror’s chrome-like surfaces are balanced by the satin-brushed elements of the 1/100th-of-a-second chronograph scale its dial is easier to read than the Skyline Skeleton’s.
Zenith is calling the DEFY Extreme Mirror “the ultimate, ultramodern camouflage watch” because it reflects all light and color yet has no hue of its own. (Plus, it comes with two interchangeable straps – an integrated bracelet crafted from mirror-polished stainless steel and a durable black Velcro quick-change strap and rubber band – providing owners with another way to alter its appearance.)
As we look back on 2023, the Extreme Mirror also provides an opportunity to look back on how we perceive timekeeping in the first place.
Again, this is where the DEFY’s geometric design codes come into play. Its mirror-polished surfaces reflect and refract. Measuring 45mm in diameter (and water-resistant up to 20 ATM), the Extreme Mirror can never fully disappear, but its chameleon-like abilities make the watch a paradox: it doesn’t blend in as much as it becomes an extension of the wearer.
A mirror seems like a delicate object, but another admirable quality of the DEFY collection is that they are built to be everyday wearers. And the DEFY Extreme Mirror employs Zenith’s most rugged chronograph to date, the El Primero 9004, which offers 1/100th-of-a-second time measurements using two independent escapements that beat at rates of 5Hz (36,000 VpH) for the timekeeping part and 50Hz (360,000 VpH) for the chronograph function.
Sporting an approximate 50 hours of power reserve as well as partially visible through the open dial and the sapphire caseback, this movement’s star-shaped winding rotor is finished with a silvery-grey metallic tone to complement the case and dial elements.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)