The very first to have launched the concept of manufacture, Zenith, famous for its nobility and unerring precision of its El Primero caliber, is still considered today as one of the best in the world. Zenith watches are developed in a pioneering spirit and watchmaking innovation. We invite you to discover all the Zenith watch collections.
Why is everyone talking about Zenith in 2022? Are they really copying Rolex? What did they present at Watches and Wonders in 2022?
One of the most original was that of Zenith, which presented an exhibition of their watches from their very beginnings until today, but above all, which contained the reconstruction of a watchmaker’s workshop in which visitors could come and try their hand at the activity, discovering a part of an El Primero caliber, learning to disassemble some of its components on the advice of experts, etc. This is one of the show’s best ideas regarding the visitor experience. Zenith has certainly marked many people thanks to this decision.
Zenith Defy Skyline
Watch highlighted at the show but which I could not see was the new Defy Skyline, an octagonal watch that takes up the codes of the first Zenith Defy from 1969. A fact only watch lovers know is that Zenith had released a Sports Watch with an octagonal case 3 years before the arrival of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak! The Defy A3642 was water resistant to 30 ATMs and was quickly nicknamed the Safe. It was reinterpreted at the beginning of 2022 with the DEFY REVIVAL A3642. It was the turn of the Defy Skyline to make its appearance.
This Defy Skyline 2022 is made of steel and has an octagonal case 41 millimeters in diameter and a dodecagonal faceted bezel. It features a beautiful sunburst blue dial with a Zenith star motif. This is also the brand’s very first patterned dial. It is driven by the El Primero 3620, an in-house automatic caliber that indicates the date at 3 o’clock, the tenths of a second in the sub-dial at 9 o’clock. It also announces a power reserve of 60 hours. With its 10 ATM water resistance and original integrated bracelet, would Zenith present us with a great alternative in the world of Luxury Sports Watches? Do you think the Genta inspirations are too deep, considering that the first octagonal Defy was released 3 years before the Royal Oak? I find it nice, and the “tribute” or “inspiration” aspect doesn’t shock me; I even find it rather successful.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport Boutique Edition
Chronomaster Sport Boutique Edition and its tricolor ceramic bezel. The watch largely takes the design of the 2021 Chronomaster Sport, which was inspired by the 1969 Chronomaster Sport. The 2021 version had been singled out for its black ceramic bezel and other aesthetic features that made people think of modern Daytonas. We find that the Chronomaster has its own sporty identity different from that of the Daytona.
I understand that some see similarities or even inspirations in it, but remember that between 1988 and 2000, the Daytona was equipped with El Primero calibers, which incidentally gave them the nickname of Zenith Daytona. The association between the two brands is therefore identified. I think these few similarities between the Chronomaster and the modern Daytona should be seen more as nice winks rather than a desire to copy. Zenith has its own design teams doing very interesting work on most of their pieces, and copying is out of the question.
This Chronomaster 2022, therefore, takes up references specific to the brand’s old chronographs from the 60s and 70s, including the push-buttons in the shape of pumps, the steel bracelet, and the three-color sub-dials that are part of the signatures of the brand’s Chronos. Since 1969. The case is made of steel and measures 41 millimeters in diameter. The exclusive sunburst finish on the silver dial is stunning. I love those three different ceramics on the bezel, which pick up the gray, anthracite, and blue colors that are so dear to the brand.
As seen through the case back, it is powered by an El Primero 3600 caliber. This in-house automatic chronograph movement measures times to tenths of a second. The central chronograph seconds hand turns the dial in 10 seconds, revealing the 60-second sub-dial at 3 o’clock and the 60-minute sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The small seconds are at 9 o’clock, and the date window is at 4:30. It announces 60 hours of power reserve and beats 36,000 vibrations per hour. Its finishes are precise, modest, and very successful.
Zenith Chronomaster Open
Chronomaster Open which, as its name suggests, offers us an interpretation of the open heart. The double aperture between 9 o’clock and 11 o’clock reveals the beating heart of the El Primero 3604 movement, a reinterpretation of the 3600 adapted to offer a very effective spectacle through the aperture in the original shape. It is, therefore, also a manufactured automatic chronograph movement that measures times to tenths of a second, which beats at 36,000 vibrations per hour, and announces a 60-hour power reserve. However, it does not provide a date indication.
We liked open hearts at the beginning of my passion journey. Still, they affect me much less now, like the skeleton watches I talked about in a test a little while ago. So this Chronomaster Open affects me slightly less than the Chronomaster Sport we discussed earlier. Still, its diameter of 39.5 millimeters really appeals to me too.
We tried a steel version with a blue dial and another with a superb rose gold case and a silver dial. There is also a steel version with a matte black dial. In all cases, there are sub-dials at 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock in blue and anthracite colors once again in homage to the colors of the 1969 Zenith Chronos, while the small seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock is in hesalite, a plastic material derived from plexiglass which is often used for watch crystals, notably on certain Omega Speedmaster Moon watches.
This transparent sub-dial makes it possible to see the passing seconds while observing the beating heart in the background. Clever and very effective visually. Suppose you want to see more about this caliber. In that case, you can also turn the watch over and discover a sapphire crystal back that lets you admire a beautiful, nicely worked, and open-worked oscillating weight featuring, among other things, the Zenith logo, as well as the rest of the movement with its very beautiful finishes that manage to remain modest while demonstrating the know-how of the brand’s watchmaking experts.