Zenith replica survives the fittest as 1969’s tough guy makes a comeback.
1969 is remembered by many as the year Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, and the year Woodstock and the Beatles last performed. Watch fans will remember that in 1969 Zenith introduced the El Primero, the world’s first high-frequency automatic chronograph movement, and, with a slightly less fanfare, the heavy-duty Defy model. Following the critically acclaimed El Primero historical models (A3817, A385, A386) of the 1960s and 1970s, Zenith turned its attention to the earliest Defy models from 1969, reproduced in accurate detail using the original production schedule. Meet the Zenith Defy Revival A3642.
The Defy is often considered a precursor to the refined-looking luxury sports watch case that appeared with Gérald Genta’s Royal Oak, with its extremely angular octagonal case and tetragonal (14-sided) bezel incorporated into the late 1960s and 1970s The design vibe of the early 1990s. The Defy was a solid watch with a 37mm thick water-resistant case, screw-down crown and caseback, and mineral crystal, described in advertisements at the time as a “Vault”. Defy-Plongeur – Reference. The A3648 and A3650 – offer an impressive 600m water resistance, while the regular Defy models – the A3642 along with the A3643 (silver dial) and A3645 (black dial) – offer a very satisfactory 300m water resistance. Equipped with a patented movement suspension system and flexible elastic shock-absorbing rings, the Defy is a rugged sports watch.
The original Defy’s octagonal case design, with its scalloped edges, contrasting brushed and polished finishes, and a dazzling 14-face bezel, is aggressive and edgy. Combined with a gradient or smoked dial – one of its kind first introduced in 1969 – hour markers with horizontal ridges add a dynamic touch to the dial. The steel ladder bracelet designed and manufactured by Gay Frères is adjustable and has a safety clasp. Naturally, the markers, hour and minute hands, and central seconds hand with paddle tips are tritium-treated to glow in the dark.
However, like many other watchmakers, the rampage of cheap quartz watches that flooded the market in the 1970s and 1980s had an impact, and Zenith turned to quartz. Following its acquisition by the LVMH group in 2000, the Defy collection was revived in 2006 and has now become a springboard for Zenith technological innovations such as the Defy Lab in 2017 with its revolutionary oscillator, the two escapements. Defy Extreme or Defy Zero Gravity and Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire. The Defy collection also includes less extreme models that showcase their provocative modern spirit through edgy materials and aggressive cutout designs.
ZENITH DEFY REVIVAL A3642
As we mentioned, the revived version of the Defy A3642 was created using the original production schedule to produce an almost perfect replica. The powerful geometry of the 37mm case with a case height of 13.6mm is faithfully reproduced with its thick octagonal and scalloped base and 14-sided raised and polished bezel. Contrasting brushed finishes and polished bevels on the case surface bring the watch’s dynamic structure to life. The large screw-down crown ensures the case’s 300-meter water resistance, although the original screw-down caseback with its four-pointed star has been replaced by a sapphire crystal.
The taupe _fumé dial is the same as the original, with a lighter central tone that intensifies as it reaches the white minutes and seconds tracks on the periphery. The iconic rectangular hour-markers are faceted, rhodium-plated and polished to accentuate the ridges. Carefully placed below the markings are luminous dots that match the Super-LumiNova luminous dots used to treat the faceted and rhodium-plated hour, minute and paddle seconds hands. Like the original, the date window is located between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. In addition to the Super-LumiNova SLN C1, another concession to modernity is the replacement of the original mineral glass dial with a sapphire crystal, like the caseback. The inscription and typography on the dial is similar to the 1969 Defy. Applied Zenith with Zenith, Auto,
While the stainless steel bracelet is no longer made by Gay Frère, it replicates the open steps of the trapezoidal bracelet and is brushed with a folding clasp. The lug width is 18mm.
Caliber Elite 670
Zenith’s Elite 670 movement is an automatic movement with central seconds and date. Developed by Zenith in 1990 and launched in 1994, the 670 (self-winding) and 650 (manual-winding) calibres were conceived as modular ultra-thin movements that could be manufactured entirely in-house. With a diameter of 25.60mm and a height of just 3.47mm, this ultra-thin movement operates at 4Hz/28,800vph and offers a 50-hour power reserve. The oscillating weight is hollowed out, and the bridges and bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève and circular graining.
As Zenith mentioned in its press release, a modern successor to the Defy with a sleeker case and a “new level of performance” will be unveiled soon (expected within a week, for LVMH Watch Week 2022) .
Technical Specifications – ZENITH DEFY REVIVAL A3642
Case: 37mm diameter x 13.60mm height – Stainless steel, polished and brushed – Octagonal case with 14-sided bezel – Screw-down crown – Sapphire crystal and case back – 300m water resistance
Dial: Gradient brown – applied hour-markers with ridges and dots, with luminous markers – central hour, minute and paddle seconds with Super-LumiNova luminous coating – date window between 4 and 5 o’clock
Movement: Elite 670 in-house movement – Automatic winding – 28,800vph/4Hz – 50 hour power reserve – Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Bracelet: 18mm stainless steel trapezoidal bracelet, just like the original Gay Frères bracelet