Being the flip-a-holic that I am and feeling a little bored with the safe option of owning a Rolex or two alongside my one true keeper, the Speedy FOIS, I thought I would branch out a little and try something different.
With its Genta-style design, titanium case and bracelet, and sunburst blue dial, this Zenith certainly fit the brief. A style of watch I never thought I would go for, the Defy Classic has opened up a new path or two for my collection.
Looking at the watch as a whole, it is hard not to be impressed. Finishing is at least as good as Rolex, if not better, with much more of a cool factor in my book. Although the case is 41mm, it doesnít wear that big. Why? Well: the short 45mm lug to lug; faux-integrated bracelet; slightly inset bezel; and 10.75mm thinness, all make this wear smaller. I would say it compares broadly to a 39mm Rolex, be it the Explorer or OP, in how it feels on the wrist size-wise. It certainly fits very comfortably on my flat-ish 6.75-7 inch wrist.
Letís take a look at the key aspects:
No picture can quite do it justice. A darker blue than you would think but coming to life when the light hits the sunburst, shimmering from the centre outwards in all directions. The applied logo and bold Zenith wording is all that is needed, allowing the quality of the dial to hold the viewerís attention. The sheer white lume plots, set within high polished silver markers and hands, tie together perfectly and maintain a simple but effective colour scheme. The small date window discretely serves its function, without detracting from the overall look and feel. Those who prefer a no-date should not be deterred. A stepped minute track and outer edge completes the picture, adding an extra dimension, elevating the hour markers from the inner dial.
Case and bracelet
Clearly, this is where the watch is different to the norm.
Polishing to the outside of the inner bezel, the ends of the lugs and bevelling combine with the edges of the bracelet to create a nice contrast against the otherwise brushed, almost industrial looking, titanium, adding a slightly dressy feel to an otherwise tool-ish angled exterior.
Although not integrated, the bracelet gives that impression. Perfect if you want that look but would also like to swap out for straps (OEM rubber and leather are available). The steep taper removes bulk from the relatively broad 22mm lug ends, with a simple hidden butterfly clasp allowing the bracelet to wrap round the wrist without any break in design.
With a loose style connection to the Royal Oak, Nautilus, Overseas or Laureato, the Defy can be that interesting outlier in a collection, the piece you pick up when you are bored of a traditional round case with straight lugs.
Iím no technical geek, but Iíll comment on the aesthetics...
Iíll admit that I do buy into the allure of in-house movements, especially when there is a display case back. Iíve had my fair share of 2824 ETA (or equivalent) movements and, although a marvel to begin with, they can get a little boring to look at. Not so with the Elite 670. The finishing is clever - simple and effective and in keeping with the case design. More Tudor MTxxx than Omega 8xxx - elaborate striping or numerous colourful screws would not have worked with this type of watch. There is, nonetheless, plenty of intrigue behind the glass, with the very open design giving a view of much of the inner workings and the star rotor being the touch of class that reminds you that this is something a little special.
The Defy Classic is a great option if youíre thinking about something like this. It has made it clear to me that there is a huge amount of life outside Rolex and Omega in the world of watches below the likes of Patek and AP, and that round traditional cases are not always the way to go.
You donít even have to pay the world to get one, relatively speaking in our crazy microcosm. Although MSRP is sky high, with heavy discounts and the used market, this can be had for much less.
The Defy is a watch that can spice up a collection as an alternative ďchange upĒ, or perform a daily job for those who want to be a bit different all of the time. You could go further and try the skeleton version, but Iím not ready for that yet :)
Here are some pictures to whet the appetite: