Since its inception in 1969, the ZENITH DEFY line of wristwatches has been all about steadfast reliability and ruggedness. Throughout the years, the DEFY has taken on many iterations with purpose-built features and designs. From the highest peaks to the wildest terrains, ZENITH is now taking the collection back to the deepest depths with the new DEFY Extreme Diver, as well as a remake of one of the most sought-after vintage ZENITH diver’s watches, the DEFY Revival A3648.

With a legacy going as far back as 1969, the DEFY Diver was in fact among the earliest DEFY wristwatch offerings. Keeping the collection’s distinctive design with its signature angular case and dodecagonal bezel, ZENITH incorporated all the necessary elements to create a diver’s watch, including a rotating bezel and bright colour accents for instant readability underwater. With the same ethos of combining form and function for a specific purpose, ZENITH is now unveiling a modern diver’s watch inspired by both historical DEFY diver’s references as well as the modern incarnation of the DEFY line, notably the DEFY Extreme. The result is a feature-packed diver’s watch that is obviously and inherently a ZENITH DEFY, built to withstand the extreme conditions encountered in the harshest environments where ice, mist and deep dark waters require enhanced performance and legibility.

DEFY Extreme Diver

While inspired by a long line of DEFY divers from 1969 onwards, the DEFY Extreme Diver is as modern as they come. Its singular and highly intricate design serve to enhance its depth-defying performance, which was conceived to take on extreme conditions where ice, water and mist present a host of challenges. Its 42.5mm angular case is crafted in titanium, a metal that not only boasts a significant weight-to-strength ratio but is also highly resistant to corrosion from salty seawater. The case is equipped with a helium escape valve for saturation diving. Above the fixed dodecagonal bezel, the ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel features grooved edges for a better grip when operating – even with gloves on. The bezel is engraved and filled with Super-LumiNova and bright colours for effortless reading underwater where light is scarce.

The oversized screw-down crown feature is protected by titanium crown-guards on either side. Just like the historical DEFY A3648 from 1969, the DEFY Extreme Diver is rated to 600 metres (60 ATM) of water-resistance, which happens to be 1’969 feet – a symbolic number for the DEFY diver. It meets the ISO 6425 requirements for professional diver watches, which include ISO 764 for paramagnetism as well as ISO 1413 for shock-resistance, making it a comprehensive diver’s watch suited to the most demanding conditions.

Something of a signature in the contemporary DEFY line, the dial features a geometric pattern of engraved four-pointed stars. Available in black and blue with matching ceramic bezels, the metallic dials feature a sunburst finish, with rays emanating from the applied ZENITH star at 12 o’clock. The date at 3 o’clock is colour-matched to the dial.

Legibility is a key factor in the DEFY Extreme Diver – and it shows. The dial’s oversized hands and applied hour markers feature three different pigments of “X1” grade Super-LumiNova with light emissions in blue, green and orange, making it easy to distinguish between the functions (hours, minutes and seconds). The bright orange accents are a nod to historical DEFY diver models.

The DEFY Extreme Diver is powered by the El Primero 3620-SC automatic high-frequency manufacture calibre with 60 hours power reserve, visible through a sapphire display back – an uncommon feature among diver’s watches. This version of El Primero features a paramagnetic escapement with key components in non-metallic silicon.

Completing the DEFY Extreme Diver is its titanium three-link bracelet as well as two supplied straps. The first additional strap is in FKM rubber, matching the dial colour with a Cordura-effect texture that features vents on the side, allowing water to pass through. In line with ZENITH’s HORIZ-ON initiative to reduce the brand’s environmental impact and produce more sustainably, the DEFY Extreme Diver also comes with an extra-long strap made of recycled fishing nets, intended to be worn over a wetsuit. It features specific end-pieces to pass the single-piece strap through and under the case for a secure fit.

The DEFY Extreme Diver with blue and black dials are available from all ZENITH boutiques and authorized retailers around the world.

DEFY Revival A3648

One of the greatest sources of inspiration when creating the DEFY Extreme Diver was the DEFY reference A3648. Originally launched in 1969, it presented an alternative take on ZENITH’s avant-garde and rugged steel bracelet watch with a specific purpose. The A3648 was not only among the earliest DEFY wristwatch models, but also one of the first DEFY diver’s watches. Even by today’s standards, the A3648 boasted incredible performance in a watch that seamlessly merges style and substance.

In ZENITH’s recent tradition of bringing back its most emblematic past references, the DEFY Revival A3648 represents the first time ever that a vintage ZENITH diver’s watch receives the Revival treatment.

A distinctive signature of the original DEFY line, the DEFY Revival A3648 features a highly angular stainless steel case measuring 37mm in diameter. The steel fourteen-sided bezel present in DEFY models from the same era is still present but positioned above the round rotating bezel. Crafted in steel, the unidirectional rotating bezel features a sapphire crystal insert instead of Plexiglas as in historical models, with the same black on bright orange markings – one of the historical A3648’s most coveted features.

The black and orange theme extends to the dial, where the matte black surface is contrasted with orange hands and minutes track. The hour markers as well as the hands are filled with white Super-LumiNova that emits a bright and long-lasting green glow.

With its screw-down crown at 4 o’clock and a sapphire display back, the DEFY Revival A3648 retains the same depth rating of 600 metres (60 ATM), a considerable feat to have achieved in 1969 and still an impressive rating for such a compact diver’s watch with a sapphire back. A symbolic number for ZENITH, as 600 metres is equal to 1’969 feet – the year the DEFY wristwatch line including the A3648 was launched. The case back offers a view of Elite 670 automatic manufacture movement, with a power reserve of 50 hours.

And just like the original, the DEFY Revival A3648 comes on a five-link steel bracelet with folding buckle, modelled after the bracelet the famed Gay Frères company had made for the historic reference in 1969. The deployant buckle features an expansion to allow the watch to be worn over a wetsuit without having to add or remove additional links.

The DEFY Revival A3648 is available from all ZENITH physical and online boutiques as well as authorized retailers around the world.

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