The Defy Lab firstly challenges 342 years of horological tradition by replacing the traditional principle of balance & hairspring regulation – developed by Huygens in 1675 and used ever since in mechanical watches – with an oscillator delivering stunning performance. Made all of a piece from silicon and measuring just 0.5mm thick, the Zenith watches value Replica oscillator beats at a rate of 108,000 vph (15Hz) and guarantees the Defy Lab a mean daily precision of 0.3 seconds, thus enabling Zenith to introduce it as the world’s most accurate mechanical watch.
The oscillator draws all eyes to the heart of the openworked Defy Lab dial, but the second novel feature of this watch also attracts attention : the case made of Aeronith. This new hybrid, ultra-light yet extremely sturdy material is an aluminum composite with an extremely modern pointillisttype appearance. Initially issued in an entirely pre-sold 10-piece edition, the Defy Lab will subsequently go into serial production.
Case : Aeronith, water-resistant to 50m, glareproofed sapphire crystal, sapphire back
While it lacks unnecessary writing or a date complication, the tachymeter remained, as well as the distinctive 3/6/9 lines on the minute sub-dial. Those were, at the end of the day, counterproductive to the task of simplification, but without them, the watch would lose almost any connection to the A273. Pursuing simplicity is, in our view, a good thing, but left unchecked it would inevitably lead to a uselessly blank dial. It must be balanced with other design goals.he dial itself had to be both understated yet have a charming, dynamic character that keeps it from ever becoming boring. The best way to accomplish that, we’ve found, is via a sunburst finish. A good sunburst finish, like this one, almost disappears in some light, appearing flat and non reflective, yet in other lighting, usually more direct, it comes alive with vibrant, brighter colors. In these photos, with a white light box and perfectly even lighting, the dial comes off almost as silver, but in most situations, it’s a more appreciable champagne, or as some have commented, cream.
Size : 44mm, 8.3mm thick
Movement : mechanical self-winding, Caliber ZO 342, 60h power reserve, 108,000 vph, monolithic silicon Zenith oscillator
Functions : central hours, minutes and seconds
Dial : openworked, facetted rhodium-plated and varnish-coated hands and hour-markers
Strap : rubber coated with alligator leather, titanium double folding clasp
10-piece limited edition