Zenith - Zenith Defy El Primero 21
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
Zenith - Zenith Defy El Primero 21

Zenith Defy El Primero 21

Zenith
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10'600 €

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

The El Primero legend in the hundredths of a second age

Swiss watch manufacturer Zenith has a century and a half behind it and is resolutely taking its place in the third millennium with a new 100th of a second chronograph movement. While remaining true to its legendary roots, the 21st century Defy El Primero flaunts standout performance: a certified in-house movement driving a hundredth of a second display by means of a central hand, with its unique and exclusive dynamic signature of one rotation per second. Its double-chain structure is based on two regulators, made of Carbon-Matrix Carbon Nanotube composite, a patented new material that is insensitive to magnetic fields and temperature gradients to a degree well above existing norms. With its powerful 44 mm titanium case, Defy El Primero 21 becomes the master of extreme precision. The world’s most accurate series-made chronograph in 1969 enters a whole new era. 
 
Dual architecture
Representing the aesthetic, visual and audible signature of the new Defy El Primero 21, its central chronograph hand performs a full turn of the dial in one second. This simple, immediate and direct reading of the hundredths provides an opportunity to grasp the reality of the second being measured.
The frequency reaches an impressive 360,000 vibrations/hour ensuring its hundredth of a second precision, and energy consumption is ten times higher than in the original.
Another unique characteristic stems from a determination to avoid any risk of the chronograph interfering with the smooth running of the watch: the Defy El Primero 21 is therefore equipped with two independent “gear boxes”: one for the time and the other for the chronograph. Each has its own transmission and escapement system and there is no coupling clutch.
In tribute to its historical roots, the watch balance oscillates at the already high frequency of 5 Hz – the famous 36,000 vibrations/hour characterising El Primero chronographs since 1969. A precision instrument as it has always been, the automatic watch movement is chronometer-certified and has a 50-hour power reserve, matched by a 50-minute autonomy for the hundredth of a second chronograph.
Balance-spring made of Carbon-Matrix Carbon Nanotube composite (new patented material)
When in 1865, Georges Favre-Jacot grouped under one roof the entire range of watch industry professions that were generally scattered between various workshops, the youthful and visionary Zenith founder was creating the first industrial watch manufacture. This spirit of independence and integrated skills takes on its full significance with the new El Primero 21 movement, in-house made and remarkably equipped with its own patented balance-springs. Gravity, temperature and magnetism, the sworn enemies of precision, are thus completely neutralised.
The new balance-springs developed by the LVMH group engineers stem from a patented technology that is also a world premiere. The exceptional physical and mechanical properties of this balance-spring with its graphene matrix render it insensitive to temperature and to the influence of magnetic fields, well beyond the known 15,000 Gauss standard, thereby guaranteeing peerless precision in all conditions of use. 
Alongside its integrated construction, its double-chain architecture and the remarkable chronometric performance of its new balance-springs, the El Primero 21 movement features a patented chronograph-reset control mechanism composed of three heart pieces and an exclusive starter mechanism, ensuring simultaneous resetting of the seconds as well as tenths and hundredths of a second. 
This new-generation twin-barrel El Primero drives central hours and minutes functions, small seconds at 9 o’clock, a 100th of a second central chronograph hand sweeping around a scale on the circumference, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, seconds and tenths of a second at 6 o’clock, and a percentage indication of the chronograph power-reserve at 12 o’clock. Performed via a crown with two positions (for winding and time-setting), manual winding works in both directions: clockwise for the chronograph, counterclockwise for the watch. 25 turns of the crown are enough to obtain a 100% charge of the chronograph barrel. An oscillating weight with a star-shaped openworked oscillating weight handles one-way automatic winding of the watch function.
 
Centesimal signature
 
The Defy El Primero 21 embodies the new generation of Zenith chronographs, based on contemporary mechanics endowed with an unprecedented visual, auditory and dynamic identity.
It proudly represents the tradition of a manufacture with longstanding expertise in chronometry, while incorporating the latest technological breakthroughs. This know-how is expressed through an impressive design – with a 44 mm-diameter case in grade 5 titanium – inspired by the original El Primero models. Equipped with a fluted crown and chronograph pushers, the case with its short lugs displays alternating brushed and satin finishing, while its rubber strap with a leather insert is secured by a double-blade folding clasp.
 
The hundredths of a second display creates an immediate visual impact, with its inner bezel ring featuring a graduated scale running from 0 to 100 and swept over by a spectacularly swift 100th of a second chronograph hand performing one full turn per second.
Epitomising the face of the new Zenith range, the openwork dial reveals an elegant contemporary décor. A star-tipped sweep-seconds hand, large luminescent baton-type hands and facetted hour-markers: all the key identifying characteristics of the El Primero are there, along with counters picking up two of the colours – blue and anthracite grey – gracing the legendary 1969 chronograph.
Defy El Primero 21, the signature of an authentic Swiss manufacture, and the promise of new innovations to come.
 

Technical specifications

References 95.9000.9004/78.R582 (Titanium – openworked dial)
New 1/100th of a second Chronograph movement
Exclusive dynamic signature of one rotation per second
1 escapement for the Watch (36,000 VpH - 5 Hz) ;
1 escapement for the Chronograph (360,000 VpH - 50Hz)
Insensitive to magnetic fields and temperature gradients
Double chain structure with 2 regulators made of Carbon-Matrix Carbon Nanotube composite
MOVEMENT 
Movement El Primero 9004, Automatic Certified
Calibre 14¼``` (Diameter: 32.80 mm)
Movement thickness 7.9 mm
Components 203
Jewels 53
Frequency 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)
Power-reserve min. 50 hours
Finishes Oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” motif
FUNCTIONS
1/100th of a second Chronograph:
Chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o'clock
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o'clock
- Central chronograph hand
- 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock
- 60-second counter at 6 o'clock
CASE, DIAL & HANDS 
Diameter 44 mm
Dial-opening diameter 35.5 mm
Thickness 14.50 mm
Crystal Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back Transparent sapphire crystal
Material Brushed titanium 
Water-resistance 10 ATM
Dial Openworked 
 

Who's who

Founded in Le Locle in 1865 by a visionary watchmaker, Georges Favre-Jacot, the Manufacture Zenith gained swift recognition for the precision of its chronometers, with which it has won 2,333 chronometry prizes in a century and a half of existence: an absolute record in terms of pocket watches, onboard timers and wristwatches. Having earned fame thanks to its legendary El Primero calibre – an integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph movement launched in 1969 and endowed with a high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour that ensures short-time measurements accurate to the nearest 1/10th of a second – the Manufacture Zenith has since developed over 600 movement variations.
 
All possessing a Manufacture movement, Zenith watches are entirely developed and produced at Le Locle. This Manufacture currently stands at the exact spot where its founder built the first company workshop, thereby physically embodying a continuity that is a rarity in itself.
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