Zenith Debuts the DEFY Skyline with a Chronograph-Free El Primero Movement

Zenith has been on a tear lately. Aggressively looking to expand its standing within the luxury watch market, the Swiss heritage brand has been debuting watch after watch in recent months, each more daring than the last. The brand’s latest, however, may be its most interesting yet. As part of parent company LVMH’s Watch Week 2022, Zenith has reinterpreted its iconic El Primero movement in a unique and brand-new addition to the DEFY collection: the Skyline.

From a design perspective, the Zenith DEFY Skyline furthers the case that the product line is Zenith’s answer to blockbuster integrated sports watches from the likes of upmarket rivals Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. It fuses contemporary flair with the DEFY’s vintage sports watch design language, topping a sharply-finished octagonal case with an even more daring dodecagonal bezel. Channeling its urban night motif, the gorgeous sunburst dial sports a star pattern that evokes a celestial feel, while also giving off some (probably not coincidental) Royal Oak vibes. Furthering those vibes is the immaculate integrated steel bracelet, which can be swapped out tool-free for the also-included rubber strap that duplicates the dial’s star pattern.

What really excites us about the Skyline, however, is the technological innovation that comes in the form of its new El Primero 3620 caliber. While similar in build to the famous El Primero 3600 chronograph, the new movement omits the El Primero’s most famous complication — the chronograph — opting instead for a time and date caliber that still beats at a whopping 5Hz (36’000 VpH). The movement also features a unique 1/10-second complication in place of a traditional small seconds subdial, further showing off Zenith’s technical prowess. This innovative movement is also visible to the wearer thanks to the DEFY Skyline’s sapphire case back.

Boasting a water resistance of 100 meters and a 60-hour power reserve, the Zenith DEFY Skyline is available in three classic colorways — blue, black, and silver — and retails for $8,400.

Purchase: $8,400