High-frequency chronographs have been a crucial component of Zenith’s character since the unveiling of the legendary El Primero 5Hz movement in 1969. Determined to capitalise on its field prowess, the Defy El Primero 21 50Hz frequency movement was unveiled in 2017, offering readings accurate to the 1/100th of a second with dual-balance architecture—a slower beating 5Hz regulator for the time and a faster 50Hz regulator for the chronograph.
The Defy Extreme series now includes Zenith’s most complex and intricate high-frequency chronograph movement. Zenith, which is protected by an even tougher 200 metres water-resistant habitat, demonstrates that high-end complexity and bold, modern style can coexist.
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Two models, one in black carbon fibre with 18k brushed rose gold trim and another in brushed titanium, house the exquisite El Primero 9020 complexity. The case, like previous Defy Extreme models, has a huge 45mm diameter defined by strong angles and a 12-sided ring beneath the bezel. The angular chronograph pushers are shielded by a contrasting material that fits the dodecagonal ring.
This watch is powered by the El Primero 9020, which is housed in two variants, one in brushed titanium and the other in black carbon fibre with 18k brushed rose gold accents. The case measures 45mm in diameter and features sharp angles and a 12-sided ring below the bezel. The dodecagonal ring is made of different material from the parts that protect the angular chronograph pushers.
Large elements of the movement, including the two tourbillons with star-shaped cages, are visible through the openworked dial with tinted translucent sapphire displays. The timekeeping and chronograph mechanisms are separate and equipped with their own barrel, gear train, and tourbillon regulator, resulting in no contact between the timekeeping movement and the chronograph.
On the one hand, the timekeeping movement has a power reserve of 50 hours and works at 36,000 vibrations per hour, or 5 Hz. Meanwhile, the chronograph movement has an astounding frequency of 360,000 vibrations per hour, or 50 Hz. The chronograph has a power reserve of 50 minutes, as shown by the power reserve gauge at noon, and is capable of showing precise readings of 1/100th of a second.