Collaborations between the watchmaking and racing industries are very common in today’s market. Numerous examples are TAG Heuer and the Monaco Grand Prix, IWC and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
The latest instalment that combines these two worlds is the new Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” Edition, the brand’s second edition commemorating the “Extreme E” sustainable and electric rally racing championship, of which Zenith is a Founding Partner and Official Timekeeper.
In line with the automotive concept, the watch’s case is made of micro blasted titanium and carbon fiber, making it extremely lightweight while also being incredibly strong and scratch-resistant. It measures 45mm in diameter and 15.5mm in thickness, but it wears smaller than its measurements suggest, measuring 51mm from lug to lug across the wrist.
Zenith is known for frequently having an open-worked dial, letting you view the movement on the front side while wearing the watch. This typical feature is definitely suitable for a racing watch since it effectively allows you to observe the engine at all times.
The Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” Edition aesthetic is strengthened by orange accents to the outer 100th of a second track, the indications found on the tinted sapphire registers of the chronograph, and to the orange Velcro strap made with pieces of Continental recycled tyres. Meanwhile, the carbon and microblasted titanium are undoubtedly stealthy in appearance.
The orange colour of this watch represents the “scorching-hot conditions of the Italian island throughout the summer,” when the race is held, and is also the official colour of the “Island X Prix.”
The chronograph has three registers: a running seconds register at 9, a 60-second register at 6, and an elapsed minutes register for 30 minutes at 3. A power reserve indication that is similar to a fuel/gas metre on a car dashboard, is shown at 12. Some chronographs would only feature Super-LumiNova coating on the hour indices and the central hours and minutes hands.
The in-house calibre El Primero 9004 is housed under the commemorative-etched display caseback. The automatic movement has the most advanced chronograph technology from Zenith, with a central chronograph seconds hand that rotates once every second at 1/100th of a second.
This is the best analogue timer you can use to measure a race since it can time each lap or finish to an amazing 1/100th of a second. The calibre contains two escapements: one for the watch, which beats rapidly at 5Hz (36,000 VPH), and the other for the centre chronograph seconds hand, which beats 10 times more quickly (50Hz or 360,000 VPH).