It took Swiss Zenith watches about two years to refine and industrialize the idea behind the massively attention-grabbing Zenith Defy Lab watch that was launched as a restricted version of 10 items in 2017 (aBlogtoWatch hands-on debut right here). 2019 watch-lovers enthusiastic about getting their palms on a really high-frequency motion that additionally occurs to look cool in operation can look ahead to the Zenith Defy Inventor. It options within the in-house-made Zenith Calibre 9100 motion, which operates at 18Hz. This watch is accessible as a debut mannequin this 12 months with blue coloration accents.
The Zenith Defy Inventor is most of what the Defy Lab watch was, however higher in some methods. Except for the elevated collectability of the Defy Lab (given its extra unique nature), the one space wherein it has an edge (relies on your tastes) over the Defy Inventor is the truth that Zenith used Aeronith for the bezel and case, whereas the 2019 Defy Inventor makes use of titanium for the case and Aeronith for the bezel. When you recall from our dialogue concerning the authentic Defy Lab, Aeronith is an unique aluminum alloy that may be very onerous but additionally very gentle. It additionally occurs to appear to be micro-Swiss cheese, given its perforated floor. The unique Defy Lab watch has a type of sealant over the case floor to be able to make it easy to the contact. Aeronith because the bezel materials doesn’t actually add something, technically, to both of those Defy watches from an general “wristwatch efficiency” perspective. They’re, nevertheless, a particular look visually (for individuals who like an natural look to supplies and floor) and within the ultra-competitive luxurious watch area, it helps Zenith a bit by saying that they’ve a cloth others aren’t utilizing (but).
At 44mm-wide and 14.5mm-thick (waterproof to 100 meters), the principally titanium case of the Zenith Defy Inventor is akin to different Defy assortment fashions when it comes to the way it wears and appears, save for the radically completely different motion and dial design (however one which Zenith itself mimicked for another cheaper fashions in its assortment that don’t have the unique 9100 motion). The fold-over deployant strap is rubber with a blue alligator liner on the skin — which is an efficient mix of sporting consolation and elegance. That is the place you see Zenith borrowing closely from sister model Hublot, a superb factor in case you are looking for a contemporary (and cozy) watch-wearing expertise.
One motive to get excited concerning the Zenith Defy Inventor is the “vibrating” animation on the dial every time you have a look at it and, after all, a motion that operates at greater than 4 instances quicker the speed of your customary 4Hz mechanical motion. Let’s speak about every of those components individually as a result of they contain completely different watch-buying propositions. Superficial or not, individuals like watches that look “cool.” Tourbillons acquired well-liked not as a result of they made watches extra correct (not within the least), however reasonably that they supplied a neat spinning animation on a dial. Different issues that supply motion (animation) on the dial of a watch are typically valued by collectors. Why? Nicely, as a result of they’re enjoyable for the wearer to take a look at and in addition serve to seize the eye of others. (Most individuals sporting luxurious watches are looking for consideration.)
Along with an attention-grabbing animation on the dial, the Defy Inventor additionally provides efficiency that different watches don’t have. The Calibre 9100 automated motion operates at 18Hz with 50 hours of energy reserve (and is produced from a comparatively lean 148 elements). That’s truly 3Hz greater than the 15Hz frequency of the Zenith caliber Z 342 motion that was within the 2017 Defy Lab watch. 18Hz interprets right into a fee of 129,600 bph, which is clearly greater than the 28,800 bph frequency of a 4Hz motion. Why is all this velocity wanted? The quicker a regulation organ in a watch operates, the extra instances it might probably “beat” every minute. The extra beats it has, the less impact errors in any given beat will impact the general accuracy of the motion. Observe that Zenith makes zero claims concerning the Calibre 9100’s real-world timing consequence efficiency. This is quite common within the watch business, and we recurrently see new applied sciences designed to extend accuracy in a watch motion with out the corporate behind these actions making any precise claims about real-world efficiency. Fairly hardly ever is a brand new motion designd to be correct that’s accompanied by the promise of precise efficiency will increase.
One motive for that is that every specific watch’s accuracy can differ, even when all have the identical motion inside. That is due to how actions are regulated, in addition to as a consequence of minor variations in elements. The Calibre 9100 makes use of a big “monolithic” silicon construction as the primary characteristic of the regulation organ. This is called the Zenith Oscillator and is totally proprietary, having been developed by LVMH’s gifted Man Semon. Zenith made modifications to the system between the Defy Lab and the Defy Inventor, however the concept stays the identical and, in line with the model, the Zenith Oscillator works effectively in real-world eventualities, making an allowance for issues like vibration, shock, and environmental modifications corresponding to temperature fluctuations.
For now, the Zenith 9100 automated motion solely options the time — however that’s OK. It pushes the 5Hz “Excessive Beat” El Primero motion household legacy into the longer term with an attention-grabbing prelude of what is perhaps to come back for the model. Relying on how the expertise and tradition of Zenith goes, I’ve a sense that the following few years of the model’s path will actually be about pushing the boundaries of what a high-frequency motion can appear to be, function like, and carry out like — ideally with the addition of much more attention-grabbing issues. For 2019, Zenith has already launched a high-frequency tourbillon chronograph that operates at 50Hz. Those that have adopted Man Semon’s work for TAG Heuer and Zenith during the last a number of years needs to be effectively conscious of his lab’s developments and the way they’ve been included into numerous high-end timepieces.
This may occasionally sound like an understatement, however despite the fact that the Zenith Defy Inventor is clearly a luxurious timepiece, it’s maybe probably the most inexpensive very high-frequency mechanical watches out there in the present day — particularly from Zenith. The 2017 restricted version of 10 items Defy Lab watch price about $30,000. For 2019, the Zenith ref. 95.9001.9100/78.R584 Defy Inventor has a retail worth of $17,800 USD. Study extra on the Zenith web site.