As one of the four major Swiss watch factories with a history of more than 150 years, the high-frequency chronograph movement has always been a technical strength of Zenith. In recent years, Zenith has successfully transformed with the DEFY series, and the future and breakthrough have become the latest keywords of brand image. In this subversive traditional product line, the most noticeable is undoubtedly the DEFY El Primero 21 launched in 2017. It is equipped with a 1 / 100-second chronograph movement, dual escapement system, and fully skeletonized dial. In my opinion, it can Said to be the master of the brand’s powerful timing technology. Two years after its launch, El Primero 21 is still the only mass-produced 1 / 100-second chronograph watch on the market, which is undoubtedly a strong proof of Zenith’s ‘king’ status in the high-frequency chronograph field.
Zenith DEFY El Primero 21
From 1/10 seconds to 1/100 seconds, accuracy has changed
For Zenith, there is no doubt about its leading position in the high-frequency frequency timing field. As early as the 1960s, Zenith pioneered the high-frequency chronograph with the world’s first integrated automatic chronograph movement, El Primero. Today, El Primero is still a very rare high-frequency movement. However, Zenith is a company that takes research and development technology and explore the limits as its spiritual core. It has legendary history and still insists on thinking-how should the legend of Gao Zhenfeng break through in the 21st century?
El Primero movement
The pursuit of a conscience watch factory is reflected here. In 2017, after unremitting research and tests, Zenith finally successfully launched the DEFY El Primero 21 watch, equipped with the El Primero 9004 automatic winding movement, with a timing accuracy of one hundredth of a second and a vibration frequency of up to 360,000 vibrations. /hour. Of course, there have been some brands that introduced concept watches with similar speed, but no one has produced such a high-frequency chronograph movement like Zenith. To this day, only the DEFY El Primero 21 is a 1/100 second chronograph that has been successfully mass-produced and can be bought for daily wear. It is worth mentioning that in addition to the eye-catching function of high-frequency timing, El Primero 21’s travel time accuracy is also outstanding, and has been accurately certified by the Swiss official observatory COSC.
El Primero Star Speed 9004 Automatic
From concept models to industrial mass production, it is not difficult to imagine how many difficulties we must overcome while keeping the time accuracy of the COSC level while maintaining the movement accuracy of the COSC level while keeping the clock frequency up to 50 Hz. And how did Zenith do it?
Double escapement in rotation
Those who often come into contact with chronographs must know that for chronograph watches, in addition to accurate timing, accurate travel time is another major problem. Because when the two timing and travel systems share an escape wheel, the timing function will inevitably affect the speed of the travel. Today, some brands with their own movements have moved the movement again in order to solve this problem of chronograph watches. Improvements, such as increasing the dynamic reserve of the movement, etc. Zenith pioneered the El Primero 21 with a dual escapement system, which does not interfere with timing and travel time, which fundamentally solves this problem. The escapement vibration frequency at travel time is 36,000 / hour (5 Hz), with a power reserve of 50 hours, which is responsible for stable and accurate travel time; while the timing escapement reaches 10 times 360,000 / hour (50 Hz), which can be performed at full chord. Timed operation for 50 minutes.
The tourbillon at 8 o’clock runs at 5HZ to adjust the watch’s travel time. The tourbillon at 10 o’clock is used to adjust the timing function.
In addition to the double escapement system, in order to ensure the timing and running accuracy of the DEFY El Primero 21, Zenith also equipped this watch with two patented hairsprings, made of carbon-based carbon nanotube composite materials, with superior resistance. Magnetic and temperature change characteristics, can withstand more than 15,000 Gauss magnetic force.
From ‘happy’ to a full-hollow dial, you can be confident enough to ‘through’
In 2003, Zenith first adopted the ‘Happy’ concept, opening a window for the escapement of the El Primero movement, so that the wearer could appreciate the core of the movement, so that the high frequency is no longer an abstract concept. In recent years, as the brand’s technical strength has become more powerful, full-hollow dials have also become one of the characteristics of Zenith, such as the DEFY El Primero 21 series. In terms of appearance, the most recognizable is its full-hollow dial (for To meet different needs, there are also several watches with closed dials in this series). It is not used to set off various decorative objects, but to display the powerful movement in front of everyone with great confidence.
The background is golden and can be viewed through the hollow design
However, the requirements of the watchmaking technology of the full-hollow dial are actually very high. First of all, the brand must ensure that its movement is fully available, and the second is to add additional finishing or polishing to the movement. Like the DEFY El Primero 21 watch movement, because of its high frequency characteristics, the structure itself is already very complex and delicate, some parts are only a few millimeters, which can be described by the word ‘subtle’. With such ‘fragile’ parts, it is necessary to ensure that the function of the watch is not affected, but also to process and polish it again. In simple terms, a former Zenith cousin and I vividly compared: ‘This is no different from embroidering on hair silk.’ The degree of difficulty can be imagined. If it were not for self-confidence in the performance of the movement and the craftsmanship, few brands dare to ‘dancing on the wire’.
Zenith DEFY El Primero 21 Rainbow Limited Watch
Everything is the future
In addition to the dial design, the dynamic display of the DEFY El Primero 21 series is also a highlight of the appearance of this watch. You can observe it carefully when you see the real thing: there are 100 divisions on the bezel. Rotate a second in seconds; press the reset button to end the timing, and the chronograph hands will quickly return to the 12 o’clock position; both visually and acoustically will bring great enjoyment to mechanical watch lovers. Zenith has specially equipped this watch with a patented timing control mechanism to ensure that the hands of 1 second, 1/10 second and 1/100 second start and reset simultaneously. In fact, by pressing the button in time to suddenly stop the operation of the elastic hand device, it will often cause a slight delay or jitter; and minimizing the error is a sign of high-end chronographs. If the measurement only needs to be accurate to seconds, it is not so important; but if the measurement is accurate to 1/100 seconds, it is very important.
DEFY El Primero 21 in Chronograph
At the same time, as the flagship product of Zenith’s transformation of futuristic style, the material selection of the DEFY El Primero 21 watch also follows the cutting-edge innovation line. In addition to the precious metal 18K rose gold, titanium, black ceramic and other avant-garde material models have also been launched, especially the now very popular rainbow circle and recently released carbon fiber models, it is a model of mechanical science fiction.
Zenith DEFY El Primero 21 Carbon Fiber Watch
The DEFY El Primero 21 series watch, which combines cutting-edge high-frequency movement technology, advanced design style, mechanical hollow dial and distinctive material selection, has never stopped pushing itself to its limit. The fast-moving chronograph second hand not only measures the moment of 1 / 100th of a second, but also conveys the courage and foresight of the Zenith.