Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

Review Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

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Zenith launched at the beginning of the summer a joyful and colourful piece – the Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet. The high energy colour fits perfectly the high-frequency chronograph. The Defy 21 Ultraviolet has just been made available for shopping online. What better occasion to have a look at it?

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

One of the perks of modern engineering is the ability to play with the finishes. Colour was a limited domain until recently (not that now is possible any wild scheme, but the degree of liberty is much higher). Zenith grabbed the chance with both hands and dared to experiment. The result is an unusual colour scheme for a watch – shades of violet and grey.

Review Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

Violet was a colour associated in antiquity with gods and emperors. The contemporary finds violet in daring, maybe even niche products. It is not a colour found at any time everywhere. Using it in a watch is a bold move, for the brand, for the wearer. Nevertheless, the Defy 21 Ultraviolet is an eye stealing, audacious watch.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

The Defy 21 titanium case

The Ultraviolet comes in a now recognisable Defy 21 case. The modern case uses micro-blasted titanium. The 44 mm case with math finish is a good companion to the daring colour. The dark grey titanium was a good choice for sports timepieces. The high resistance to scratches and chemical stability is a desirable plus. As mentioned in the Revival Shadow review, I own 40 years old watches with this finish and nothing denotes their age – the very few scratches are superficial and almost invisible.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

The crown and the pushers use the same material and finishes. Of course, the crown features an embossed Zenith star as decoration on a domed background. The handling is pleasant and familiar to those who have “molested” a Defy 21 chrono before.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet features a tall bezel with deep chamfering. The sapphire crystal is mounted in a raised position. This could jeopardize the bevelled edge in case of a lateral hit. Otherwise, the side look is spectacular.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

Openwork dial

Defy 21 Ultraviolet comes with an open dial that reveals the beautiful colour of the movement. Zenith used grey for the dial’s elements, to match the case look.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

The dial is split in a Y configuration with running seconds on the left, central 1/100 seconds indication, chrono 30-min counter on the right and chrono seconds at 6 o’clock.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

The sub-dials are slightly recessed and feature a grey matt finish similar to the case micro-blasting look. The sundials have the indexes and Arabic numerals printed in white.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

The hours and minutes register features large applied hour indexes with luminescent insert and printed minute indexes. The outer register serves as the 1/100seconds scale. An unusual scale even for the ultra-modern watches since this chrono complication is quite rare. The hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with Super-LumiNova®SLN C1.

El Primero 9004 automatic

El Primero 9004 automatic

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet is powered by the calibre El Primero 9004 automatic. This movement is spectacular visual and technic. The calibre 9004 has an open construction with a micro-blasted skeletonisation. Many elements, including the rotor weight, are anodised to obtain this violet finish.

El Primero 9004 automatic

El Primero 9004 could be considered a condensed version of two movements in one. The calibre features two escapements: a rapid 5Hz escapement for time display and a 50Hz escapement for the ultra-fast chronograph. The watch has a power reserve of 50 hours.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

Final words

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet is a special timepiece: a fabulous daring look and a great technical achievement. A balanced presence is obtained using the combination of grey and violet. Even if it is using a strong colour like violet, the watch manages to keep a decent note. Yes, the watch draws attention but it is not screaming.

The calibre 9004 is a technical marvel. To be able to measure mechanically 1/100 seconds is an exceptional achievement.

The watch is light and feels good on the wrist. It is a sports piece and my sartorial combination is definitively not the happiest choice. But for a sportive attire, this watch is a great addition.

The watch is available online in the most important regions in the Zenith online shop. Just choose your location in the top left of the webpage to see price and availability.

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet

Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet Technical Specifications and Price


Key points:

  • Unique Violet 1/100th of a second chronograph movement.
  • Exclusive dynamic signature of one rotation per second.
  • 1 escapement for the Watch (36,000 VpH – 5 Hz);
  • 1 escapement for the Chronograph (360,000 VpH – 50 Hz).
  • Special linear power reserve indicator. TIME LAB Chronometer certified.


  • El Primero 9004 automatic – Ultraviolet finishings


  • 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)

Power reserve:

  • Approx. 50 hours


  • 1/100th of a second chronograph functions.
  • Chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o’clock.
  • Hours and minutes in the centre.
  • Small seconds at 9 o’clock,
  • Central chronograph hand,
  • 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock,
  • 60-second counter at 6 o’clock


  • Microblasted Titanium

Water resistance:

  • 10 ATM


  • Special open dial with grey closed chronograph registers

Hour markers:

  • Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with Super-LumiNova®SLN C1


  • Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with Super-LumiNova®SLN C1

Bracelet & Buckle:

  • Violet fabric effect strap.
  • Microblasted titanium double folding clasp


  • 13’400 CHF
  • 12’800 €  recommended price in Germany
  • 11’000 £ recommended price in GB
  • 13,100 $ recommended price in the USA
  • 19’100 SG$ recommended price in Singapore

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