Zenith Introduces the Defy Skyline 36 mm

Now in a more compact size.

In 1971, Zenith introduced the Defy, a steel sports watch with an octagonal case and tetradecagonal bezel that was the inspiration for the Defy Skyline, a simple three-hander in steel with an integrated bracelet. Today, the brand has updated the Skyline with a smaller case of 36 mm and three new dial colours. While its design is nearly identical to its larger sibling, the reduced size of the new Skyline makes it more wearable.

Initial thoughts

The highlight of the Defy Skyline is its compact, 36 mm size. For someone like me who leans towards classic proportions and prefers smaller watches, the size is a plus while also making it more wearable. Along with the size, the clean, simple design is also versatile enough for both genders. And the option of a diamond-set model and bright dial colours certainly elevate its appeal for a wider audience.

At US$8,500 for the standard model and 50% more for the diamond-set variant, it is priced competitively against comparable sports watches. And while it might not have all the bells and whistles of some of Zenith’s signature chronograph offerings, it’s easy to like for someone looking for a straightforward sports watch with an in-house movement.

More colours and a compact size

While the original Defy Skyline was 41 mm, the new version is considerably smaller. In spite of its reduced size, the case still retains the distinctive octagonal form with a brushed finish and matching bracelet. But it is equipped with a strap-change mechanism allowing a quick swap of the bracelet for a rubber strap.

The rest of the watch is identical to the standard Defy Skyline. The dial is available in three dial colours: blue (first seen in the original 41 mm model), metallic pastel pink, and pastel green.

A few tweaks have been made to the dial, notably removing the seconds at nine o’clock for symmetry. The brand has also updated the repeating star pattern that covers the dial, which is based on the vintage Zenith logo from the 1960s.

As with the smaller models from Zenith, the new Defy contains the Elite 670, the brand’s mainstay automatic calibre found in its dress watches. While reliable, the Elite 670 is a relatively old calibre, so it has a power reserve of 50 hours, rather than the 70 hours or so that’s now the industry norm.

Key facts and price

Zenith Defy Skyline 36 mm
Ref. 03.9400.670/51.I001 (blue dial without diamonds)
Ref. 16.9400.670/51.I001 (blue dial with diamonds)

Ref. 03.9400.670/18.I001 (metallic pink without diamonds)
Ref. 16.9400.670/18.I001 (metallic pink with diamonds)

Ref. 03.9400.670/61.I001 (pastel green without diamonds)
Ref. 16.9400.670/61.I001 (pastel green with diamonds)

Diameter: 36 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Elite 670
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet with folding clasp

Limited edition: No
At Zenith boutiques and retailers beginning January 2023
Price: US$8,500 for the standard model, US$12,000 for the diamond-set model

For more, visit Zenith-watches.com.


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