At a large watch fair such as Baselworld you can often hear the term ‘innovation’ being used quite often. In most cases, it is debatable to what extent it is truly an innovation and not merely an improvement or another, but not necessarily better, way to solve a preexisting challenge. With the Zenith Defy Inventor, there is that same doubt, but in a different way. While we may indicate this watch, or more precisely its balance, as an innovation it is, in fact, closer to a revolution.
The Defy Inventor is the production version of the Defy Lab, a very limited edition series in which Zenith introduced its new oscillator, which replaces the traditional balance that we can find in nearly all mechanical watches. It consists of only a single piece of monocrystalline silicon which moves at 18 Hz or 108.000 vph. It is however not only this incredible frequency that makes this watch more precise but also the fact that temperature and magnetism have little to no effect on the monocrystalline silicon. As it also greatly reduces the number of parts compared to a traditional movement, they not only cut down on friction but also increase the reliability as there are simply fewer parts that can fail or decrease the watch performance due to wear and tear.
For this watch, Zenith opted for a skeleton dial to highlight the motion of the oscillator and frames it with quite a unique bezel. The metal that Zenith uses for this is called Aeronith, which is essentially a foam made from pure aluminium which is then treated with a polymer. The result is a strong material which makes the bezel, for example, three times lighter than if it would have been made from titanium, which happens to be the material of which the rest of the case is made.
Creating innovation is one thing, but taking such new technology into large(r) scale production is a whole other ball game. Crafting multiple pieces put great demands on quality control, as well as the consistency of the parts production and assembly. Zenith has worked hard to get to this point and is expected to deliver several hundred pieces of the Defy Inventor this year, an extraordinary accomplishment with a truly revolutionary watch!