A classic with a contemporary spin: the Zenith DEFY Skyline Collection

Zenith infuses some of its legendary models with a modern update and contemporary sophistication while maintaining their original attractiveness

The Pilot Big Date Flyback

Earlier this year at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023, Zenith introduced its newly redesigned Pilot collection, a DEFY Skyline model boasting a modernistic design with a visually appealing and strikingly dark appearance as well as the DEFY Revival Shadow that presents a modern makeover of the original DEFY silhouette. For the latter, Zenith imagines an alternate possibility for the first DEFY silhouette from 1969 in a decidedly modern and stealthy rendition. The new DEFY Revival Shadow has a decidedly muted and monolithic look compared to its predecessor, which stood out with its signature angular steel case in brightly polished and satin-brushed surfaces. Crafted in titanium, the DEFY Revival case, with its fourteen-sided bezel, is entirely micro-blasted to create a matte finish, revealing the titanium’s dark gray tone and enhancing the case’s iconic geometry.

“As the Manufacture’s most long- standing line, it never fails to captivate devoted aviation fans and watch aficionados”

Meanwhile, the DEFY Revival Shadow’s dial is matte black with a distinctly vintage look, completely different to the original DEFY line that prominently featured vibrant dial colors and striking gradient effects. The watch’s iconic “ladder” bracelet is also crafted in titanium and finished with the same matte texture as the case. The automatic Elite 670 manufacture movement with a power reserve of 50 hours completes this modern creation.

The DEFY Revival Shadow

Still in the realm of the DEFY, Zenith also introduced the DEFY Skyline collection’s two primary pillars, the DEFY Skyline and the DEFY Skyline Skeleton, with a charmingly blacked-out appearance as these two new references are made completely of black ceramic, including the bracelet. The DEFY Skyline Skeleton Ceramic comes with an open dial featuring a big, central four-pointed star motif that has been darkened, showing the skeleton movement’s black bridges and main plate. Its faceted polished hands and applied indices are filled with white Super-LumiNova for effortless readability day and night. Conversely, the DEFY Skyline Ceramic features a black galvanic dial with a sunray finish, shimmering as light hits its surface. There’s a geometric pattern in it, consisting of the Zenith four-pointed star that historically featured prominently on the casebacks of vintage DEFY references as a “double Z.” Inside, both models are driven by the El Primero 3620 automatic high-frequency manufacture movement featuring an efficient automatic bi-directional winding mechanism with a blackened star-shaped rotor that delivers a power reserve of approximately 60 hours. Another exciting update from Zenith comes in the Pilot collection. As the Manufacture’s most long-standing line, it never fails to captivate devoted aviation fans and seasoned watch aficionados. And this year’s all-new Pilot lineup, which has also been completely developed from the ground up, forgoes the collection’s historical style in favor of drawing from the world of flight, both historical and contemporary.

The DEFY Skyline Skeleton

The standout from this new collection is arguably the Pilot Big Date Flyback, which comes in two different variants, both with a 42.5mm case. The stainless-steel model borrows design cues from the illustrious El Primero Flyback chronograph—the “Rainbow Flyback”—and its chronograph minute totalizer is done in alternating colors. At the same time, the black ceramic version takes on a chromatic, utilitarian look with luminescent white markers and hands contrasting boldly against the opaline black corrugated dial. With the redesigned Pilot collection, the awe-inspiring DEFY Skyline and the DEFY Revival Shadow, Zenith has once again demonstrated its ability to push the limits and establish new standards in today’s constantly changing environment.