It’s LVMH Watch Week again and it’s time for me to get all heated about a new Zenith release, again. Last year when Zenith unveiled the Defy Skyline, it felt like I was immediately on board. Sure, people said what they had to, got it out of their systems, and argued online. But to me it looks like the Skyline has been successful while bringing some much-needed variety in a collector’s world so heavily obsessed with another, very specific set, of integrated bracelet steel sports watches. Let’s not forget that they’re also practically impossible to get. I wanted Zenith to take the Skyline and run with it as hard as they could and now it looks like I’m getting my wish. And it starts with the Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton.
Often times you’ll read about watches here on TBWS that don’t necessarily fit into our usual budget-minded framework. But sometimes we find them too attractive to ignore and like last year, I’ve elected to get my thoughts down on this new Zenith with the help of our Too Broke column. And hey, one can dream I guess. The first thing that comes to mind is that while this Defy Skyline Skeleton is technically a new watch, to me it just looks like a logical update to the original Skyline released last year. Sadly, the pricing isn’t the same. But skeleton dial or not, I think this is overall a better Skyline.
One thing that makes me feel this way is Zenith’s decision to shift the 1/10th second sub-dial to the 6 o’clock position while removing the date. This results in a cleaner, symmetrical look, which in this case is meant to open up room for the skeletonization. Zenith is offering two versions with a blue or black dial and matching color schemes on the movement. It’s the same 41mm octagonal steel case with that mesmerizing El Primero 3620 SK high-frequency 5Hz movement. Personally I’d pick the black one but I wonder if there are any differences in readability between the two colors when you consider the deep skeletonization.
It’s also worth noting that this watch is somewhat of a replacement of the Defy Classic Skeleton. Knowing all the colors and flavors those watches came in, my hope is that we’ll continue to see new versions of the Defy Skyline Skeleton. Just imagine this watch in full titanium with a matching bracelet, or a full colored ceramic case. It’ll probably be coming our way soon! One of my favorite things about the older Defy Classic skeleton was the way it looked on rubber. Like last year’s Skyline, this skeletonized version comes with a quick-change strap system that allows you to easily swap between the matching steel bracelet and rubber straps.
Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton Specs
- Case Diameter: 41mm
- Water Resistance: 100m
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Movement: El Primero 3620 SK
- Power reserve: 60 hours
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Bracelet: Quick-change steel or rubber
- Price: $11,000
My deepest hope is that the Defy Skyline never becomes a “hype watch.” It would be great for it to exist on its own for certain collectors to enjoy while separating itself from the Royal Oak and Nautilus scarcity madness. But like we saw with watches like the Vacheron Overseas line, it looks like following this design style will eventually doom your watch to such immense levels of success that it becomes impossible to buy. Maybe that’ll happen with the Skyline. Maybe it won’t. All I know is that I’m happy to see Zenith double down on the Skyline as I continue to double down on my own excitement and curiosity.
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.