Zenith Defy Skyline

By: Michael Penate

In a fresh installment of our criminally underserved segment—Too Broke—I thought it would be fun to write about what is perhaps the most talked-about release from LVMH Watch Week so far. Today, Zenith announced the release of a new time-only, El Primero-powered watch. You’ll be seeing a lot of the usual outlets providing much of the same, beautiful coverage—but I wanted to get some thoughts down on this one because it really leaves me wondering what Zenith has been thinking lately. Here’s a quick word salad on the new Zenith Defy Skyline.

Much like with the release of the Zenith Chronomaster Sport in 2021, the Defy Skyline really makes it seem as if Zenith is out for blood. Many of us have admitted it, and that watch was clearly a shot across the bow in terms of offering consumers a Daytona-like experience with a bit more modern, hyper-technical interest behind the movement. It’s a great watch and with the Defy Skyline, I think Zenith has positioned themselves to really pull in a specific set of consumers, while offering contemporary variations on a theme they just can’t get their hands on.

I absolutely despise what has become of the buying process for watches like the Daytona and Royal Oak. In fact, it’s the kind of garbage that makes me wish this entire industry would collapse on itself. And while Zenith may not admit to it, it looks like they know just how easy it is to step in and offer something fresh yet familiar. The Genta-inspired lines of the Defy Skyline are clear indicators of that. And you know what? I’m all for it. Zenith, do it. Take these classic design cues and run with them. Use your Defy collection to put a modern spin on things and get these into the hands of collectors—and keep up with the inevitable demand that’s sure to follow.

By now I’m sure you’ve seen all the cool videos and read up on all the hands-on articles with the live photos, so I’ll be brief on specs and all that. But I do want to point out that running seconds display at 9 o’clock. Like the chronograph second hand on the Chronomaster Sport, this hand makes a full rotation every ten seconds. And these are exactly the kind of party tricks that have led me to spend less time drooling over some of those other “holy trinity” watches, and more time lusting over Zenith (I’m particularly fond of the Defy 21, by the way).

So again much like with the Chronomaster Sport, the Defy Skyline will lead to a brutal love or hate, tug-of-war between watch influencers, bloggers, and industry talking heads. “OMG ZENITH KILLED THE ROYAL OAK.” Ugh, I can see the YouTube thumbnails already. As for me, this just leaves me feeling more excited about the Defy collection overall as I think less and less about the watchmaking “legends” I’m supposed to verbally masturbate over as a watch enthusiast. Take a look at the specs here, I’d love to try one on eventually. To close it off in natural Too Broke fashion, price for the Zenith Defy Skyline is $8,400, and I honestly thought this would have been priced way higher when I first saw it. What do you think? Is it worth it?

 
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