back to top

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Limited-Edition Watch Released As Boutique Exclusive

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Limited-Edition Watch Released As Boutique Exclusive Watch Releases

The Zenith Defy range is one of the brand’s fastest-growing collections. With the release of the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Boutique-Exclusive Limited-Edition watch, Zenith has brought together its most popular and enduring movement, and its new, avant-garde case shape to create a modern, extremely wearable, and visually distinctive timepiece. This model is differentiated from its core collection counterpart by the bright “Zenith blue” used on the dial and incorporated into the strap options.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Limited-Edition Watch Released As Boutique Exclusive Watch Releases

The El Primero movement is an industry legend. Launched in 1969, the high frequency (36,000vph) caliber was the first fully integrated column-wheel chronograph. It emerged around the same time as the Valjoux 7750, which used a cam rather than a column wheel as the control component of the mechanism (the bit that engages or disengages the chronograph function). While the cam was designed on a computer and had ease of manufacturing in its court, the column wheel provides a much more satisfying user experience, with a noticeably superior click upon actuation. The top-grade functionality, tasteful finishing, and advantage of a high-frequency escapement made the El Primero a hit, and it has remained one of the most desirable movements ever since, still featuring regulalry in new releases. The fact that it is highly unusual for a movement rather than a watch to have such a reputation speaks volumes of the widespread respect it deservedly receives.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Limited-Edition Watch Released As Boutique Exclusive Watch Releases

The 36,000 vibrations per hour mean that the EL Primero movement is effectively ticking ten times per second (10×60×60=36,000). This is particularly useful for chronograph accuracy, as it means events can be timed to one-tenth of a second. As with the standard Zenith Defy El Primero 21, the chronograph has a second escapement, which boasts an operating frequency of 360,000vph. That’s ten times that of the base movement. That means events can be timed to one-hundredth of a second. In order to record such tiny units of time, the centrally mounted chronograph hand spins at lightning speed, completing one full dial rotation per second (passing 100 split-second markers on its travels).

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Limited-Edition Watch Released As Boutique Exclusive Watch Releases

In addition to the futuristic blue of the movement, which is visible through the openwork dial, the whizzing central chronograph hand (which is backed up by a regular 60-second counter on the 6 o’clock sub-dial and a 30-minute register at 3 o’clock) makes for a stunning display. At 12 o’clock, a power reserve indicator (an impressive 50 hours) can be seen and a 9 o’clock the going seconds can be read via a three-armed hand. This limited piece is made from midnight black ceramic and measures 44mm in diameter. In order to mix up the look and feel of the watch, Zenith is including three straps with every purchase: a black alligator strap with rubber backing and blue stitching, a black rubber strap with a “Cordura” effect and blue stitching, and a textured blue rubber strap. There will only be 250 pieces made, and they will be available at Zenith boutiques only. This Zenith Defy El Primero 21 special-edition watch will be priced at $12,700. To learn more, visit

Read more about

Watch Brands



Disqus Debug thread_id: 7545214246

  • SuperStrapper

    I bet it would look better in white metal not a similar tone. I love that it’s ceramic but they should have chosen a brighter and more metallic tone.

  • Grey, dark grey, dark blue, black and no dial: how difficult to read!

    • Independent_George

      I just watched a video from Time&Tide featuring the production black ceramic model, and it looked pretty legible even with the anthracite-ish grey bridges. I can only imagine that the bright blue bridges would improve contrast and make it even easier to read.

      • I saw the video: I prefer the stainless steel version, rather a different watch.
        Awesome movement, anyway.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I don’t know about anything else but I’m getting super bored with these.

  • With the central chronograph hand spinning completely around every second, how does one tell how many single seconds have elapsed? Say, for example I’m timing an event I know will last between 10 and 20 seconds. When I stop the chronograph, I’ll know the last second was only 63/100ths of a second, but how can I tell if the total time was 10 and 63/100ths seconds or 19 and 63/100ths?

    • Independent_George

      The 60 second counter is at 6:00. The running seconds is that flywheel looking thing at 9:00. The 30-minute counter is at 3:00.

      • Of course that was mentioned very plainly in the article, but I failed to see it until your reply caused me to go back and read more carefully. Thank you for the clarification.

  • dr3

    The blue (and overall balance) seems off somehow… too blue on the right compared to the left.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Zenith can you please stick this in a normal case such as this with a dial.

    Thank you.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.