Extreme E is an international off-road racing series in which specially built electric SUVs race through remote parts of the world to help raise awareness about climate change. Zenith is the Official Timekeeper and Founding Partner of the Extreme E series, and to celebrate the second season of this unique electric rally race, the famous Swiss manufacturer is releasing the Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” watch, which pays tribute to the double-header Island X Prix that takes place from July 6th-7th and July 9th-10th 2022 on the Italian island of Sardinia. Based on the ultra-lightweight Defy Extreme Carbon, the Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” incorporates upcycled materials reclaimed from the Extreme E racing series and reimagines the brand’s advanced 1/100th of a second automatic chronograph with bright splashes of color in the Island X Prix’s official shade of orange.
This is not the first Defy Extreme E watch that Zenith has produced, and the brand has plans to create a series of different Defy Extreme Carbon watches, each one paying tribute to a different race from the Extreme E series. Just like the previous version that appeared earlier this year and paid tribute to the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia, the new Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” features an angular 45mm case with an integrated lug structure. The case itself is made from carbon fiber with its pusher protectors and 12-sided bezel crafted from microblasted titanium. A pair of scratch-resistant sapphire crystals cover both the dial side of the watch and its screw-on caseback, while carbon fiber chronograph pushers and a screw-in crown that is also made from carbon fiber help provide the Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” with a generous 200 meters of water resistance.
Like other versions of the Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon, the new Island X Prix edition features a multi-layered openworked dial that incorporates sections of tinted sapphire crystal to offer a dial-side view of the advanced high-frequency 1/100th of a second chronograph movement. Like other watches that rely on this same caliber, the dial of the Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” features a trio of registers in addition to a power reserve indicator positioned at the 12 o’clock location. The various markings for the three registers appear in bright orange, which is the official color of the Island X Prix race, and this use of color extends to the corresponding scale for the 1/100th of a second chronograph, which is positioned around the periphery of the white minute track on the dial. Rhodium-plated hands and hour markers receive a coating of Super-LumiNova SLN C1 for easy access to the time in low-light conditions, while the center portions of the hour and minute hands are skeletonized for an unobstructed view of the chronograph registers.
Powering the Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” is the advanced El Primero 9004 self-winding chronograph movement, which is celebrated as being the highest-frequency automatic chronograph in production and capable of offering 1/100th of a second time measurements. What is arguably most interesting about the Zenith El Primero 9004 is that it features two different escapements, each with its own frequency. The timekeeping side of the watch runs at an already high rate of 36,000 vph (5Hz) while the escapement for the chronograph runs at a mind-blowing 360,000 vph (50Hz). The benefit of using two different escapements is that it permits the Caliber 9004’s chronograph to measure incredibly precise partial seconds, while still being able to offer users a power reserve of approximately 50 hours.
Completing the Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” and supporting the message of sustainability that’s at the core of Extreme E racing series itself is an orange Velcro strap that incorporates recycled Continental CrossContact tires that were used during the first season’s races. Two additional black rubber and black Velcro straps are also included with the watch, and strap changes are made quick and easy thanks to Zenith’s tool-free attachment system. The theme of sustainability extends to the packaging for the watch, and the Zenith Defy Extreme E “Island X Prix” comes in a waterproof and crush-proof watch case that is made from various recycled materials that were used during last season’s races, including spent E-grip tires and pieces of racing tarpaulin.
Similar to the high-tech electric vehicles that are used to race in the Extreme E series itself, Zenith’s Defy Extreme E watches are high-performance machines that are designed to withstand the rigors of racing through some of the most extreme and inhospitable environments on this planet. As the latest addition to Zenith’s Defy Extreme E capsule collection, the new model brings a splash of bright orange to the high-tech carbon watch that first appeared earlier this year, and it represents Zenith’s ongoing commitment to the Extreme E racing series in the official colors of the Island X Prix of Sardinia. With a retail price of $27,100 USD, production of the Zenith Extreme E “Island X Prix” will be limited to just 20 pieces worldwide, and the watch will be available both online and at physical Zenith boutiques around the globe. For more information, please visit the manufacturer’s website.