It’s no secret among the enthusiast community that 2022 was a strong year for Zenith. With red-hot new series such as the Defy Skyline and noteworthy showings across most of its major product lines, last year proved to be a successful one for the Swiss brand, but perhaps its most surprising announcement was the return of the very first Defy model in the form of the limited-run Defy Revival A3642. For 2023, however, Zenith intends to use the success of that initial run as a springboard to a larger collection, beginning with the first-ever regular production Zenith Defy Revival model. The new Zenith Defy Revival A3691 is a meticulously accurate recreation of one of the brand’s most striking releases of 1971, updated with modern construction, finishing, and an highly capable movement for a truly “best of both worlds” presentation.
At 37mm-wide, the stainless steel case of the Zenith Defy Revival A3691 is more or less identical to both the ‘70s original and 2022’s Defy Revival A3642. The bold octagonal case shape, narrow 14-sided bezel, and the sharply brushed half-moon bevel above the hooded lugs are all present here, with sharply modern finishing in initial images. Rather than organic curves or flowing lines, Zenith gives this retrofuturistic angular form contours through the use of arcing chamfers flanking the lugs. These planar cuts give the design a sense of complexity in images, while also acting as broad, sharp highlights when viewing the case from an angle. The only visual change from the original 1971 Defy A3691 visible from the front is the modern sapphire crystal, which still follows the classic domed profile of the original. Around back, however, the Defy Revival A3691 abandons the solid caseback of its forebear in favor of a sapphire display window. Like the original, this is a bona fide sports watch design, with a beefy 300 meters of water resistance at the ready.
As with the original Defy A3691, the Zenith Defy Revival A3691’s dial takes on an eye-catching dègradè effect in deep ruby red. Red is quickly becoming one of the new “it” colors in watchmaking, and this is one of the most dramatic hues so far in images, with a textured matte surface that fades to smoky black at the dial edge. The rest of the dial layout should be familiar to those who remember the Revival A3642, with brightly reflective ridged applied indices paired to a faceted sword handset and a finely detailed outer seconds scale. The 4:30 date window, while accurate to the original model, will likely remain a point of division among fans, either inspiring rancor for disrupting dial symmetry or earning applause for leaving the indices and seconds scale intact. In another shift from the 1971 original, the small lume plots surrounding the indices at 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 5 o’clock, 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock, 10 o’clock, and 11 o’clock, along with the lume fills on the hands, have been updated with modern Super-LumiNova C1.
Zenith powers the Defy Revival A3691 with its in-house Elite 670 automatic movement (the brand was unable to provide images of this movement before press time). This is the new model’s most dramatic departure from its predecessor, as outside of the 28,800 bph beat rate it shares virtually nothing in common with the original’s movement. The Elite 670 is a solidly built, fully modern powerplant, sporting an adequate 50 hours of power reserve. In order to keep the look of the original Defy intact, Zenith pairs the Defy Revival A3691 with a fully modernized take on the iconic Gay Frères ladder bracelet in stainless steel. Like its predecessor, this distinctive three-link design is fully brushed, but Zenith replaces the old-school folded link construction of the original with far sturdier solid links throughout.
By combining period-correct aesthetics with modern quality and finishing, the new Zenith Defy Revival A3691 is poised to build on the success of one of the brand’s most talked-about 2022 releases with a bold new regular production collection. The Zenith Defy Revival A3691 is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Zenith Defy Revival A3691 stands at $6,900 USD as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.