Zenith is writing its future and starting a new chapter in the history of the Swiss watch industry. Manufacture Zenith has been making mechanical watches for 152 years and currently has the capacity to produce around 40 different movements (featuring various shapes and equipped with complications), reflecting its exceptional expertise. Now, Swiss watchmaker revealed its new Defy Lab, which it claims is “the world’s most accurate mechanical watch” according to a press release.
Defy Lab introduces a breakthrough technology with the Zenith Oscillator, a monolithic organ made of monocrystalline silicon which replaces the sprung balance and the 30 or so components of a standard regulating organ.
Defy Lab is both an evolution and an improvement on the balance and hairspring regulator invented in January 1675 by the scientist Christiaan Huygens. This advance constitutes an outright challenge to the fundamental operating principle of mechanical watches.
To achieve this performance, the timepiece is equipped with a single element oscillator that measures just 0.5 mm in thickness, replacing the traditional balance-and-spring assembly. The Defy Lab beats at a frequency of 15 Hz with an amplitude of +/- 6 degrees – three times the frequency of the iconic Zenith El Primero movement. This gives it exceptional accuracy, with a daily rate precise to just 0.3 seconds, and a 60-hour power reserve. Insensitive to temperature gradients, gravity and magnetic fields, the Defy Lab maintains the same degree of precision for 95% of its power reserve. This is also the first watch with a case made from Aeronith, an aluminum composite lighter than titanium, aluminum or carbon fiber.
The accuracy of mechanical watches enters a new dimension with this innovative watch from the Swiss manufacture. The watch has been awarded triple certification: chronometer certification from the Besançon Observatory on behalf of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, displayed in the viper’s head stamp; for thermal behavior, the ISO-3159 standard spectrum has been broadened; and the watch meets ISO-764 magnetic criteria.
The first ten Zenith Defy Lab watches (10 different versions, each is different) are sold in an exceptional collector’s gift box. All are already pre-sold, but it is expected to see production in 2018. It is priced at 29,900 Swiss francs, which works out to about $31,000 USD at current exchange rates.