It Brings Me Great Pleasure to Report That Zenith Has a Serious Case of the Blues

The Swiss watch experts just released an "Ultrablue" iteration of the Defy El Primero 21 chronograph.

With the digital Geneva Watches and Wonders show looming (it starts on April 7), the watch market is currently akin to that weird thing that happens just before a tsunami, when all the water gets sucked out to sea, leaving the seabed bare. Not a watch in sight. The tsunami comes with a wave of novelties and innovations from the everyday to the sublime. We will be here, unveiling all the new offerings from the great and the good. But for now, most brands are keeping their cards close to their chests. One bright spot, however, is the Zenith Defy 21 Ultrablue, released recently.

The Defy 21 Ultrablue features a star-shaped rotor in (you guessed it!) blue.

Photo by Zenith.

Zenith is a brand with a solid history in functional, precise, yet elegant tool watches. But it also has a penchant for thinking outside the box in terms of design. The Ultrablue is so named not because it has a blue dial or anything basic like that. In fact, it has no main dial at all. Instead, "Ultrablue" refers to the way the steel El Primero 9004 movement itself has been PVD treated, a process that deposits a layer of vaporized metal in a different color (usually black) on the steel.


Photo by Zenith.

This time, the color is...well, you know. In contrast, the 44mm case in micro-blasted titanium and the gray sub dials are so matte and low-key they throw the eye into the partially skeletonized center of the watch. The vibe is further emphasized in the blue inset rubber strap molded to look like woven Cordura.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Ultrablue

Photo by Zenith.
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This being a Zenith, it’s not only about looks. The El Primero 9004 movement is a descendant of the A386, the first chronograph to be powered by an automatic movement. This newer iteration, aside from some serious bonafides on the pedigree front, can measure time to one one-hundredth of a second using the main second hand, which whooshes completely around the dial in a single second. What to measure is up to you, but this much is certain: It gives the watch great show-and-tell potential next time you’re in a bar with your mates.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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About The Author
Nick Sullivan
Nick Sullivan is Creative Director at Esquire, where he served as Fashion Director from 2004 until 2019. Prior to that, he relocated from London with his young family to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. He has styled and art directed countless fashion and cover stories for both Esquire and Big Black Book (which he helped found in 2006) in exotic, uncomfortable, and occasionally unfeasibly cold locations. He also writes extensively about men's style, accessories, and watches. He describes his style as elegantly disheveled.
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