Zenith DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone Limited Edition

Zenith presents DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone, a limited edition chronograph watch created in partnership with Argentinean-Spanish contemporary artist Felipe Pantone. Limited to 100 pieces, this is a colourful interpretation of Zenith’s most advanced chronograph to date.

Zenith and Felipe Pantone began their collaboration in 2020, when the Manufacture offered the façade of its main building as a canvas to the contemporary artist.

The DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is all about playing with frequencies – visually and mechanically. With its 1/100th of a second El Primero 21 chronograph movement beating at an extremely high frequency of 360’000 vibrations per hour for unrivalled precision, the DEFY 21 is a logical choice of canvas onto which Felipe Pantone could express his “visible spectrum concept”, where all the detectable frequencies of light and its refracted colours come into play with the highest-frequency chronograph in production.

Just as Felipe Pantone constantly explores novel techniques and tools to create his bold works of art, Zenith pushed the boundaries of innovation when it came to executing Felipe Pantone’s version of the DEFY 21 – to the extent of having to develop new techniques previously unheard of in watchmaking.

This new timepiece boasts striking multi-coloured bridges. Using the principal of interference colours, the coating on the bridges reflects a gradient of metallic rainbow tones.

Requiring months of trials and finding the appropriate solution with specialists to achieve this rainbow effect, the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is the first watch to ever use this innovative kind of three-dimensional PVD with silicon particles as a surface treatment on a movement to produce a spectrum of perfectly transitioning colours. While the process has been standardized, each piece will take on slightly different colours, essentially becoming a unique work of art.

The central hour and minute hands take on an intentionally distorted look resembling the lightning bolts that figure in much of Pantone’s work with a rainbow gradient of colours applied through the same state-of-the-art process as the movement’s bridges.

Both the unusual shape and scale of the hands as well as the precise application of the gradient PVD so that the colours transition perfectly between the different segments of the hands proved far more challenging to create than anyone could have anticipated. But the engineers at Zenith refused to compromise even the littlest details. In the process, the development of this collaborative edition allowed Zenith to think out of the box and accomplish several world-firsts in watchmaking.

The moiré optical effect produced by thin alternating white and black bands is a recurring theme in Felipe Pantone’s paintings and sculptures, which has been miniaturized and reproduced on the top bridges and portions of the dial of the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone, using fine laser-engraving and lacquering techniques so precise that they provide an optical illusion of fluidic movement in the contrast of the stripes. The open dial is no less dynamic, with a mix of gradient and block colours on the markers and counters.

The external parts of the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone case have been revisited by Felipe Pantone for a dynamic overhaul. The black ceramic DEFY 21 features a grid pattern engraved on the bezel and “FP #1” engraved on the four corners of the case, denoting “Felipe Pantone El Primero”. Allowing the various details of the chromatic dial and movement to stand out, the artist opted for a black textured rubber strap with a warped grid motif.

For those who prefer an even bolder look that matches the striking tones of the dial and movement, a second rubber strap is offered, with a central insert that goes from dark grey to a flash of all the colours in the spectrum, depending on the angle of light. The colours are not actually embedded in the strap, but are the result of iridescence caused by the surface of the material and how it reflects light.

The DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone comes in a presentation box that mimics a hardcover book. On its cover is a miniaturized painting that Felipe Pantone created exclusively for this special series, complete with a signed certificate.

The DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is available from March 15 2021 at Zenith Boutiques around the world as well as on the Zenith online shop.

Technical details

Reference: 49.9008.9004/49.R782

El Primero 9004 automatic
Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)
1/100th of a second Chronograph movement
Exclusive dynamic signature of one rotation per second
1 escapement for the Watch (36,000 VpH – 5 Hz)
1 escapement for the Chronograph (360,000 VpH – 50 Hz)
Power reserve: min. 50 hours

1/100th of a second chronograph functions
Chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o’clock
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o’clock, Central chronograph hand, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 60-second counter at 6 o’clock

Movement finishes
Rainbow” PVD-coated bridges
Black laser engraved main plate on movement.
Special black colored oscillating weight with satined finishings

Material: Black ceramic
Water resistance: 10 ATM

Hour markers: Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with “Rainbow” varnish
Hands: Rhodium-plated, faceted and “Rainbow” PVD coated

Black Rubber
Titanium double folding clasp with black DLC coating
A second rubber strap is offered with a central insert that goes from dark grey to a flash of all the colours in the spectrum, depending on the angle of light as a result of iridescence caused by the surface of the material and how it reflects light

Chronometer certified

Limited edition of 100 pieces

18,900 CHF

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