In collaboration with Valencia-based artist Felipe Pantone, Zenith is launching a special edition DEFY Extreme chronograph watch.
The globally renowned Argentinian-Spanish optical artist already partnered with the iconic Swiss watchmaker on various projects. In 2020, he created a specifically designed tarpaulin the historical Manufacture’s façade. In 2021, Felipe Pantone designed a limited edition series of the DEFY 21, and a unique piece for the Only Watch 2021 that set a new record for a ZENITH watch sold at an auction.
ZENITH DEFY Extreme Felipe Pantone Limited Edition
Felipe Pantone always seek new ways of expressing his unique vision that merges the digital and physical across different formats. For this project, he once again pushed the ZENITH Manufacture to transfigure his artwork into a mechanical watch with the same exacting level of detail and optical play of light.
This time, the inspiration is Pantone’s “Planned Iridescence” series, where his bold use of colour is combined with metallic elements and mathematically conceived shapes and shaded to generate optical illusions that transcend the boundaries of the analogue and virtual worlds.
Crafted entirely in mirror-polished stainless steel, the faceted lines of the DEFY Extreme case take on a new sculptural context. The dodecagonal bezel as well as the chronograph’s pusher protectors are crafted in translucent blue YAS (yttrium aluminosilicate), a crystalline glass material comparable to synthetic sapphire. The four corners of the case are engraved with “FP#1”, a coded signature for “Felipe Pantone El Primero”.
Looking down at the dial, its sapphire elements appear translucent and metallic. Turn it ever so slightly towards the light, and a spark of colours and geometric patterns emerge.
Colour gradients and the interplay of light, patterns and transparency are part of the artist’s signature. ZENITH and Pantone sought to create a dial that retained the highly chromatic look typical of his work while incorporating elements that play with light in a most unexpected way.
Using a transparent sapphire disk as the dial’s base, an innovative physio-chemical process is used to create some hidden micro-engraved patterns that are just 100 nanometres deep. This ground-breaking process gives the sapphire an iridescent effect, reflecting different colours that shift with the angle of light while making the patterns visible.
The hour and minute hands as well as the movement use the same vibrant three-dimensional PVD technique as was prominently featured in the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone’s movement, reflecting a perfectly transitioning gradient of metallic rainbow tones. While this innovative process has been standardized, each set of hands will take on slightly different colours, essentially making each watch a unique work of art.
The chronograph’s minute counter features a graduated scale of colours, where each minute is segmented by a different tone. The chronograph’s second counter is done in very fine concentric black and white lines, mimicking the moiré effect.
The El Primero1/100th of a second automatic high-frequency chronograph beating within the watch has also received a distinctly Felipe Pantone makeover. The open star-shaped oscillating weight has the same gradient rainbow 3D PVD as the hands.
Offering a true 1/100th of a second measurement, the Zenith El Primero 21 calibre features an efficient construction of two independently driven regulating organs, beating at 50Hz and 5Hz for the chronograph function and timekeeping respectively.
Matching the blue transparent elements of the case, the DEFY Extreme Felipe Pantone comes with a translucent blue silicone strap. A fully polished steel bracelet as well as black Velcro strap are also included and can be easily swapped with the push of a button on the caseback.
The DEFY Extreme Felipe Pantone is delivered in a box that is shaped like an art book, with a design by Pantone modelled after his “PLANNED IRIDESCENCE” series.
It is adorned with the same iridescent effect as the watch’s dial, though using an entirely different method. The finishing touch is a transparent plexiglass hardcover, making the box a striking centre piece in its own right.
The DEFY Extreme Felipe Pantone is a limited edition of 100 pieces. It will be available exclusively at ZENITH physical and online boutiques from October 27 at 14:00 CET.
Model: Zenith Defy Extreme Felipe Pantone
El Primero 9004
1/100th of a second Chronograph movement
Exclusive dynamic signature of one rotation per second for the Chrono hand
1 escapement for the Watch (36,000 VpH – 5 Hz)
1 escapement for the Chronograph (360,000 VpH – 50 Hz)
Power-reserve: min. 60 hours
Finishes: Ruthenium colored main plate on movement + Special “Rainbow” PVD colored oscillating weight with satined finishings
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
1/100th of a second Chronograph: Central chronograph hand that makes one turn each second; 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock; 60-second counter at 6 o’clock; Chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o’clock
Material: Polished Stainless Steel & Blue YAS
Case diameter: 45 mm
Water-resistance: 20 ATM
Tinted sapphire with Felipe’s iridescent effect artwork pattern
Hour-markers: Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with Beige SuperLuminova
Hands: Rhodium-plated, faceted with “Rainbow” PVD coating & SLN C1
Transparent blue Rubber
2 straps included: 1 Rubber with folding buckle & 1 Velcro
Buckle: Stainless steel folding clasp