Skeletonised watches never fail to capture the imagination – but not all are made equal (or rather, some are more tastefully executed than others). Zenith’s latest skeletonised creation, however, ticks all the boxes.
Zenith only released the Defy Skyline last year, and it’s already proven to be one of the brand’s biggest hits. A bold new take on the integrated luxury sports watch, its most unique feature is its 1/10th of a second indicator at 9 o’clock – a superficially useless yet fun complication that cleverly hints at the El Primero movement that powers the watch.
The Defy Skyline is a good-looking watch, but that 1/10th of a second indicator always bugged me a bit. Yes, it’s clever that it’s where one of the subdials would be on an El Primero chronograph, but it always made the watch feel a bit too asymmetrical; a bit too unbalanced.
The new Defy Skyline Skeleton, launched at LVMH Watch Week 2023, solves that ‘problem’. It also happens to be one of the best executions of skeletonisation on the market.
WATCH a close-up of the new Defy Skyline Skeleton below, with a standard Defy Skyline for comparison.
First things first. Where before its El Primero movement – that high-beat movement that Zenith is so famous for – was merely hinted at, it’s now on full display. The Defy Skyline Skeleton’s El Primero 3620 SK movement is perfectly aesthetically balanced, giving just enough away so you don’t have that weird sensation of looking through the watch (and just seeing wrist hair, eurgh).
That contentious yet unique 1/10th of a second indicator has now been moved to 6 o’clock, and Zenith has done away with a date wheel. Additionally, keen-eyed observers will also notice that the Defy Skyline Skeleton’s baseplate has now been changed to a four-pointed design, as opposed to the five-pointed design of the Defy Classic.
These changes make the Defy Skyline Skeleton more symmetrical than its non-skeletonised siblings and far easier on the eye, in my opinion. The four-pointed design might not match the five-pointed Zenith star logo but I like how substantial it looks.
Like its non-skeletonised brethren, it comes mounted on an integrated stainless steel bracelet. However, a colour-matched rubber strap comes with the watch as standard – and it’s a cinch swapping out one for the other thanks to Zenith’s easy-to-use quick-change system.
A 60-hour power reserve, screw-down crown and 100m of water resistance help make it more practical than the vast majority of skeletonised watches. It’s available in either black or blue, although I reckon the blue (which is a signature colour for Zenith) is the pick of the two.
I’ve never been a huge fan of skeletonised watches – I think they’re often a bit too busy or blingy – but I’m a big fan of the Defy Skyline Skeleton. It’s undeniably eye-catching and sporty, but it’s also strangely understated. You could even wear it as a dress watch. Zenith has struck the perfect balance between visual drama and versatility. It’s damn tasteful, is what it is.
In short, I think it’s easily one of the best releases from LVMH Watch Week 2023 and a watch that really ought to be front of mind for any serious watch shopper this year. Find out more about the Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton here.