New Zenith Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon portends the Future of Chronographs

Introduced in 2017, the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 was an update on the groundbreaking Striking 10th and the new high frequency chronograph was capable of measuring hundredths of a second, giving Zenith the horological kudos to carry the new slogan, “the future of Swiss watchmaking“. In Baselworld 2019, the new Zenith Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon expands the chronograph genre with a two independent tourbillon escapements: one keeping exceptional chronometry for the chronograph thanks to ultra high frequency and driving the 1/100th second display while the other keeps precision for basic timekeeping.

Like the legendary high frequency 36,000 vph El Primero which set the standard for modern chronographs 50 years ago, the new Zenith Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon follows in the same vein of time measuring excellence, the world’s first serially produced hundredth of a second mechanical chronograph, the Defy 21. For 2019, the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon offers an unprecedented combination of high horology complications – tourbillon and 1/100th of a second chronograph.

While double tourbillons have been in around in the watch industry for almost 10 years now, the Defy Double Tourbillon is a first for Zenith – the new El Primero 9020 calibre is the heir to the legendary 1969 El Primero, featuring two independently operating tourbillon escapements, the one at 10 o’clock regulates chronograph function and indicates hundredths of a second; the horological coup de gras which allows this peerless level of precision is the ultra high frequency, 50 Hz or 360,000 vph tourbillon escapement. At 10 times the frequency of the original Zenith El Primero, the tourbillon carriage of the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon performs a complete rotation every five seconds, making it the fastest in the world.

Meanwhile, the secondary tourbillon at 8 o’clock operates at 5 Hz or 36,000 vph, performing a full rotation in a minute, regulating basic timekeeping function of hours, minutes and seconds. Mirroring the double tourbillon escapements, two individual barrels, one dedicated to chronograph functionality and the other for timekeeping, provides 50 minutes run time for chronograph operation – a testament to just how energy draining it is to keep a 1/100th of a second pace – handily, the Le Locle manufacture has included a chronograph power-reserve indicator at 12 o’clock while the other, drives timekeeping for 60 hours. The latest Zenith Chronograph to assume mantle of “world’s most precise” is chronometer-certified by the independent body, TimeLab.

Futuristic inside and out, the new Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon showcases its powerful mechanism with an openworked dial punctuated in two-tones, exhibiting the El Primero 9020 and also allow the owner to watch the gearwork engage when he activates the chronograph functions. Once he manages to take his eyes of the mesmerising ballet of spinning wheels, he can partake of the chamfered edges and polished angles of the decorated movement. Amazingly, Zenith’s latest exemplar of high horology is water resistant to 100 metres, a rarity for tourbillons, much less double tourbillon chronographs.

Limited Edition Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon Price and Specs

Movement Automatic El Primero 9020 with 50 hours power reserve
Case 46mm platinum case with 100 metres water resistance
Strap Leather
Price TBA

10 Limited Editions for platinum and 50 Limited Editions for Black Carbon