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Zenith - Defy Lab, world’s most accurate mechanical watch

For todays’s announcement of the new Defy Lab, Zenith used a bold statement which is generating great expectations: “Zenith is writing its future and starting a new chapter in the history of the Swiss watch industry”.

The inventor of the fast beating (5Hz) El Primero automatic chronograph, a Swiss watchmaking breakthrough introduced in 1969, presented the Defy Lab as nothing less than the world’s most accurate mechanical watch.



Let’s discover the new watch and the revolutionary technology behind it.

For the first time in the history of watchmaking, the principle of the coupled balance and hairspring (sprung balance) that Christiaan Huygens presented to the French Royal Academy of Sciences in 1675 is challenged by a technology that is radically new in terms of performance, aesthetic impact and simplicity.

With the Defy Lab, Zenith introduces the ZO 342 Calibre (ZO stands for Zenith Oscillator), a new movement measuring 32.8 mm in diameter and 8.13 mm thick which reveals its distinctive nature at first glance.

The Zenith Oscillator appears beneath the dial: a monolithic organ made of monocrystalline silicon coated with a layer of silicon oxide (with details finer than a human hair) replaces the sprung balance. The 30 or so components of a standard regulating organ are thus replaced by a single element measuring just 0.5 mm thick (compared with the usual 5 mm). Its flexible geometry




A slide comparing the Zenith Oscillator with a traditional regulating organ

The absence of conventional mechanical couplings eliminates contact, friction, wear, slack, lubrication, assemblies and dispersions. The wheel replacing the escape wheel has a specific design and its cycle does not correspond to the traditional behaviour of a Swiss lever escapement. It is made of silicon showing superficial oxidation. Make sure to watch the video at the end of the article for a better understanding of how the oscillator works.

Above and below, the high-tech process for the production of the Zenith Oscillator made of monocrystalline silicon 


The Zenith Oscillator beats at a frequency of 15 Hz (108,000 vibrations per hour) frequency (three times higher than that of the historical El Primero movement) with an amplitude of +/- 6 degrees, as against the more than 300 degrees of a conventional system.



Thanks to the reduced energy consumption, the 60-hour power reserve is 10% more than that of the El Primero – which is especially remarkable considering a three times higher frequency.

Also the accuracy is about 10 times higher with a mean daily rate precise to within just 0.3 seconds. As a comparison, one of the criteria for COSC “chronometer” certification is an average daily rate on the first ten days of testing from -4 seconds to +6 seconds, meaning up to 10 seconds per day.

Moreover, the new oscillator maintains the same degree of precision for 95% of its power reserve and it is insensitive to temperature gradients, gravity and magnetic fields.

Only ten pieces of the Zenith Defy Lab were produced, each of them different as shown in the picture below.


Their 44 mm x 14.5 mm round cases are crafted from Aeronith, the world’s lightest material.

Made of aluminium foam and a special polymer, this hybrid material features a density of just 1.6 kg/dm3, which is 2.7 times lighter than titanium, 1.7 times lighter than aluminium and 10% lighter than carbon fibre.


Invented by the LVMH Watch Division Research & Development Department (a patent has been filed), Aeronith is produced using an exclusive high-tech process which begins with heating aluminium - Alu 6082 - to melting point. It is then poured into a mould where a special procedure transforms it into an open-pore metal foam. These interspaces are then filled with an extremely light special polymer resistant to ultra-violet rays and anti-allergenic when in contact with the skin. The resulting material is cooled and becomes extremely light and highly resistant while minimising its density and thus its weight. Its machining is as easy as with traditional precious metals.



Water resistant to 50 metres / 165 feet, the Zenith Defy Lab is matched to a rubber strap with alligator leather coating secured to the wrist by a titanium double folding clasp.


After the 10 inaugural Defy Lab timepieces, all of them pre-sold to collectors at the price of Swiss Francs 29,900 each, serial production of the new breakthrough technology combined to a new original design is the next goal. zenith-watches.com







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Time and Watches: Zenith - Defy Lab, world’s most accurate mechanical watch
Zenith - Defy Lab, world’s most accurate mechanical watch
Zenith Defy Lab, world’s most accurate mechanical watch. For todays’s announcement of the new Defy Lab, Zenith used a bold statement which is generating great expectations: “Zenith is writing its future and starting a new chapter in the history of the Swiss watch industry”. With the Defy Lab, Zenith introduces the ZO 342 Calibre (ZO stands for Zenith Oscillator). The Zenith Oscillator appears beneath the dial: a monolithic organ made of monocrystalline silicon coated with a layer of silicon oxide. Only ten pieces of the Zenith Defy Lab were produced. Their 44 mm x 14.5 mm round cases are crafted from Aeronith, the world’s lightest material. After the 10 inaugural Defy Lab timepieces, all of them pre-sold to collectors at the price of Swiss Francs 29,900 each, serial production of the new breakthrough technology combined to a new original design is the next goal. Zenith watches. Zenith Defy Lab.
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Oj2nloAB-p8/Wbho01AaDTI/AAAAAAAAaGI/SSNL9qkgDzYHEzE9dyQPld9qookohnE3ACLcBGAs/s640/Zenith-Defy-Lab.jpg
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Time and Watches
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