Earlier this year, Zenith released a collection of bold, brawny chronographs that were designed to make a serious statement on the wrist. The Defy Extreme collection was a strong move by the brand, almost as an antidote to other vintage-inspired releases, bringing the high-frequency El Primero movement to the pointy end of contemporary chronograph design. Now, the collection has a new member added to the family, in the collaborative Zenith Defy Extreme Desert.
Created in partnership with nature photographer Kourosh Keynejad, it’s the first limited edition of its kind from Zenith, as well as being one that is directly inspired by nature. As a direct reference to Keynejad’s interest in the desert landscapes of North America, speciicically the Great Basin, the Mojave, the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, the watch will also be launched with a series of limited run photographic prints from Keynejad.
The watch itself is similar in many ways to the rest of the Zenith Defy Extreme collection, featuring a 45mm titanium case, 200m of water resistance and arriving with the option of either a matching titanium bracelet or a comfortable khaki rubber strap. Also similar to the rest of the collection is the Zenith El Primero 9004 caliber powering the watch, which has 50 hours of power reserve and a chronograph function that can measure 1/100th of a second.
Where the Zenith Defy Extreme Desert is different is the desert inspired colour scheme, with khaki chronograph subdials the same shade as the rubber strap. In a first from Zenith, the dodecagon shaped bezel and chronograph pusher protectors are made from the Falcon’s Eye gemstone, which is a misty blue-grey with threads of brown throughout.
This is a relatively unusual use of stone decoration by Zenith, with stone typically reserved to be used as a dial material, rather than to highlight technical elements of the case. But regardless of how unusual it is, the effect is sensational, immediately offering a mineral window into the inspiration of the watch and the visual interests of Kourosh Keynejad as a photographer.
“When Zenith approached me with the idea for a collaboration, I couldn’t have thought of a better fit,” Keynejad explained in an interview with Wallpaper. “Precision of time and light are key to a great photograph. With optimal planning and the flawless engineering of Zenith watches, I never miss my moment.”
The new Zenith Defy Extreme Desert is a limited edition of just 50 pieces, with an RRP of $31,700.