Defy El Primero 21

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Defy El Primero 21



1969: Zenith made its stellar contribution to the chronograph saga with the El Primero (meaning ‘the first’ in Esperanto): an integrated automatic column-wheel mechanism beating at the high frequency of 36,000 vibrations/hour (5Hz) enabling it to reach chronometer- certified tenth of a second precision.

A new century brings new records based on the same DNA, as Zenith supercharges the performance of its speed machine. Defy El Primero 21 display hundredths of a second by means of a central hand and beats at a frequency of 50 Hz, making it ten times faster and more accurate than its illustrious predecessor. The first fruits of a star- studded renewal.


Precision, speed and reliability


The brand holds a record-breaking 2,333 chronometry prizes, the major difference being that this new generation has been developed with industrialization in mind right from the outset. A 32 mm diameter compared with 30 mm for its ancestor; 7.9 mm thick rather than the original 6.50 mm; 203 components as opposed to 278 in 1969.

The new model sees the introduction of all-new El Primero movement delivering enhanced performance and equipped with new regulating organs as well as a patented chronograph control mechanism. Chronometer-certified by the COSC, this contemporary calibre measuring hundredths of a second proudly proclaims its ambitions: to establish itself as the most accurate on the market. A distillation of modern technologies and traditional expertise, it combines Zenith’s rich past with cutting-edge horological breakthroughs.

Dual Architecture


Representing the aesthetic, visual and audible signature of the new Defy El Primero 21, its central chronograph hand performs a full turn of the dial in one second. This simple, immediate and direct reading of the hundredths provides an opportunity to grasp the reality of the second being measured.

The frequency reaches an impressive 360,000 vibrations/hour ensuring its hundredth of a second precision, and energy consumption is ten times higher than in the original. Other unique characteristic stems from a determination to avoid any risk of the chronograph interfering with the smooth running of the watch: the Defy El Primero 21 is therefore equipped with two independent “gear boxes”: one for the time and the other for the chronograph. Each has its own transmission and escapement system and there is no coupling clutch.

In tribute to its historical roots, the watch balance oscillates at the already high frequency of 5 Hz – the famous 36,000 vibrations/hour characterising El Primero chronographs since 1969. A precision instrument as it has always been, the automatic watch movement is chronometer-certified by the COSC and has a 50-hour power reserve, matched by a 50- minute autonomy for the hundredth of a second chronograph.



The exceptional physical and mechanical properties of the El Primero 21’s balance-spring with its graphene matrix render it insensitive to temperature and to the influence of magnetic fields, well beyond the known 15,000 Gauss standard, thereby guaranteeing peerless precision in all conditions of use.

Alongside its integrated construction, its double-chain architecture and the remarkable chronometric performance of its new balance-springs, the El Primero 21 movement features a patented chronograph-reset control mechanism composed of three heart pieces and an exclusive starter mechanism, ensuring simultaneous resetting of the seconds as well as tenths and hundredths of a second.

This new-generation twin-barrel El Primero drives central hours and minutes functions, small seconds at 9 o’clock, a 100th of a second central chronograph hand sweeping around a scale on the circumference, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, seconds and tenths of a second at 6 o’clock, and a percentage indication of the chronograph power-reserve at 12 o’clock.

Performed via a crown with two positions (for winding and time-setting), manual winding works in both directions: clockwise for the chronograph, counterclockwise for the watch. 25 turns of the crown are enough to obtain a 100% charge of the chronograph barrel. An oscillating weight with a star-shaped cut-out/A star-shaped open-worked oscillating weight handles one-way automatic winding of the watch function.


Centesimal signature


It proudly represents the tradition of a manufacture with longstanding expertise in chronometry, while incorporating the latest technological breakthroughs. This know-how is expressed through an impressive design – with a 44 mm-diameter case in grade 5 titanium inspired by the original El Primero models.

Epitomising the face of the new Zenith range, the openwork dial reveals an elegant contemporary décor. A star-tipped sweep-seconds hand, large luminescent baton-type hands and facetted hour-markers: all the key identifying characteristics of the El Primero are there, along with counters picking up two of the colours – blue and anthracite grey – gracing the legendary 1969 chronograph.

Defy El Primero 21: the signature of an authentic Swiss manufacture, and the promise of new innovations to come.








Exclusive dynamic signature of one rotation per second
1 escapement for the Watch (36,000 VpH – 5 Hz)
1 escapement for the Chronograph (360,000 VpH – 50Hz)
Insensitive to magnetic fields and temperature gradients
Double chain structure with 2 regulators

Movement: El Primero 9004, Automatic
Calibre 14 ¼”’ (Diameter: 32.80 mm)
Movement thickness: 7.9 mm
Components: 203
Jewels 53
Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)
Power-reserve: min. 50 hours
Finishes: Oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” motif


1/100th of a second Chronograph:
Chronograph power-reserve at 12 o’clock
Hours and minutes in the center
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
Central Chronograph hand
30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
60-second counter at 6 o’clock


Diameter: 44 mm
Opening diameter: 35.5 mm
Thickness: 14.50 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back: Transparent sapphire crystal
Material: Brushed titanium or Ceramicised aluminium
Water-resistance: 10 ATM
Dial: Openworked with two different-coloured counters or silver with black counters
Hour-markers: Rhodium-plated or ruthenium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova SLN C1
Hands:Rhodium-plated or ruthenium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova SLN C1


Bracelet: 27.00.2322.582 – Black Rubber with alligator leather coating

Buckle: 27.95.0022.930 – Titanium double folding clasp

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