Dating from the very end of the 1960s the Zenith Defy 28,800 is the very definition of “massive”; hewn from a solid block of stainless steel it was sold as “The Safe of Time” in the Italian market. Whilst it doesn’t have a revolving bezel it is as waterproof as any dive watch of the era, being safe down to 300m; 50% deeper than the Rolex Submariner 1680.
The case is a simple tonneau shape with a most unusual 14 sided screwed bezel; it’s not the shape of the case which makes it stand out, rather it’s the sheer heft of the piece and the feeling of solidity about it which make such an impression. Case number 288 E 845, model number A 7682.
The Defy was launched at the same time as the El Primero and has always been overshadowed by its sibling, although a few El Primero movements were fitted to Defy cases; the El Primero was distinguished by its high beat (36,000 bph) automatic movement, which also overshadowed the Defy’s new slightly lower beat (28,800 bph) 2563 PC movement. But the movement in the defy had one ‘trick’ up its sleeve which was unique; the movement was suspended in a synthetic rubber ring which isolated it from shocks applied to the case.
The dial is amazing, there were three colours available; burgundy, tobacco brown and this one, turquoise. But it isn’t just the colour, it is also the way it is applied, in a vignette style, where it gets darker the closer it gets to the edges of the dial. The huge square three-dimensional hour markers are also unique to the Defy, being fluted on their top surface. The hands are also oversized with heavy luminous inserts, even in the seconds hand, although there is no luminous on the dial. There is a date window at 4:30, but please note that the date is not quickset.
The case is 85%, whilst the movement & dial are both 90%.
Diameter 37.5mm; Lug-to-Lug 45.3mm; Height 13.6mm. It takes a 22mm strap and an aftermarket Oyster style bracelet is fitted.
£950.00 ($approx. $1,300.00 US)