Time+Tide and Zenith introduced the Defy Classic Skeleton Night Surfer a little over two years ago. The standout piece was inspired by the starry night sky that greets surfers who stay out after sunset. Following that 2021 release, the collaborators have joined forces again. The Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton Night Surfer El Primero presents the same attractive aesthetic, only applied to Zenith’s Defy Skyline. As it turns out, it’s a look that works equally well on the Defy Skyline as on its predecessor. We had a chance to see the new Night Surfer up close.

When Time+Tide and Zenith presented the first Night Surfer model in 2021, it featured several firsts for the Defy Classic, including a microblasted titanium case and bracelet and a gradient dial. Two years later, the world looks different. The Defy Classic has made way for the Defy Skyline, introducing a different, more modern design. So, how does the Night Surfer aesthetic merge with the Defy Skyline? Let me put it like this: if you could get your hands on one of the 100 Defy Classic Night Surfers, you also need this one.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero

The Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton Night Surfer El Primero

Straight out of the gate, the Night Surfer version of the Defy Skyline looks different than any other models in the same family. Yes, it is based on the Defy Skyline Skeleton and has a familiar angular case with a 12-sided bezel and an integrated bracelet. However, its presence is noticeably different.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero

First of all, both the case and bracelet are crafted out of microblasted titanium. The material gives the watch its darker color and adds texture. On top of that, the light that hits it is only marginally reflected, resulting in a predominantly matte, textured presence. The case measures 41mm wide and 11.6mm thick, and it has a 100m water resistance rating ensured by the screw-down crown.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero

Contrasting the dark gray color of the case and bracelet is an open-worked liquid-blue gradient dial. Its structure features a large four-pointed star in the center, referring to a vintage Zenith logo. The star element is incorporated into the movement’s blue bridges and mainplate. It’s the same vibrant blue color that Time+Tide used for the Defy Classic Night Surfer.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero dial close-up

The gradient moves from a lighter blue color at the bottom of the dial to a darker blue color at the top. As mentioned, the color and gradient take inspiration from the Australian night sky that surfers witness if they stay in the water after sunset. The metallic blue color pops vividly against the microblasted titanium, making the dial the focal point of the watch.

The intricacies of the open-worked dial

The original Night Surfer featured an applied Zenith star logo in Super-LumiNova. This new model, however, highlights the entire dial-defining four-pointed star with luminescent lines. As a result, the watch comes to life in the dark when the star lights up. As you can see, the dial also features a running 1/10th-of-a-second indicator at 6 o’clock. It is executed in dark gray to match the case material and contrast the dial.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero lume

The faceted hands and indices have a ruthenium plating and an application of Super-LumiNova. They make reading the time easy against the skeletonized blue background and in the dark.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero movement

Sitting behind the open-worked dial sits Zenith’s in-house El Primero 3620 SK movement. This automatic caliber operates at 36,000vph and provides a 60-hour power reserve. If you turn the watch around, you’ll see gorgeous blue oscillating weight and bridges with a deeply brushed satin finish.

The vibrant blue color dominates the dial side and the case back. Combined with the dark gray color, it is a fitting watch for nighttime surf sessions.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero lifestyle

Wearing the Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton Night Surfer El Primero

Once on the wrist, the stealthy color of the case and bracelet dominate the overall presence. The intricacies reveal themselves only when you zoom in on the technical-looking dial. As a result, the wearing experience is visually layered. While I am generally not a big fan of skeletonized dials, this new Night Surfer is a great exception. On top of that, it fits the surfing story well. I would want to wear a sporty, technical watch when surfing, so this is the perfect tool for the job.

Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero wrist shot

The lightweight construction of this watch is also impressive, especially considering how substantial it looks. The titanium in combination with the slim profile and comfortable bracelet make for a very easy-to-wear piece.

The titanium bracelet wraps itself nicely around the wrist, and the butterfly clasp is super easy to use thanks to the push-button release. As you would expect, it is a watch that, thanks to its 41mm size and integrated bracelet, has a lot of wrist presence.

People with smaller wrists might prefer the smaller Defy Skyline models, but the 41mm size is perfect for my 19cm (7.5″) wrist. And though not everyone is a fan of the 1/10th-of-a-second indicator, I found it a joy to watch that little hand make its rounds over the dark gray ring within the technical blue backdrop.

The Defy Skyline Night Surfer El Primero — Final thoughts and pricing

I love that Time+Tide and Zenith decided to keep the aesthetic of the Night Surfer alive for this new collaboration. As a result, the new Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton Night Surfer El Primero is a great stand-alone release. But as said, if I had the first model, I would get this new one to create a nice set of Night Surfers.

The watch comes with an extra blue rubber strap with a starry-sky pattern and folding clasp. Zenith will produce 200 pieces of this new limited edition, which will be available through Time+Tide’s online store and Zenith’s online boutique for CHF 11,900. That will buy you a unique Zenith Defy Skyline with a great story inspired by Time+Tide’s Australian roots.

For more information, visit the Time+Tide online store or the official Zenith website. Let us know in the comments section what you think of this new collaborative effort.

Watch specifications

Defy Skyline Skeleton Night Surfer El Primero
Open-worked four-pointed star in gradient blue with Super-LumiNova accent lines, applied ruthenium-plated indices with Super-LumiNova filling, and gray 1/10th-of-a-second indicator
Case Material
Microblasted titanium
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × 46mm (length) × 11.6mm (thickness)
Case Back
Microblased titanium with sapphire display
Zenith El Primero 3620 SK — skeletonized in-house caliber, automatic and hand winding, 36,000vph frequency, 60-hour power reserve, 30 jewels
Water Resistance
100m (10 ATM)
Microblasted titanium integrated H-link bracelet and blue rubber strap, both with butterfly clasp
Time (hour and minutes) with 1/10th-of-a-second counter at 6 o'clock
CHF 11,900
Special Note(s)
Limited to 200 pieces