What if you like the looks of the angular Zenith Defy Skyline with its 12-sided bezel, but the running 1/10th-of-a-second indicator on the dial makes you nervous? The Defy Skyline Tourbillon with its 60-second tourbillon at 6 o’clock is the way to go. Yes, it’s a pricey alternative, but before we dismiss this Defy on price, let’s take a look at the two versions that Zenith has concocted. There’s a blue-dial steel version that comes on a bracelet and a color-matching rubber strap, and there’s another in black ceramic that also comes on a bracelet and a rubber strap.

Let’s not regurgitate the origins of the tourbillon here, but let’s look at Zenith’s latest iteration of the 18th-century invention. The new El Primero 3630 caliber beats at a 36,000vph (5Hz) frequency and has a power reserve of about 60 hours. This automatic movement is outfitted with an open-worked oscillating weight showing a brushed finish. The sapphire-equipped case back makes it possible to observe the rotor in action. What you will also notice are the Côtes de Genève stripes on the bridges, designed in a sunray pattern that darts out of the tourbillon. On the dial side, the starry-sky pattern, the hour and minute hands, and, most of all, the 60-second tourbillon draw attention.


The Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon in black or blue

The miniature spectacle at 6 o’clock is a historical and comforting one. The spinning tourbillon cage with 56 components puts you in a Haute Horlogerie state of mind — more than, for instance, the more casual Time+Tide × Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton Night Surfer El Primero ever could. That said, despite the tourbillon, the Defy Skyline Tourbillon has GADA qualities. It doesn’t look like an over-the-top, complicated watch. There’s a blue version in steel and a black one in ceramic. The blue version seems to be the more classic yet sporty one of the two. In black ceramic, the watch looks more urban and very much in touch with the latest casual luxury fashion.

Both the steel and the ceramic Defy Skyline Tourbillon have a faceted, geometric 41mm case. We have no official word on the thickness and lug-to-lug length yet. However, we can guess that the latter is around 47mm, just like the standard 41mm Skyline. We also do know that the case of both watches is water resistant to 100 meters. The front shows a new sunray-patterned metallic dial with an engraved starry sky. This particular motif is a new design for the Skyline Tourbillon, and its job is to accentuate the high-frequency tourbillon mechanism. The applied markers and hands outfitted with Super-LumiNova SLN C1 add contrast to the dial.

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon

On the blue dial of the steel watch, there are rhodium-plated applied indices. For the black ceramic version, though, Zenith decided on rose-gold-plated indices. Finally, through the opening, we can see the tourbillon cage in the shape of an open four-pointed star turning. The mechanical “whirlwind” spins under a finely mirror-polished bridge with sharp bevels.

Defy Skyline Tourbillon

Fast swapping from steel or ceramic to rubber

Like all Defy Skyline watches, the new Tourbillon comes with both a bracelet and a strap. You get a steel or black ceramic bracelet and a second strap in blue or black rubber with a butterfly clasp. Even better, you don’t need any tools to change from the bracelet to the strap and back. Removing either is as simple as pushing a button. The steel Defy Skyline Tourbillon (ref. 03.9300.3630/51.I001) has a price of CHF 55,000 / €59,600 / US$55,300. The black ceramic version (ref. 49.9300.3630/21.I001) will set you back CHF 65,000 / €70,400 / US$65,400.

For more information about both versions of the Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon, please visit the brand’s official website.

Watch specifications

Defy Skyline Tourbillon
03.9300.3630/51.I001 (steel) / 49.9300.3630/21.I001 (ceramic)
Blue/black metallic dial with sunray pattern, engraved star motif, and applied rhodium/rose-gold-plated applied indices with Super-LumiNova
Case Material
Stainless steel/black ceramic with brushed finish and polished facets
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × ~47mm (lug-to-lug)
Case Back
Stainless steel/ceramic with sapphire crystal, affixed with hex-head screws
Zenith El Primero 3630: in-house tourbillon caliber, automatic with hand winding, 36,000vph frequency, ~60-hour power reserve, 34 jewels, 56-component tourbillon cage
Water Resistance
10 ATM (10m0m)
Integrated quick-release stainless steel/ceramic H-link bracelet with butterfly clasp and integrated quick-release blue/black rubber strap with butterfly clasp
Time only (hours, minutes, small seconds via tourbillon)
CHF 55,000 / €59,600 / US$55,300 (steel) or CHF 65,000 / €70,400 / US$65,400 (ceramic)