During Watches & Wonders last year, Zenith graced us with the new Defy Extreme. The most extreme Defy model was not just a tour de force in materials and design. The main attraction was, without a doubt, the 1/100th of a second automatic high-frequency chronograph movement. We had the pleasure of witnessing one of the models from up close. Besides the amazing movement, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the Defy Extreme was with its titanium case and bracelet. Now the brand makes the watch even lighter by releasing the Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon.

I love Zenith because the brand shows great variety in its collections. The biggest joy for me is in the Chronomaster line, and especially the Revival models are personal favorites. Besides that, the Defy collection is another line that has interesting models like the Defy Classic and the Defy 21. When Zenith introduced the Defy Extreme line, we saw a new aesthetic that was even bolder and more extreme. But somehow, it felt like a logical next step for the Defy line. And you know that Zenith would not give us a watch that merely looks the part. Technologically, the Defy Extreme also gave us something to lust after with the great El Primero caliber 9004.

Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon

A next step for the Defy Extreme line is using new materials that fit the modern aesthetic of the watch. But it doesn’t just stop with the all-new carbon case. The brand also introduces a new colorful skeletonized dial. Zenith’s partnership with Extreme E racing inspired the colors for the dial. Extreme E is an international off-road racing series for electric SUV vehicles. Zenith is both the official timekeeper and a founding partner of the series. In addition, the Defy Extreme comes with three different straps that keep the total weight of the watch low. As a result, this is the lightest addition to the line-up yet.

The Defy Extreme Carbon features a 45mm carbon case that is 15.4mm thick and 200 meters water-resistant. The pushers, the crown, and the inner portion of the bezel are also fashioned in the same carbon material. The pusher protectors and the rim of the 12-sided bezel are made of microblasted titanium. The combination of materials works very well with the case design. It ensures that the watch has an ultra-technical look that fits the Defy Extreme well. The look also gets an injection of color in the chronograph counters for the Defy Extreme Carbon. They are executed in bright blue, green, and white, and the hands feature lume in those respective colors. You will find the 1/100th of a second chronograph scale on the outside of the open dial. It features bright yellow print for an extra hint of color.

Zenith Caliber 9004

If you turn the watch around, you will be greeted by the black star-shaped oscillating weight of Zenith’s caliber 9004. We have also seen this spectacular movement in the previously released Defy Extreme models. It’s what makes this watch even more special and sets it apart from competitors in the same field. As Brandon explained in his review of the titanium Defy Extreme, the movement features two separate escapements with dedicated barrels. The first is used for standard timekeeping and the second for the chronograph. On top of that, the caliber also runs at two different frequencies.

For the general timekeeping functions, the movement uses the familiar El Primero frequency of 36,000vph. The chronograph, however, operates at a bonkers 360,000vph. It makes it possible to accurately measure elapsed time to 1/100th of a second. From experience, I can say that seeing the chronograph in action is truly spectacular. The chronograph hand flies around the dial in exactly one second. It is the perfect extreme complication that fits the character and the purpose of this extreme chronograph.

Pricing and availability

The Defy Extreme Carbon comes with three different straps, which the owner can swap easily thanks to a quick-change system. The first is a black textured rubber strap with a microblasted titanium folding buckle. The second is a bright red textured rubber strap with a carbon fiber buckle. The last one is a black Velcro strap with a carbon fiber buckle.

The Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon will be available for CHF 24,900. It’s a significant step up from the CHF 17,900 for the titanium version with a titanium bracelet. But the carbon case adds a great dimension in terms of color and materials. On top of that, it makes the Defy Extreme still a lot more affordable than some of its competitors from Hublot or Audemars Piguet. For me, the Defy Extreme Carbon is the most attractive option, along with the limited edition Defy Extreme Desert that looks amazing on the sand-colored rubber strap. I, for one, can’t wait to find out how good it is in its new carbon form.

To find out more, visit the official Zenith website.