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Evolution of the Zenith Oscillator

DEFYING WATCHMAKING CONVENTIONS AGAIN, THE ZENITH DEFY INVENTOR MARKS A PERFECT EVOLUTION OF THE ZENITH DEFY LAB

DEFYING WATCHMAKING CONVENTIONS AGAIN, THE ZENITH DEFY INVENTOR MARKS A PERFECT EVOLUTION OF THE ZENITH DEFY LAB

For centuries, the way clocks and timepieces are regulated has never changed. The principal of the spring balance remains an exclusive and vital component of the mechanical watch. Attached to the balance wheel of a mechanical timepiece, the thin coiled spring causes the balance wheel to oscillate with a resonant frequency when the timepiece is running. This ultimately controls the speed at which the gears of the watch rotate resulting in the rate of movement of the hands.

Despite years of fine-tweaking, the spring balance essential remains the very heart of the timepiece. However in 2017, Zenith challenged convention with the reveal of the Zenith Defy Lab, which essentially re-invented the balance and hairspring principle created by Christiaan Huygens in 1675. An innovation of mechanical watch making, Zenith replaced the classic swiss anchor, hairspring and balance wheel with a monolithic silicon oscillator.

An Innovation of Time Keeping

From the moment of its big reveal at Baselworld 2017, the watch making community immediately sat up and took notice of this marvel of ingenuity as it represented one of the biggest advancements in modern watchmaking. The single piece, ultra-thin Zenith Oscillator control system consists of mono-crystalline silicon with movements that boasts high frequency and low amplitude properties for improved precision and accuracy.

The mechanism allowed Zenith to replace approximately 30 parts including the balance wheel, the balance spring, screws and inertia weights. As these parts required assembly, adjustment, setting and lubrication, Zenith eliminated contact, friction, wear, lubrication, and dispersions from the oscillator resulting in a more efficient process of time keeping. The added benefit of silicon also made the movement virtually impervious to temperature changes, gravity, and magnetic fields.

The Zenith Defy was a game changer to say the least but the watchmaker introduced a first run of limited edition watches of just ten pieces. However, two years later, Zenith again surprised everyone with the introduction of the Zenith Defy Inventor, which essentially takes its revolutionary Oscillator into the commercial market.

An Epic Achievement in Chronometry

At Baselworld 2019, the Zenith Defy Inventor served as a fitting tribute to the brand’s 50th anniversary celebration of the El Primero. After all, in 1969, the El Primero arrived as the world’s highest-frequency self-winding chronograph movement. In most ways, the Defy Inventor will also be remembered years from now for its revolutionary engine.

Like the Defy Lab prototypes from 2017, the new commercially available timepiece sports the Zenith Oscillator, now incorporated in the automatic Zenith Calibre 9100. There has been a subtle change to the mechanism, which now boasts an increased frequency of 129,600 vibrations/hour over 108,000 vibrations/hour seen in the previous model. As a result the power reserve now stands at 50 hours, just ten short of the illustrious prototype.

Beating at the extremely high frequency of 18 Hz (compared to the usual 4 Hz), the revolutionary engine can be admired in its full glory through the visible caseback and through the open worked blue dial, which feature bridges that complement the shape of the oscillator. Although the mechanism is the most unique selling point of the Zenith Defy Inventor, the design of the timepiece is also a sight to behold.

Zenith has afforded the timepiece with a sense of depth brought by facetted hour markers, which enhances the 44mm case made of lightweight titanium and Aeronith, the innovative aluminium-polymer composite. Combined with the domed sapphire crystal, the timepiece delivers a true contemporary architectural design. The Zenith Defy Inventor is worn on a rubber strap with a blue alligator coating.

For centuries, the way clocks and timepieces are regulated has never changed. The principal of the spring balance remains an exclusive and vital component of the mechanical watch. Attached to the balance wheel of a mechanical timepiece, the thin coiled spring causes the balance wheel to oscillate with a resonant frequency when the timepiece is running. This ultimately controls the speed at which the gears of the watch rotate resulting in the rate of movement of the hands.

Despite years of fine-tweaking, the spring balance essential remains the very heart of the timepiece. However in 2017, Zenith challenged convention with the reveal of the Zenith Defy Lab, which essentially re-invented the balance and hairspring principle created by Christiaan Huygens in 1675. An innovation of mechanical watch making, Zenith replaced the classic swiss anchor, hairspring and balance wheel with a monolithic silicon oscillator.

An Innovation of Time Keeping

From the moment of its big reveal at Baselworld 2017, the watch making community immediately sat up and took notice of this marvel of ingenuity as it represented one of the biggest advancements in modern watchmaking. The single piece, ultra-thin Zenith Oscillator control system consists of mono-crystalline silicon with movements that boasts high frequency and low amplitude properties for improved precision and accuracy.

The mechanism allowed Zenith to replace approximately 30 parts including the balance wheel, the balance spring, screws and inertia weights. As these parts required assembly, adjustment, setting and lubrication, Zenith eliminated contact, friction, wear, lubrication, and dispersions from the oscillator resulting in a more efficient process of time keeping. The added benefit of silicon also made the movement virtually impervious to temperature changes, gravity, and magnetic fields.

The Zenith Defy was a game changer to say the least but the watchmaker introduced a first run of limited edition watches of just ten pieces. However, two years later, Zenith again surprised everyone with the introduction of the Zenith Defy Inventor, which essentially takes its revolutionary Oscillator into the commercial market.

An Epic Achievement in Chronometry

At Baselworld 2019, the Zenith Defy Inventor served as a fitting tribute to the brand’s 50th anniversary celebration of the El Primero. After all, in 1969, the El Primero arrived as the world’s highest-frequency self-winding chronograph movement. In most ways, the Defy Inventor will also be remembered years from now for its revolutionary engine.

Like the Defy Lab prototypes from 2017, the new commercially available timepiece sports the Zenith Oscillator, now incorporated in the automatic Zenith Calibre 9100. There has been a subtle change to the mechanism, which now boasts an increased frequency of 129,600 vibrations/hour over 108,000 vibrations/hour seen in the previous model. As a result the power reserve now stands at 50 hours, just ten short of the illustrious prototype.

Beating at the extremely high frequency of 18 Hz (compared to the usual 4 Hz), the revolutionary engine can be admired in its full glory through the visible caseback and through the open worked blue dial, which feature bridges that complement the shape of the oscillator. Although the mechanism is the most unique selling point of the Zenith Defy Inventor, the design of the timepiece is also a sight to behold.

Zenith has afforded the timepiece with a sense of depth brought by facetted hour markers, which enhances the 44mm case made of lightweight titanium and Aeronith, the innovative aluminium-polymer composite. Combined with the domed sapphire crystal, the timepiece delivers a true contemporary architectural design. The Zenith Defy Inventor is worn on a rubber strap with a blue alligator coating.