Zenith Pushes Color With Defy 21 Spectrum Series

PARIS — Pushing optimism through colors, Zenith is shifting gears from a focus on its Chronomaster watches at the start of the year and plans to show a series of colorful, high jewelry Defy watches this week during Watches and Wonders.

This story first appeared in the April 7, 2021 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We’ve had such a tough year behind us, we need to be positive and optimistic,” said Julien Tornare, chief executive officer of Zenith.

“As an old guy from the industry, I could be very conservative, but I decided to do something a little crazy with those watches,” he said, noting the Defy is a product line that offers a certain amount of freedom.

“It’s very important for me to keep a lot of dynamism and creativity also within the Defy,” he added.

Limited to 10 pieces per model — there are five models of the Defy 21 Spectrum timepieces: orange, blue, purple, green and black — the idea is to generate buzz. Watches feature brilliant-cut diamonds in a stainless-steel case, while the bezel is ringed with baguette-cut sapphires.

The brand recently covered its manufacture building in Le Locle, Switzerland, with colorful artwork from contemporary artist Felipe Pantone.

“I want to go against a lot of what happened in the past — you have a very historical brand and then you only repeat the past,” the executive said.

Noting his mentor was Jean-Claude Biver, the former head of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s watch division, he said he couldn’t agree more with Biver, who famously pushed mechanical watch labels into new territory.

“I’m very comfortable to do something classic one day and to be be very crazy the next day,” Tornare said.

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