In 1983, Land Rover created one of the most famous multi-purpose vehicles in history: the Land Rover 90 and its companion, the elongated 110. These unstoppable British goats (there aren’t that many goats in the UK, but bear with me) became the benchmark utility vehicle for cruising all over the British islands.
The name Defender that we associate today with this square, rugged off-road light truck, appeared in 1990, in an attempt to align itself with the rest of the range that led the royally appointed Range Rover and the, then recently, launched Discovery.
The Defender lived on for a couple of decades, until in 2016 when it was finally discontinued. Last year, Land Rover announced the Defender’s resurgence, in the form of an all-terrain vehicle that looks quite nice (maybe too cute) but has the off-road capabilities, which made the Defender the best in the Highlands.
The Dubai Watch Week that LVMH’s watch brands held not too long ago, hosted a remarkable series of horological debuts. In the case of Zenith, one of its stars was this cool iteration of the Defy 21: the Land Rover Edition, which pays tribute to the Defender, as a limited to 250-piece series.
The Land Rover Edition is a timepiece that could just as easily be associated with the F-117 stealth fighter. It features a matte grey ceramic case with a micro-sandblasted finish that kills all reflections. It turns Zenith’s beloved Defy into a discreet and functional instrument.
This Defy chronograph employs an El Primero caliber, particularly the 9004 with independent regulating devices: one for timekeeping that beats 5 Hertz and another for chronograph which is able to measure time to 1/100th of a second, thanks to its 50 Hz-beating balance wheel. While the Defender has always been mechanically essential, this Zenith Defy 21 is a genuine triumph of watchmaking technology.
Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s creative director, brought his experience to add to the readability of the Defy 21 Land Rover Edition, particularly in the details on the dial, its fine graphics and delicate numerals surrounded by the cold, gray surface of the 40mm ceramic case.
In particular, the orange touch on the winding crown and the subtle indication of the 30-minute power reserve for the chronograph barely break the formality of this remarkable piece of watchmaking. At the back, only the “LAND ROVER” engraving on the case and on the wheel-like oscillating mass depict that this is a Zenith dedicated to Land Rover. The Highlands await.
Mechanical with automatic winding; El Primero 9004 1/100 chronograph; power reserve of approx. 50 hours (continuous 30 minutes for the chronograph)
Matte grey ceramic with micro sandblasted finish; 40 mm diameter; sapphire caseback, 100 meter water-resistance
Grey rubber; additional fabric strap included. Titanium double folding clasp.