Carbon fibre has become a mainstay in watchmaking thanks to its special combination of properties that lends itself particularly well to making rugged and hardwearing timepieces. As well as its durability, it is incredibly lightweight and therefore comfortable on the wrist, while offering a unique aesthetic. But while it is often applied to watch parts such as cases, it is far rarer to see an entire timepiece crafted from the material. With its new Defy Classic Carbon, Zenith has unveiled an automatic watch with a full carbon fibre construction, right down to the bracelet.
It is the latter that presents the biggest manufacturing challenge. Often bracelets marketed as carbon fibre are plaques of the material fixed to a metal base. The totally carbon fibre version Zenith has created here weighs just 65 grams in total between the bracelet and titanium clasp. This is almost half as much as the Defy Classic model with a fully titanium equivalent, a material that is already considered lightweight when compared to traditional alternatives such as stainless steel or gold.
In line with the overall contemporary look of the Defy Classic, the bracelet has been molded and milled in a specific way so as to enhance the intriguing appearance of the carbon fibre. Because of the way the composite is constructed in layers, each piece of the material has its own look that is personal to that watch and wearer. Powered by Zenith’s precise and reliable in-house Elite movement, it also comes with the option of a black rubber cordura-effect strap for an added contrast against the carbon-fibre case.