Founded in 2012 by the Australian Mark Hawwa, the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride gathered more than 70’000 gentlemen and their motorbikes on the 24th September 2017 in 95 coutries and more than 600 cities for the good cause. This rally which take place on the same day everywhere around the world is now well anchored in the Vintage Biking world. Sponsored by Zenith sinc 2016, this event aims to raise funds for the Movember Foundation and its support for prostate cancer and men’s mental health.
Another important goal for us was to avoid the overlapping dials found in so many modern Zeniths. These are often criticized by collectors, even fellow Zenith fans, although I’ve never personally found it to be troubling. The overlapping sub-dials matched the effortless avant-garde nature of the tri-color El Primero quite well, being almost flippant with its design. That sort of brashness works well on overtly sporty models, should a brand be gutsy enough to actually try it, but for a much dressier, more austere model like the Timeless Chronomaster Heritage it wouldn’t do. Naturally, we wouldn’t dare modify the El Primero within to space the sub-dials out further, so we were necessarily restricted as to where the sub-dials must be located. The solution was self-evident: the sub-dials had to be smaller. Although reduced in size, they’re now as large as they can possibly be without overlapping, and to aid in legibility, there is a subtle ring, a change in texture, around each sub-dial which helps separate it from the surrounding dial without need for an outline or applied marker.One of the other important changes we made was moving to a new case. We chose the Heritage 146 case due to its size and classic design. As is so often the situation for our limited editions, we opted to use a 38mm size. In general, we use 38mm cases because we find it to be a very versatile size, and in a small run limited edition we want to reach the broadest variety of collectors possible. You’ll also notice in this photo that the crown is quite a bit thinner than the Heritage 146’s crown. The A273’s crown was also fairly thick, but again, we felt that the slightly thinner crown was more consistent with its dressier image. Being an accurate, automatic watch with no need to set the date, the crown won’t be needed particularly often to begin with. You’ll also notice that the pushers have a small groove in them, another subtle difference from the original.
I want to also mention that it is a huge deal that Zenith even went so far as to make a claim about accuracy performance in their press release. I’ve read over a thousand wristwatch press releases and aside from Seiko (who routinely under-reports their wristwatches’ accuracy performance – for reasons again outside the scope of the conversation), Zenith is among a very small number of brands who actually make a specific claim about accuracy performance in their documentation. For Zenith and LVMH it is about increasing transparency according to Jean-Claude Biver (who is the head of watchmaking at the group).By Zenith indicating the average accuracy (performance varies under different wearing conditions) of the Defy Lab’s movement, they more or less put other brands at notice that if they want to boast about a watch “designed for high accuracy,” they actually need go the distance and make a specific claim about accuracy. This is a good time to discuss mechanisms like a tourbillon and how watch makers typically deal with such features. While a tourbillon was originally designed to increase the accuracy of a mechanical watch or clock movement, it doesn’t actually do that in many real world wristwatch applications. Thus, watch brands often rode a thin line by not actually commenting on a watch’s performance, while trying to bolster the story about what the mechanism was originally designed for. I have to applaud Jean-Claude Biver along with Zenith’s management and communication teams for going the distance and not only promoting an accurate watch, but actually telling people the type of performance that they can expect.
It is true that Zenith’s new Defy case feels a bit like that of the Hublot Big Bang. It isn’t a bad thing or an accident. Biver has long since found out that most new or younger watch lovers prefer something more bold, more edgy, more masculine, and certainly more visible than most vintage timepieces. For that reason, Zenith watch 2542 Replica is smart to combine exciting technology with a spirited design. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a watch brand debut a new movement or technical concept into a timepiece that looks like a boring dress watch. Are those conservative watch buyers the first ones to jump on something new? Heavens no. Another interesting conversation piece about the Defy Lab is how much of a showcase it is of Biver’s policy of “sharing” among the brands. The Zenith Defy Lab might be assembled at Zenith, but the case is made at (and developed by) Hublot, and the movement is produced (and developed) at TAG Heuer.The first 10 pieces of the Zenith Defy Lab watch will come in a 44mm wide case produced from something else which is exotic known as “Aeronith.” Hublot invented it at part of their materials science division that came up with things such as red ceramic and magic gold. Aeronith (or “the Swiss cheese of aluminum” as you might call it) is actually produced at Hublot’s facility in Nyon. Aeronith is apparently similar to aluminum alloys used in the naval world because it is both strong and corrosion-resistant. Aluminum is rarely used in watches because it is relatively fragile – but in special forms can prove to be a useful material. In person, Aeronith certainly feels impressively light, and in a lot of ways has the visual appearance of concrete (in a cool way).
DGR London © Zenith
All gentlemen participating in the event come with their vintage bikes, café racers, bobbers, scramblers and other exceptional customised models that will be taking part in chic and festive parades thrumming along roads and cobblestones.
A huge engagement
The Distinguished Gentleman’s ride aims to raise funds on behalf of the Movember Foundation in its bid to finance prostate cancer and men’s mental health programs. This year the takings passed the USD 5 million mark. A record! In total, more than USD 8M have already been raised since its creation.
Today, Zenith watches london Replica announces the brand new Zenith Defy Lab collection that contains what they claim is the world’s most accurate mechanical movement. The in-house made caliber ZO 342 automatic operates at 15Hz, which is faster (a good thing) than the vast majority of mechanical watches out there, including Zenith’s legendary 5Hz “high beat” frequency El Primero automatic chronograph movement. This is a bold new step not only for Zenith, but also for the entire watch industry as it further legitimizes a controversial but ultimately wise creative direction. Zenith will debut the Defy Lab as a very limited set of 10 “piece unique” watches – at comparably “exclusive” prices. What about everyone else who will want one of these very compelling timepieces? Zenith makes it clear that the initial 10 Defy Lab watches are “only the beginning.” The Defy Lab’s movement will not only be put into regular production, but it will serve as a base for future complications. The first set of Defy Lab watches after this initial debut collector’s set is planned for production in 2018.
Among the celebrities who took part in the 2017 edition, there were American actor Eric C.Olsen (from the NCIS LA series), Australian actor Jai Courtney, as well as fashion blogger Mariano Di Vaio (DGR Milan) with their motorbike.
Zenith CEO Julien Tornare at the DGR Milan © Zenith
With that said, I am among a large population of mechanical watch lovers who do care about accuracy. That there is still development in the traditional watch industry to make systems that actually pioneer new achievements in accuracy will be something that pretty much any watch collector can stand behind. I know that not everyone will be a fan of the aesthetic design of the Defy Lab, or the Defy El Primero 21 for that matter, but I think they will want the technology for sure. Zenith and LVMH now take a leading role in the pursuit of accuracy, how will the others respond? Attached to the case of the Defy Lab is a rubber strap with an alligator exterior lining and a titanium buckle. Price for the 10 piece unique Zenith Defy Lab reference 27.9000.342/78.R582 is 29,900 CHF each.
Partnership with Zenith
To mark this gathering and in tribute to the generous donors, Zenith produced a six very special numbered Pilot Ton-Up watch, each bearing the inscription DGR 2017, celebrating timeless design and ageless mechanics for a good cause. Five were intended as gifts to the main donors, while a special “Number 0” model has been auctioned, raising 7’500 Euros, on behalf of the Movember Foundation at an exceptional gala evening in Milan with the presence of Zenith CEO Julien Tornare, and Mark Hawwa, founder of the event.