[Hands-On] Zenith and Time & Tide Prove that Sequels Can Work with New Skyline Collaboration

Zenith has teamed up with our friends at Time & Tide for a second time to release a new Defy Skyline dubbed the Night Surfer 2. The theme began with the Defy Classic in the original Night Surfer released in 2021, playing with black and blue tones around the openworked dial and case. The Defy Skyline Skeleton replaces the outgoing Classic, a move we may not be entirely comfortable with just yet, but the Night Surfer colorway works equally well here with the redesigned dial and frantic running seconds hand at 6 o’clock. This is a watch we’ve looked at in-depth in both its closed dial, and open dial forms, and this might be the biggest personality we’ve seen from this watch to date. 

Night Surfer 1 at right, Night Surfer 2 at left

We see plenty of blue dials in the watch world and I’d count this as one of the more interesting executions. Like the original, the new four-pointed star structure that comprises the center of the dial is treated to a dynamic application of blue that is darker toward the top, and lighter toward the bottom, with the center of the bridge structure bifurcated by a white line creating a sharp contrast to the deep blues underneath. It’s a visually striking dial as a whole that’s framed by the uniformly finished matte titanium case and bracelet.


The 41mm case is angular, without a curve in sight. It’s aggressive in a way, but the dark finish it’s received here means it doesn’t interfere with the dial. It’s the same story with the bracelet, though if you’re looking to amp up the color, it will also ship with a blue rubber unit that fits into their quick release system. Either option works well on the wrist, especially considering its angularity and size. This is a watch that raises above the numbers and lands in highly wearable territory so don’t put too much stock into the dimensions. 

Inside sits the same time only El Primero caliber we’ve seen in previous Defy Skyline watches, and since this is the Skeleton version, the sub seconds is placed at 6 o’clock. That small seconds is affixed to the high beat train of the El Primero, meaning it makes a lap every ten seconds. The fast movement suits the somewhat chaotic nature of the dial, and certainly feels the most at home in this configuration compared to the regular production variants.

The dial structure has been simplified with the Defy Skyline Skeleton, which uses a 4 pointed star as its base, though you’d be forgiven if that shape didn’t immediately jump out to you as a star. The addition of the contrasting stripe down the center of the arms that make up the dial frame the negative spaces in a way the other Skyline Skeleton watches do not, and I hope to see it return in future iterations of the watch. I’d also like to see a case more akin to the last generation Defy Classic, but that might be unreasonable. 

The first Night Surfer Defy Classic was limited to 100 units, and part two will see 200 examples produced, each priced at 11,900 CHF. That price is inclusive of the titanium bracelet, as well as the blue rubber strap option. It’s a high price, but this is also a lot of watch, and in my view, is the best Defy Skyline Skeleton to date. Zenith.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.