So many of the watches we cover here on the site, that we shop for late in the evening on internet forums, and that we try on at our local neighborhood watch meetups are borrowing from the past. The last decade in watches has been defined, for better or worse, by raiding the vaults, rejiggering the old to make it new, and playing on our collective nostalgia, sometimes for things we didn’t even experience. I own and enjoy watches that are vintage inspired in one way or another, and think they can be incredibly satisfying when done right. But I’ve come to believe that new designs and modern ways of thinking about watches are inherently more interesting, and that’s the line of thought that led me to the Zenith Defy Classic in black ceramic, and my experience with the watch over the last several months has only bolstered those opinions.
Halfway through 2019, I found myself adrift in my watch collecting. I was buying, selling, and trading at a rapid clip, unable to find and keep a watch that I felt I could really enjoy over the long haul. A first world problem, to be sure, but one that I hadn’t really experienced before as long as I’d been in this hobby. For whatever reason, the types of watches I’d been drawn to in the past just weren’t doing it for me any longer. I knew I wanted a sports watch, but I wanted it to be different, something that I couldn’t imagine a 1960s version of myself wearing. It was important to me, in a way that it had never been important before, that this new watch be unapologetically modern – I had seen enough of the cookie cutter, formulaic, new-vintage divers, chronos, and general purpose daily wears. I wanted a palette cleanser.