Zenith Adds a Smaller 36mm Defy Skyline to the Collection in a Range of Colors (Diamonds Optional)

Most of the attention focused on Zenith following their LVMH Watch Week releases has been focused on the new skeleton dial version of the Defy Skyline and a raiding of the archives in the form of a red dialed Defy. But it’s another new addition to the larger Defy camp that might prove to be the biggest hit with the widest possible audience: the Defy Skyline 36mm. This smaller and more compact Defy is decidedly unisex, and offers a classic case size with the Skyline’s more contemporary styling in a range of color options. It also forgoes the high frequency El Primero caliber found in the larger Skyline in favor of a thinner Elite series movement, a decision that proves to offer a range of benefits. 


The pitch for this watch is actually very simple. A smaller Skyline for a broader array of wrists, simplified. The 36mm stainless steel case features the same highly angular case construction and shares the same profile as the larger Skyline, and borrows a dial design from last year’s watch as well. The four-pointed star motif can be had in blue (the same blue as last year’s 41mm model) or pastel shades of green and pink. The dials have a metallic finish that is satin brushed, giving them a subtle sense of texture and a bit of deeper complexity. If you’d like, you can choose to have the 12 sided bezel set with diamonds. A little less under the radar, perhaps, but we support brands giving customers options. 

Besides the size, the key differentiator between these watches and the larger Skylines is the movement. Zenith has elected to fit these watches with an Elite 670 automatic caliber with 50 hours of power reserve. The Elite movements are notably thin, allowing the 36mm Skyline to wear thinner on the wrist than its bigger brother. We also get a more traditional layout, with a date at 3:00 and a centrally mounted seconds hand. That’s right, no more crazy high speed seconds hand at the 9:00 position. This will surely appeal to a range of customers who don’t fall into the hardcore watch nerd category, or to enthusiasts who, along with a smaller size, just want something a little more straightforward and easier to explain. 

The 36mm Skylines are smaller in stature but don’t give up anything in terms of tool watch specs compared to the bigger cases. All of the small Skylines have screw down crowns and 100 meters of water resistance, along with rhodium plated and faceted hands that have been coated in lume. The integrated bracelet seen in these photos is another design holdover from the larger watches, and all feature Zenith’s quick-change strap system and include an additional rubber strap. 

Pricing for the Defy Skyline 36mm comes in at $8,500 for versions without diamonds. Those diamond set variants retail for $12,000. Zenith

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.