Zenith Goes Old School With Defy Revival A3642 ‘Bank Vault’

Zenith expands their Revival series to the Defy line today with the release of a new limited edition A3642 ‘Bank Vault’ time and date watch. The original Defy was launched alongside the brand’s first automatic chronograph timepieces in 1969, and forged a distinct visual language that helped to propel Zenith into the ‘70s in pure style. With this Revival, Zenith has, well, revived the somewhat unorthodox case that somehow feels as cutting edge today as it probably did back then. As we’ve seen with their other Revival watches, not much in the way of compromise has been made in this recreation.

The Defy Revival features an unmistakable octagonal steel case that measures 37mm in diameter, and hosts a 14 sided bezel that makes the dial appear as if it were entering another dimension of reality altogether. The bevy of sliced surfaces ensure a unique view from any angle and hide discreet lugs that tuck endure the case. The look has served as the inspiration for the modern Defy collection as it exists today, however we’re told that a “modern successor to the original DEFY with a sleeker and more modernistic architecture” is right around the corner, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.

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A warm grey dial gets a smokey textured gradient that doesn’t look too far off what we saw in the A385 Revival, which is a very good thing. That dial had a depth and richness to it that elevated the watch as a whole, and it looks to be the same story here, only without the chronograph  registers getting in the way. This is a time and date watch, with the aperture tucked neatly between the 4 and 5 o’clock hour markers. 

Those hour markers aren’t about to be forgotten against the high drama case and dial, though. The large applied squares get horizontal ridges cut across their surface, creating an origami-like quality that catch and throw light with maximum effectiveness. You could argue these hour markers are the star of the show here, but in reality they complete the whole package and drive home the late ‘60s early ‘70s flavor of the Defy.

The Zenith ladder bracelet returns here, bringing the look full circle. Inside, Zenith is using the Elite 670 automatic movement, which is visible through the open caseback. We talk about tool watches, dive watches, field watches, etc. preferring to fit new releases into neat boxes, but this Defy throws any such attempt at labeling itself out the window. In my view, it’s all the better for it. 

The Defy Revival A3642 is limited to 250 examples, and is priced at $7,000. Keep an eye out for more, including hands-on impressions of this and more as we head into LVMH watch week. Zenith.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent the past decade 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 Seikos to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for classic cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.
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