Credit: Zenith

The Zenith Skyline is something we didn’t really ask for, but also something we didn’t know we needed.

I might get black listed, and possibly removed from all future marketing plans, but the Zenith Skyline might just be the worlds greatest design rip-off.  

Just look at it – A bracelet that looks like it was borrowed from Hublot’s big bang integration system, a bezel and dial taken directly from the Audemars Piguet playbook, and a small seconds counter that looks a little Vacheron-y.

Welcome to the Zenith Royal Overseas BIG BANG king power (Formerly known as the Zenith Skyline).  

Over the last few years Zenith have made some BOLD decisions by taking inspiration from several competitors. The Defy Extreme looks like an entry piece Royal Oak Offshore. The Chronomaster Sport has some naked eye similarities to the Rolex Daytona, and now, all of a sudden, we have this piece that seems to be familiar on so many fronts that we’re almost certain it invaded at least 1 patent.

Maybe the head of design from Hublot got a small promotion over to Zenith?

Whatever the case, I freaking love it.

Oh? You thought this article was bashing the Zenith? Well, you thought wrong.

The issue with the watchmarket over the last 4-5 years, is anything that remotely resembles a blue dial has a 4-5 year waitlist on it. Be it a Datejust or SkyDweller, the now super rare Overseas and the bits of unobtainium that are the Overseas, Nautilus and Royal Oaks.

The watch market has exploded. And yet, the Zenith Skyline has managed to incorporate all these designs and bring us to a price point which is still heavy but much more affordable for an entry level Swiss piece. Priced at $12,200, your yearly bonus could give you quite a Big Bang for your buck. 

With this design Zenith has decided to throw as much at the market as possible and see what sticks. But the Defy Skyline might just look like it will pass the test just because of it’s amazing movement, amazing end-to-end finish, and the LVMH marketing machine behind it.

So let’s take a look at the pros and cons, shall we?

The Good

Credit: Zenith

41mm cases are a big yes from me, and a big yes for most people in the watch market. It’s not gargantuan like the Defy’s or the Defy Extreme’s that are solely made for those that are 6 feet or taller. The integrated bracelet comes with a quick change for a new strap, allows for multiple looks and the dodecagon bezel is surely going to catch some eyes with people wondering, “Is that an AP?”

100m of water resistance means you can also get it a little bit wet.

Oh, and the clear caseback is definitely a part of the party trick that you definitely want to show off, along with the small seconds counter.

The Bad

Credit: Zenith

You’re going to get asked a lot of questions about this watch, and you’re going to receive the following responses:

“Oh, it looks like an AP!”

“Oh, it looks like a Vacheron!”  

“Why is there a 1/10th second small seconds hand?”   

You will definitely earn the respect of colleagues for sporting a Zenith. A true watch collectors watch, but the casual audience might bypass it, as it is not something that will attract the casuals.

I know I said that the size of the dial is one of the pros, but it’s also a con. At 41mm, some of Zenith’s customers might also be sized out. Whilst Rolex went smaller, with their explorer range, it seems as if Zenith have gone the opposite direction and went with the idea that bigger is better.

The seconds hand has also confused me. The 1/10th second movement is impressive…. when you can stop it. However, with a 1/10th seconds hand that’s in the place of a small seconds? Am I meant to measure my own heartbeat?

Conclusion

Do I love it?

Well yes, I actually do. The $12,200 price point allows many people to enter the market and receive an iconic piece without spending iconic money. The movement also allows the regular person to see just how impressive a Zenith is with its 1/10th  second clock.

But would I put my own money up for it? It’s quite difficult to say. It’s cheaper at retail than a Submariner or Datejust. You can’t find an Oyster Perpetual at retail anywhere and good luck trying to get a Vacheron or an AP for that price point. But without the heritage, I’d be looking more towards a BB58, or even a Breitling Chronomat.

The Stats

Case: 41 mm

Case Material: Steel case

Dial: White, blue, or black-toned sunburst-patterned. Starry sky pattern on the dial.

Crystal: Sapphire Crystal – Open Caseback

Water resistance: 100 meters

Movement: El Primero high frequency indication : 1/10th of a second subdial at 9 o’clock. Silicon escape-wheel and lever. 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)

Power reserve: minimum of 60 hours

Strap: Full interchangeable system: Stainless steel bracelet folding clasp. Comes with a rubber strap with starry sky pattern and folding clasp.

Price: $12,200 AUD

Available: January 2022

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