What’s more impressive than a tourbillon? Two tourbillons! Thanks to advances in technology within the industry, tourbillon’s have been easier to make than ever. Not to say they are easy, far from it, but they are easier to make. Because of that, we see tourbillons in more places than we did before, but we still rarely see double tourbillons. Zenith have sought to remedy that.
In 2019, Zenith gave us the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon, in 2022, we get the DEFY Extreme Double Tourbillon powered by the El Primero 9020 calibre.
Not only have we got a double tourbillon, but new case materials for the DEFY Extreme. Brushed and polished titanium on both the case and bracelet look fantastic with the only separation from the monochromatic scheme being the gold details on the dial. The case itself is actually 1mm smaller than its predecessor measuring in at 45mm.
The second variant is encased in carbon with the inclusion of 18k rose gold. Black and gold is simply a top-notch colour combination that is hard to go wrong with.
Zenith’s love of skeletonization works so well with tourbillons. Yes, it might be a little indulgent but so are double tourbillons so why stop there? Also, it’s a DEFY Extreme, so skeletonization is almost a standard.
Legibility on a skeletonized dial is often hard to do but Zenith have done well here. The chronograph sub-dials use tinted sapphire discs with markings printed on it. Same thing for the power reserve indicator and the Zenith logo.
The left side of the dial is completely taken up by the double tourbillons. They are different sizes due to the each of them working at different frequencies. The pair are suspended from black PVD coated open worked bridges and nice little gold chamfers that are a nice touch.
We have to talk about the movement. The El Primero 9020 is a hand-wound movement with escapements beating at 4Hz and 50Hz. To upper tourbillon is responsible for the timekeeping of the chronograph beating at 50Hz, meaning that the tourbillon completes a rotation every five seconds. That is straight-up impressive. This means that it can measure increments up to 1/100th of a second. The lower tourbillon is a one-minute tourbillon which acts as the escapement for the regular timekeeping componentry. While that may seem less impressive and “standard”, because it’s larger than the upper tourbillon, it has more inertia which means it moves at a slower beat rate, giving greater accuracy. But it’s not slow, it still moves at 5Hz which is on par for other Zenith offerings.
A fun little addition are the twin barrels, one for timekeeping and one for the chronograph. They have a power reserve of 50 hours and 50 minutes respectively.
Now the price… $100,000 AUD. Now Swiss-made tourbillons go for at least $30,000 USD (~$44,000 AUD), so two you can assume is double. If you’re bad at maths, that still isn’t $100,000. The watches are in titanium and carbon ($114,000) so that will surely add to the price, and it is cheaper than the all-sapphire double tourbillon DEFY Extreme priced at $180,300 USD. But that was all-sapphire! Perhaps if you were buying a double tourbillon then you already knew what it was going to cost you, so this might not put you off. Regardless of the price, these are impressive watches.
At a Glance
Reference: 95.9100.9020/78.I001 | 12.9100.9020/78.I200
Case: Titanium | Carbon and 18k rose gold
Water Resistance: 200m
Dial: Openworked with sapphire discs
Strap: Titanium bracelet | Black rubber with titanium clasp
Movement: El Primero 9020, double tourbillon, 50 Hz chronograph escapement with 50-minute power reserve, 5 Hz timekeeping escapement with 50-hour power reserve
Price: $100,000 (Titanium), $114,000 (carbon)