Introducing the Zenith Defy Revival A3642

Introducing the Zenith Defy Revival A3642

As the Zenith Defy enters its sixth decade since its genesis in 1969, it has become a platform for the brand to showcase its cutting-edge manufacture movements, interesting use of materials, a range of complications and gem-setting. From sapphire-cased tourbillons to rainbow bezel gem-set titanium models, the line can always be relied upon to defy convention. This was the case too, then the original Defy A3642 was launched in 1969. A date often overshadowed by the launch of the brand’s iconic El Primero chronograph movement, the summer of ’69 also bestowed what collectors term the coffre-fort.

Zenith Defy Time-Safe 1969-1970 Brochure (Front)
Zenith Defy Time-Safe 1969-1970 Brochure (Front)
Zenith Defy Time-Safe 1969-1970 Brochure (Rear))
Zenith Defy Time-Safe 1969-1970 Brochure (Rear)

Zenith Revives Its Original Defying Moment

The 2022 Zenith Defy Revival is a detailed and faithful reedition of the original watch that has been created using the original plans from the early 1960s. In a world that was, at the time, dominated by the often-discussed quartz crisis the release of the Defy was not only unusual in that it was a mechanical watch but also in its robustness. The A3642’s significant presence is what led to the nickname coffre-fort, the French for bank vault. Where the modern iteration of the watch, like a modern flyweight racing car, is sleek and sporty and often housing a skeltonised dial, the Revival is all about presence and heft; you’re going to know you’re wearing this; it’s a proper sports watch.

The 40mm steel case is octagonal, with six of the eight sides having a scalloped face to allow the case to flow into the bracelet. The revival of integrated bracelet steel sports watches has been a recent phenomenon and whilst this watch’s bracelet is actually not fully integrated, the overall aesthetic is very much in tune with this zeitgeist. The bezel has fourteen sides that adds to the angular look of the watch, with the contrasting finishing and angles allowing the light to emphasise the depth and interesting construction of the watch.

The 2022 Zenith Defy Revival A3642
The 2022 Zenith Defy Revival A3642

The original Defy was equipped with a Ladder bracelet, made by venerable bracelet makers Gay Freres. The new Revival piece has the brand’s modern version of the ladder bracelet, which is now an iconic design in its own right and deemed by collectors as one of the great bracelet designs of all time. The dial is also incredibly faithful to the original. Fumé or degrade dials have always been one of my favourites and the taupe tones of the original are back in the revival in what Zenith are calling grey tones. The cool grooved applied hour markers are as per the ’69 model and date at 4:30 is there, which is faithful to the original and the sword hands have toned SuperLumiNova to ape vintage tritium. Whilst ‘fauxtina’ gets a bad rap at times, in my mind it makes total sense on a re-edition such as this.

The only significant change to the original is the caseback and movement. The original’s solid caseback with embossed star is now replaced with a sapphire display caseback that gives an uninterrupted view of the Zenith Elite 670 automatic movement that boasts a 50-hour power reserve and that interestingly beats at 28’800 VpH. I say interestingly because the original Defy from ’69 had this number on the dial and yet it has been omitted on this new version.

Niche? Maybe. But I am certain that there will be way in excess of 250 willing customers for this watch, which is a shame as there will only be two and a half hundred of these re-editions made. So I’d get your skates on and hope you get lucky!

The 2022 Zenith Defy Revival A3642

Tech Specs

Zenith Defy Revival, Ref: 03.A3642.670/75.M3642

Movement: Zenith Elite 670 automatic movement with 50 hours power-reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds and date indication at 4:30
Case: 40mm; stainless steel; water resistant to 300m
Dial: Gradient brown; rhodium-plated and faceted hour markers
Strap: Steel ‘Ladder’ bracelet
Price: USD 7,000
Availability: Limited edition of 250 pieces

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Ross Povey

Ross Povey, the founder of is regarded as the world’s leading expert on vintage Tudor watches. Although an expert on Rolex and Tudor watches primarily, Ross’s work covers the entire field of horology and he is currently Editor-in-Chief of Revolution magazine in the UK. He writes for and has contributed to some of the most influential horological publications, including; The Telegraph, The Rake, Bulang & Sons, Watchonista, Hodinkee, QP and is the co-author of the book Daytona Perpetual, a celebration of the automatic Rolex Daytona released through Pucci Papaleo Editore. Ross is also an international speaker and regularly hosts watch events in the UK and Europe.

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