Presented by Zenith as "The most precise mechanical watch ever" the Defy collection introduces an evolution in the watch movement world with Caliber ZO 342. Zenith invented a new single-piece oscillator that replaces the traditional hairspring/balance wheel assembly. It oscillates at a frequency five-times greater than the standard mechanical timepiece which allows for the higher precision.
The oscillator is flexible and therefore vibrates as an entire unit at a remarkable frequency: 15 Hz, or 108,000 vph (vibrations per hour). The standard is 28,800 beats per hour, or 3 Hz. It is made of monocrystalline silicon, and replaces the standard 30-component regulating organ, thus eliminating the need for assembly, adjustment, testing and lubrication. The super high frequency means unprecedented accuracy without sacrificing amplitude or power reserve.
The watch is an important achievement considering that accuracy and performance have been the ultimate preoccupation of watchmakers for the past few hundred years. It will keep time better, last longer and need fewer repairs – if any – than any other watch. The case is made from aeronith, an ultra-light aluminum composite material resembling an extremely solid metal foam. It is 2.7-times lighter than titanium, 1.7-times lighter than aluminum and 10% lighter than carbon fiber. It is corrosion-resistant and anti-allergenic.
The Defy Lab with Caliber ZO 342 is made in a series of 10 introductory pieces, all of which have been sold, and is expected to be available in serial production early in 2018. Zenith is working on reducing the diameter of the oscillator. It is priced at 29,900 Swiss francs or approximately $31,000.