Back in 2020, Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone collaborated with Zenith by the latter offering the façade of its main building as a canvas for the contemporary artist to design. (We had covered the story here). This time around, Felipe Pantone has reimagined Zenith's most advanced chronograph to date- the DEFY 21 – into an object that is a piece of “wearable kinetic art” while featuring exceptional watchmaking prowess.
Striking in its design and concept, the all new timepiece is colourful, bold and instant polarising – a nod to Felipe's work. It is creation that plays at different frequencies both visually and mechanically. On his first watch collaboration, Felipe Pantone shared “I’m thrilled and humbled to be able to give my personal touch to a watch for the first time, and especially with a manufacture that I deeply admire for its innovation and daringness. From the start, the concept was to transform this spectacular piece of watchmaking into a wearable work of kinetic art, where time and light converge into a single object. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.”
The timepiece is available in a black ceramic case with an openworked dial. Through this one can witness the novel techniques used by Zenith to fulfil Felipe's wish of creating and expressing his “visible spectrum concept.” Sitting at the heart of the timepiece is Zenith's 1/100th of a second El Primero 21 chronograph movement that is beating at an extremely high frequency of 360'000 vibrations per hour. What strikes the most about the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone timepiece is the multi-coloured bridges which is a signature trait of Felipe Pantone's work. The bridges are coated with a variety of colours that reflects a gradient metallic rainbow tone that is spectacular to look at. It is the first time that a watch has used this level of innovative three-dimensional PVD with silicon particles as a surface treatment.
The skeletonised dial houses central hour and minute hands that take an intentionally distorted look that is similar to Pantone's work with rainbow gradient of colours. The watch gives off a moiré optical effect that is the result of thin alternating white and black bands that has been miniaturised and reproduced on the top bridges and portions of the dial. This has been done with the help of fine laser-engraving and lacquering techniques making the watch appear like an optical illusion in contrast to the stripes. Furthermore, the black ceramic case is decorated with a grid pattern on the bezel with the words “FP#1” engraved on the four corners of the case.
Keeping the rest of the watch simple is the black textured rubber strap. However, if you are ready to take it a step further, the watch also comes in a second rubber strap that features a central insert that goes from dark grey to a flash of all colours in the spectrum (depending on the angle of light). How does this work? The colours showcased on the strap are not actually embedded but are a result of iridescence caused by the surface of the material and how its reflects light. Neat, right?
Limited to just 100 pieces, the Zenith DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone comes in a presentation box that looks like a hardcover. This cover houses a miniaturised painting that Felipe Pantone created exclusively for this special timepiece.
The Zenith DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone will drop on March 15 2021 at Zenith Boutiques around the world as well as on the Zenith online shop.