Zenith has done it again, surprising us today with another great classic from its archives! This new Zenith Defy A3691 Revival Replica is the second modern reissue celebrating the unique style of the original Defy series that debuted in 1969. For this new Defy, Zenith reintroduces the brilliant look of the reference A3691 from 1971. The watch combines the unique design of the original Defy with a beautiful deep red gradient dial. In a surprising twist, the new Zenith Defy A3691 Revival Replica is a permanent addition to the Zenith collection. What’s not to love?!
Zenith has been showering us with great releases over the past couple of years. As a result, the current collection is a great mix of reissues of the brand’s classics and modern timepieces. For most watch fans, the heart and soul of the Zenith brand are in the classics, predominantly, the original trio of El Primero models. And while I love quite a few of the brand’s modern timepieces, I am one of those fans of the brand’s vintage catalog. A big fan, I might add. That’s why the announcement of the new Zenith Defy A3691 Revival Replica brings a huge smile to my face, especially knowing it’s not a limited release but a regular model in the brand’s lineup.
A dive into the archives of Zenith is a glorious journey that combines outstanding watchmaking with incredible designs. It’s this combination that makes Zenith a standout brand for me. While writing the Buying Guide article series, I fell in love with the original Defy line. The first Defy was unveiled in 1969 and introduced a unique style that can be described as ahead of its time, especially in the context of the revolution that Audemars Piguet kickstarted in 1972 with the introduction of the Royal Oak. Although much more defined by the time in which it was conceived than the Royal Oak, the Defy introduced a modern design for a sports watch that, five decades later, hasn’t lost any of its power.
The original Defy series was introduced as a diver’s watch characterized by its 37mm octagonal case with a water-resistance rating of 300 meters. The unique “Miura” case was combined with a dial design that came in multiple colors. Additionally, Zenith used different hour markers for the Defy. The most eye-catching ones were, without a doubt, the large square indices with their characteristic grooves. Completing the unique design was the iconic Gay Frères ladder bracelet, which helped to create a bold style statement.
The Revival A3691 is the second model celebrating the original Defy style
Twelve months ago, Zenith surprised us with a Revival version of the Defy A3642, the first model of the series from 1969. The modern reissue perfectly celebrated the original Defy by respecting its original dimensions, bringing back that unique overall style, and coming equipped with a modern Zenith Elite movement. Today sees the introduction of the second modern reissue of the original Defy. The Zenith Defy Revival A3691 brings back the style of the vintage A3691 from 1971.
The new Zenith Defy A3691 Revival Replica features the same stainless steel octagonal case as last year’s model. Essentially, this is the same case as the original Defy’s “Miura” case. It measures a modest 37mm in diameter and 44mm from tip to tip. And just like the 1970s original, the watch is water resistant to 300 meters. Providing more character to the design is the 14-sided bezel, which adds to the watch’s angular presence. Its historically accurate size and outspoken design make this an ultra-stylish statement for true Zenith fans and design enthusiasts alike.
The spectacular dial of the Revival A3691
But there is more to the watch than its remarkable case. The watch features a beautiful deep red gradient dial that fades to a darker hue on the outer edges. The red color stands out immediately, but the shade of red combined with the vignette style gives it an ultra-chic presence. The dial features applied rhodium-plated and faceted indices with horizontal grooves to give the dial its characteristic look. In addition to the hour markers, the dial shows the Zenith star with the brand name and “automatic” on its upper half. The lower half only features the Defy name in the italic font that graced the original model’s dial. The combination of the font styles and the hour markers gives the watch its distinct 1970s aesthetic. Though quite defined by the era of its inception, its retro appeal still feels very relevant. Or perhaps it’s better to call it refreshing as we don’t see a lot of designs like the original Defy. A nice detail is the date window placed between 4 and 5 o’clock, executed in white with black printing. It seems big in the pictures, leaving hardly any free space between the markers and the date window. But then again, in the overall design, it does feel very balanced. Lastly, the watch comes on the famous Gay Frères-style ladder bracelet with a folding clasp to complete this glorious ’70s design statement.
The modern Elite 670 movement
The new Zenith Defy A3691 Revival Replica comes equipped with the same automatic Elite 670 movement that powered last year’s Revival A3642. The caliber operates at 28,800vph, has 27 jewels, and provides a 50-hour power reserve. The movement can be seen in action through the sapphire-crystal display back. The choice of a modern manufacture caliber is logical as it combines vintage looks with modern-day watchmaking techniques.
Based on another iconic timepiece from Zenith’s archives, the DEFY Revival A3691 is a faithful remake of the A3691, based on an important 1971 reference. Outfitted with a vibrant red dial in a vignette effect, the DEFY Revival A3691 also marks the first of its kind to receive a vividly colored dial.
Reproduced using Zenith’s historical production plans, the Zenith Defy A3691 Revival Replica is presented with accurate details of the A3691 while distinguishing itself as a modern iteration — from the faceted octagonal case with a 14-sided bezel, and red vignetting dial with darkened edges, to its iconic Gay Fréres “ladder” bracelet. Aside from the color of the dial, the revived model also sets itself apart from its original inspiration on both the cosmetic and technical front, this includes an updated sapphire crystal, caseback, type of luminescent pigments used, to the newly configured Elite 670 automatic movement.