1970s Zenith Defy With Blue Dial

Sold for: $800.00

The History

When it comes to business strategy in the watch world, no decade beats the 1960s.  Many brands felt the automatic chronograph coming— a race was on to develop the first. Zenith was on the cutting edge through all of this. Back in 1958, Zenith acquired their long-time chronograph supplier, Martel Watch Company, and used the resources of their acquisition to develop what was to become their El Primero automatic chronograph. As Zenith dumped R&D into the El Primero project, massive catalog changes were planned for when the new chrono was ready. Zenith was to be positioned as a brand of the future. When the El Primero finally arrived in 1969, so did an almost entirely new catalogue of offerings with a distinct 1970s retrofuturism feel.

Zenith responded to early 1960s popular culture, obsessed with sports watches, particularly waterproof watches thanks to the world of diving being explored in film and television of the time. From Jacques Cousteau to the Kon-Tiki and Everest expeditions, hard-wearing, substantial, sports watches were in high demand.

In a case paying homage to Rolex’s first waterproof oyster case, the Defy is Zenith’s answer. Introduced alongside the El Primero, the name Defy was applied to a range of watches all with a similar aim— substantially built with a focus on shock protection and designed with a futuristic aesthetic.


The Reference

The Zenith Defy reference number 02.0380.380 has all of the classic defining elements of the Defy range of watches. That is a substantial rugged case, integrated bracelet, mineral crystal, screw down crown, and the workhorse chronometer grade, 28,000 bph Caliber 2562PC. There is a reason that the italians dubbed the Defy “il casa forte del tempo” or the strong house of the time. What is most amazing about these watches is how they blended form and function years before anybody else and can be considered the grandfather of the modern sports watch having been released years before the modern Genta classics. There is a reason that collectors like Greg Selch have such an appreciation for these watches.


The Case and Bracelet

The 37mm stainless steel case is in very good condition. The case and bracelet have seen a previous polish and small scratches can be seen throughout the case and bracelet but there are no major faults. The watch features a signed screw down crown, signed screw down case back, and a signed integrated bracelet that are all correct for the watch. Additionally, the mineral crystal is in matching very good condition with only minor scratches. The bracelet will fit up to a 7.5 inch wrist.


The Dial and Hands

The dial and hands of this watch are in great condition. The blue finish on these dials was very prone to degradation especially around the base of the hands and the hour markers but this dial shows very little fading which is fantastic. The blue itself is a great hue that is subtle in its execution and pairs nicely with the rest of the design.


The Movement

This watch features an automatic Zenith Caliber 2562PC movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown.


Seller CountingTime
Auction Number 319
Location New York City
Brand Zenith
Model Defy
Reference Number 02.0380.380
Movement Automatic, Zenith Caliber 2562PC
Year 1970s
Dial Blue
Case Width 37mm
Case Material Stainless Steel
Band Material Stainless Steel
Clasp Type Deployant
Original Box No
Original Papers No
Seller Type Dealer

Sold for: $800.00

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  1. cantydavis@gmail.com

    Hi There
    Very interested in the watch, would like to see a bit more on how the stretch is on the bracelet?