It’s been 2 years since Zenith introduced the Defy Lab, essentially a concept watch that featured the brand’s novel take on the oscillator. This year they follow up on that watch with a slightly more commercial ready Defy Lab Inventor. This watch signals a step in validating the Zenith oscillator, having received chronometer certification from Timelab. Also unlike the first Defy Lab, you might be able to get your hands on one of these.
What is a Zenith oscillator, exactly? It doesn’t take much more than a glance to realize you’re looking at something very different from your average watch, and that’s because the oscillator is on full display through the skeletonized dial. Most watch mechanical watch movements utilize separate components for the balance wheel, balance spring, and the lever, all working to maintain impulses to the escapement. The Zenith oscillator is a single piece of silicon that takes over that functionality. Further, it’s not contained in a single pocket of the movement, rather it takes up a considerable area under the dial, which it needs as clearance for a manic level of movement you can observe under the dial. See it in action right here.
Big changes to the Inventor over the original include an increase in frequency of the oscillator, from 15 to 18 hertz, and a new escape wheel, which now utilizes flexible arms rather than rigid teeth. These changes add up to more reliable regulation allowing for the chronometer certification. This alone makes for a more marketable package that could see broader production in the years to come.
As a result, Zenith might actually sell you a Defy Lab Inventor for the price of $17,800. If that sounds reasonable, don’t sleep on contacting your prefered Zenith retailer as they may not be making these in high volumes. Learn more here.