March 10, 2008 Luxury Swiss watchmaker Zenith’s Defy Xtreme range features a multi-layered dial of Hesalite glass surrounded by a blackened titanium case that is waterproof at 1000 meters, a titanium bracelet with Kevlar inserts and high-temperature resistance and a position sensitive gyroscope cage Tourbillon designed to enhance accuracy
The striking design's gyroscope cage tourbillon and constant horizontal escapement is a feature which means the mechanism avoids the effects of gravity. According to Zenith this is a " a major innovation in the world of watchmaking" providing "considerably greater accuracy". Reducing the effects of gravity was certainly a critical factor in 1795 when the tourbillon was invented and mechanical pocket watches (prone to inaccuracy because of gravity) were all the rage. We're not 100% sure of its impact on modern watch design, but it undoubtedly bestows a level of prestige and engineering prowess on the timepiece.
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The Tourbillon Zero-G comprises an escapement mounted on cardan joints rather like marine chronometers. The instrument, which is sensitive to changes of position, is kept in a constant horizontal position, thereby ensuring optimal amplitude for the spiral balance-wheel. A second gear train is the reference point for the swinging of the escapement axles and a differential gear with inverter compensates all the relative movements of the framework. The cage, which alone comprises 166 of the 294 parts that make up the device, 10 conical geared wheels with spiral teeth and 6 ball-bearings, was developed from the El Primero automatic caliber that boasts a speed of 36,000 vibrations an hour.
The Defy Xtreme SEA range comprises 4 models: a Tourbillon, an Open, an El Primero Chronograph and an Elite Power Reserve models All of which are water-resistant down to 1000 meters, with a new bezel made of black titanium with carbon inserts while the Defy Xtreme Stealth models are cased entirely in black or grey titanium and incorporate shock-resistant technology.
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