In 2020, Zenith has famously offered the façade of its main building as a canvas to the contemporary artist Felipe Pantone. This year the Argentinian-Spanish creator has reimagined the Swiss watchmaker’s most advanced chronograph to date. The DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is a highly chromatic and visually striking timepiece that brings a different notion of art to watchmaking. The watch is limited to 100 pieces.
One of the most striking elements of the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone are the multi-colored bridges, a signature feature in Pantone’s work. Using the principle of interference colors, the coating on the bridges reflects a gradient of metallic rainbow tones. Requiring months of trials and finding the appropriate solution with specialists to achieve this rainbow effect, the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone is the first watch to ever use this innovative kind of three-dimensional PVD with silicon particles as a surface treatment on a movement to produce a spectrum of perfectly transitioning colors.
The central hour and minute hands are distorted to resemble the lightning bolts with a rainbow gradient of colors applied through the same state-of-the-art process as the movement’s bridges.
The moiré optical effect, a recurring theme in Felipe Pantone’s paintings and sculptures, has been miniaturized and reproduced on the top bridges and portions of the dial of the DEFY 21, using fine laser-engraving and lacquering techniques so precise that they provide an optical illusion of fluidic movement in the contrast of the stripes. The open dial features a mix of gradient and block colors on the markers and counters.
External parts of the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone case have been reimagined by the artist. The black ceramic DEFY 21 features a grid pattern engraved on the bezel, and “FP#1” engraved on the four corners of the case, denoting “Felipe Pantone El Primero”. The watch comes on a black textured rubber strap with a warped grid motif. A second rubber strap with a central insert that goes from dark grey to a flash of all the colors in the spectrum, depending on the angle of light, is offered as well. The colors are not actually embedded in the strap but are the result of iridescence caused by the surface of the material and how it reflects light.
The DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone comes in a presentation box that looks like a hardcover book. On its cover is a miniaturized painting that Felipe Pantone created exclusively for this special series, complete with a signed certificate.
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