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The Octagonal Defy

  1. slique12

    slique12 Jun 1, 2018

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    Hi OF

    I’ve been fascinated by the original Defy line of watches for some time now and thought I’d put together a thread based on my observations from researching them online. I don’t believe any of this information is necessarily new but having it in one place should make it more accessible for those interested.

    For this thread, I’ll be focusing on the Octagonal case style that was made between 1969 and 1975. There were three other case styles also produced during this period – the Barrel case, the Spaceman, and the TV style. Personally, I find the octagonal cases to be the most reminiscent of 70’s design.

    Crown at 3’o clock position:

    The early ones come with the cal 2552 PC movement that beats at 21,600 bph. There are five different dials – khaki and white with chunky markers, and white, brown and black/charcoal with elongated markers.

    Khaki (A 3642)
    IMG_0687 (1).jpg

    White (A xxxx)
    20190210_100122.jpg

    White (A 3643)

    A3643.jpg

    Brown (A 3644)
    A3644.JPG

    Black/charcoal (A 3645)
    A3645.jpg

    The later models have the upgraded cal 2562 PC movement that beats at 28,800 bph. There are five different dials – khaki, white, black/charcoal, turquoise, and burgundy. Some have the elongated hour markers while others have the square, chunky hour markers. Notice the 28,800 printed on the dial.

    Khaki (A 3642)
    A3642.jpg

    White (A 3643)
    A3643 (2).jpg

    Black/Charcoal (A 3645)
    A3645 (2).jpg

    Turquoise (A 3690 - reference number unconfirmed)
    A3690.jpg

    Burgundy (A 3691)
    A3691.jpg

    Then there is the 18k gold version available for both men and women. The men's version comes with either a gold or dark green dial while the women's version comes with a white dial.

    Men's, Gold (G20672)
    G20672.jpg

    Men's, Dark Green (G20672, same as the gold dial)
    G20672 (2).jpg

    Women's, White (ref needed)
    1.png

    Lastly, there are two SS women versions that come with a brown and blue dial.

    Brown (AX 3678)

    AX3678.jpg

    Blue (ref unknown)
    1.jpg

    Crown at 4:30 position:

    The Defy sub-sea line has the octagonal case but with the crown at 4:30. It also has different style hands and bakelite bezels. There are four different dials: white and black with the roulette bezel, and orange and black that are mirror images of each other.

    White (A 3646)
    A3646.jpg

    Black (A 3646, same as the white dial)
    A3646(2).jpg

    Orange (A 3648)
    A3648 (2).jpg

    Black (A 3648, same as the orange dial)
    A3648.jpg

    The Sub-Sea line also includes two other references which were released later. These don't have a bakelite bezel and have unique hands. The dials are blue, beige and black. Note the reference numbers used for these are based on the newer reference system that was introduced by Zenith in 1972. Finally, the movement used in these is the automatic cal 2572 PC.

    Blue (01.1500.380)
    01-1500-380.jpg

    Beige (01.1501.380)
    01-1501-380.jpg

    Black (01.1501.380)
    DSC00795.JPG

    There also exists another Defy with the crown at 4:30 that isn't classified as a Sub-Sea. This single reference has a blue dial with a silver minute track. This reference comes with either the cal 2552 PC or the cal 2562 PC.

    Blue (A 3651) w/ cal 2552 PC
    A3651.jpg


    Blue (A 3651) w/ cal 2562 PC
    A3651(2).jpg

    A couple notes to end:
    - The information in this thread has been pulled together from various pages around the web. If an example is missing or if information is incorrect, I'd appreciate your help to make this thread more accurate and comprehensive. Also, I realize there is a book called Zenith: Swiss Watch Manufacture Since 1865 by Manfred Rossler that contains valuable information on the topic. I have not referenced it here as I do not own a copy.
    - Pictures are the property of their rightful owners and are borrowed for educational purposes.
     
    Edited Mar 1, 2019
  2. aap

    aap Jun 1, 2018

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    Oh, this has been on my wish list for quite some time already. Haven't been lucky yet.

    And yeah, thank Kushal, for compiling all these pics!
     
    Edited Jun 1, 2018
  3. BenBagbag

    BenBagbag Jun 1, 2018

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    These are nice... Thanks for sharing the info and resource!
     
  4. cristos71

    cristos71 Jun 1, 2018

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    Great watches for sure, I like the orange variants the best :)

    20170706_233056.jpg
     
  5. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Jun 1, 2018

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    Good initiative with this thread.

    Are you sure the turquoise is original, and not just a transplant of the dial and movement from one of the slab case Defys? For example, have you located any factory literature on it? catalogs, brochures, etc?
     
    aap likes this.
  6. slique12

    slique12 Jun 1, 2018

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    I haven't seen any factory literature or catalogs that show the A 3690. So not sure, but it is an educated guess.

    We know Zenith released both the burgundy and turquoise dial in the barrel (tonneau) case:

    A7682
    A7682.jpg

    A7683
    A7683.jpg

    We also know that Zenith released the Defy as an El Primero automatic chronograph with both the burgundy and turquoise dial.

    A781
    A781.jpg

    A782
    A782.jpg

    Now, for the octagonal cases Rossler shows an example of the burgundy dial.

    A3691
    A3691 (Rossler).jpg

    This tells us that the A 3691 exists. I believe it is then a fair likelihood that Zenith also released this case type with the other dial - the turquoise dial A 3690. Thoughts?

    What is, however, an obvious dial replacement is this example. Dial from A 7681 (barrel case) in an octagonal case.
    Unknown Reference.jpg
     
    Edited Jun 1, 2018
    mxmorato, qboa, GregH and 4 others like this.
  7. Tet

    Tet I prefer Dilmah do try it Jun 1, 2018

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    A customer of mine has a turquoise dial hex Defy exactly as pictured and as I love the watch have asked him about it in the past, he said he bought it from new back in the 70's.
     
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  8. Seaman

    Seaman Jun 1, 2018

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    Useful thread, thank you for sharing.
     
  9. staristheanswer

    staristheanswer Jun 2, 2018

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    The Audemars Piguet of the Zenith.Beautiful watch!
     
  10. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Jun 2, 2018

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    @slique12 Where are we getting the A 3690 reference number for the turquoise dial?
     
  11. ulackfocus

    ulackfocus Jun 2, 2018

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    So do I - BLACK & ORANGE rule!!!!!
     
  12. Jkuback

    Jkuback Jun 3, 2018

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    chased one some weeks ago - an I love it - it's my weekender always on :)
     
    IMG_20180520_165446.jpg
    mxmorato, wristpirate, aap and 2 others like this.
  13. dougiedude

    dougiedude Carpe horologium! Jun 3, 2018

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    Very cool to have a dedicated thread to these highly under-rated Zeniths!

    Kudos to you, Kushal!
     
  14. chronoboy64

    chronoboy64 Jun 3, 2018

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    Great thread ! Thanks für sharing the nice pics :thumbsup:
     
  15. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Jun 3, 2018

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    Sharp case, which is the key in these Defy. No watch was ruined more thoroughly by a sloppy polish than the Miura-case Defy.
     
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  16. Jkuback

    Jkuback Jun 3, 2018

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    Great thread and the included information is very hard to find elsewhere - great thanks @slique12

    My learnings when buying:
    Take Care about original crystal, original crown and polished Case. Especially crystal and crown are hard to find.
     
  17. Tet

    Tet I prefer Dilmah do try it Jun 4, 2018

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    Indeed, I hunted for the prefect one for a good couple of years but have up in the end and moved on. Still would love one but sharp cased examples have really sky rocketed recently. Soft edges really kill the charm of this watch, much more so that usual.
     
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  18. Tet

    Tet I prefer Dilmah do try it Jun 4, 2018

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    I always wondered how is the correct pronunciation for Defy, is it "deaf-e" or "deaf-i"?
     
  19. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Jun 4, 2018

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    Derived from "défi" in french, so if you want to be linguistically pure, /defi/ or "de-fee," accent on the second syllable. If you want english speakers to know what you are talking about, "defy" will do.
     
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  20. slique12

    slique12 Jun 4, 2018

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    @LouS I see where you are coming from here. If there is no factory documentation found thus far for this reference, then:
    1) How do we know this reference exists?
    2) And if it does, how do we know if A 3690 is the reference number?

    Regarding 1), in addition to my response above about Zenith releasing two other references with both burgundy and turquoise dials, the fact that there have been a fair number of turquoise dial octagonal examples seen over the years (vs say the brown with the red accents) also adds some weight to the originality argument. But, even taking both arguments together doesn't create a water tight case for originality. For that, we would need some factory documentation.

    Regarding 2), I borrowed this reference number from readings on another watch forum. However, what is interesting to me is that the turquoise dial reference numbers for the other two models are 1 digit higher than the burgundy dials. Based on that numbering system, it makes me wonder if the octagonal cased turquoise dials would be 1 digit higher than the A 3691, so A 3692 instead of A 3690.
     
    mxmorato likes this.