A New Take on a Classic: The Revival of the Zenith 1969 Defy A3648 Watch

Retro in orange.

A proper watch collection is not complete without at least one dive watch. Now it’s time to add another: the Zenith Defy Revival A3648, a new take on an oldie. The watch is a revival of the original 1969 model, one of Zenith‘s first dive watches.

Zenith has frequently turned to its archives for reissues. The approach is straightforward: maintain the original aesthetics as much as possible while upgrading the technical movements and materials. While not a creative formula, it is an effective one, particularly with appealing vintage models. Such is the case with the Defy Revival A3648.



Archive Defy advertisement courtesy of Zenith


Aesthetically, the 2024 model presented at Watches and Wonders is almost an exact match, with a dramatic steel case—the original was 39 millimetres; the new one is 37 millimetres—with a unidirectional rotating bezel and 4 o’clock crown. As is the case with any good diver, the dial is highly legible with large, luminescent hour-markers set into a vibrant-orange minute scale (orange has a high contrast to the blues and greens of water and is often used for diving instruments). It also has matching orange hands with luminescent tips. The sapphire back offers views of the Elite 670 automatic manufacture movement.

The Defy Revival retains the same depth rating of 600 metres, a considerable feat to have achieved in 1969 and still an impressive rating for such a compact diver’s watch. It’s a symbolic number for Zenith, as 600 metres is equal to 1,969 feet, the year the timepiece was released.

While dive watches are not a category of timepieces Zenith is particularly known for, this one is a keeper.