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http://www.thewatchbox.com During the mid-2000s, the Big Watch Battle raged unimpeded. Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak Offshore found itself going blow-for-blow with a new generation of "plus-sized models," and the Defy Xtreme Sea Chronograph was Zenith's challenger. As the brainchild of flamboyant and controversial former Zenith CEO Theirry Nataf, the Defy Xtreme Chronograph was an extrovert even by the standards of its class. Nataf personally designed the watch to embody the image and attitude of luxury dream machines like Lamborghini automobiles, Gulfstream jets, and Cigarette speedboats. The result was an unprecedented take on the legendary Zenith El Primero chronograph. The historic movement's new case was rendered in titanium; a helium release valve ensured a 1000m dive limit and decompression afterward. The dial was a three-dimensional feast for the eyes featuring multiple layers, exotic forms, skeletonization, and an exposed movement plate with perlage finish. The kevlar/titanium bracelet completed the package. In the hand, Nataf's singular El Primero feels like a bank vault crossed with a submarine crossed with a Hummer. It's seriously substantial, well-built, but surprisingly light due to the Ti/Kevlar/Carbon composite build. The robust crown shoulders and guard protect the business end of the chronograph mechanism, and a striking PVD black is set off by accents of deep navy blue. Inside the case, Zenith's historic El Primero chronograph beats away at 36,000 VpH, and the characteristic "snick-snick" of its crisp chronograph pushers make it a pleasure to use. The auto-winding El Primero forever will hold the title as the first integrated and automatic-winding chronograph caliber, and its performance remains as impressive today as it was upon debut in 1969. This Zenith Defy Xtreme Sea Chronograph is a throwback to a time that is already beginning to develop an historic persona. Back when the Subprime mortgage bond market was booming, Eminem owned the top 40, and any VIP public appearance called for a Hummer H2 - bare minimum - big watches like this Defy Xtreme ruled the prime real estate in jewelers' showrooms. While the others have fallen by the wayside, this Zenith remains a striking and strikingly well-built luxury sports watch option. Now available from thewatchbox.com with full box, papers, and factory accessories, this Zenith Defy Xtreme remains one of the boldest and most provocative luxury watches available. Video and content by Tim Mosso.