The Zenith Defy 21 Felipe Pantone exemplifies creative contemporary art and avant-garde watchmaking.
Now, when it comes to contemporary art, few can match the expertise and talents of Felipe Pantone. A global sensation in the creative field, the Argentinian-Spanish artist is considered one of the brightest talents in contemporary art.
Instantly recognisable, polarising and never leaving observers indifferent, his work is coveted by art-lovers and those who love radical design. The artist has lent his talents to several projects over the years including a Hennessy bottle redesign in 2019. This year, Felipe Pantone collaborates with Zenith for a striking limited-edition timepiece.
The creative collaboration between the Manufacture and Felipe Pantone began in 2020 when Zenith offered the façade of its main building as a canvas to the contemporary artist. Taking it a step further, Zenith has now tasked the artist to reimagine one of its most advanced chronographs.
The goal was to create an object that was both an exceptional watch and a piece of wearable kinetic art. The result of this collaboration has produced the Defy 21 Felipe Pantone.
“I’m thrilled and humbled to be able to give my personal touch to a watch for the first time,” said Felipe Pantone. “Especially with a manufacture that I deeply admire for its innovation and daringness.”
The artist revealed his goal was to transform this spectacular piece of watchmaking into a wearable work of kinetic art. “It is where time and light converge into a single object. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result,” he added.
The Zenith Defy 21 Felipe Pantone
The timepiece stands as a strikingly colourful creation that is all about playing with frequencies – visually and mechanically. The high frequency El Primero 21 chronograph movement is utilised fully by the artist to express his “visible spectrum concept”. It is here where all the detectable frequencies of light and its refracted colours come into play.
One of its most striking features of the watch are the multi-coloured bridges, a signature trait in Pantone’s work. Using the principal of interference colours, the coating on the bridges reflects a gradient of metallic rainbow tones.
To see his artistic vision through, Zenith employed an innovative three-dimensional PVD with silicon particles. Used as a surface treatment on the movement, it produces a spectrum of perfectly transitioning colours. As a result of this, each piece will take on slightly different colours, essentially becoming a unique work of art.
The central hour and minute hands are no less extraordinary. They are modelled after the lightning bolts that figure in much of Pantone’s work with rainbow gradient of colours. The moiré optical effect produced by alternating white and black bands is a recurring theme in Pantone’s paintings and sculptures. Here, the concept has been miniaturised and reproduced on the top bridges and portions of the Defy 21 dial.
Using fine laser-engraving and lacquering techniques, the timepiece exudes an illusion of fluidic movement in the contrast of the stripes. The open dial is no less dynamic, with a mix of gradient and block colours on the markers and counters.
Signature Pantone Designs
Even the inanimate, external parts of the case have been revisited by the artist for a dynamic overhaul. The Defy 21 Felipe Pantone uses a black ceramic case featuring a grid pattern engraved on the bezel. “FP#1” is engraved on the four corners of the case, denoting “Felipe Pantone El Primero”. Allowing the chromatic dial and movement to stand out, a black textured rubber strap with a warped grid motif is employed.
For a bolder look that matches the striking tones of the dial and movement, a second rubber strap is offered. It features a central insert that goes from dark grey to a flash of all the colours in the spectrum, depending on the angle of light. The colours 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.
Fit for the work of art that it is, the Defy 21 Felipe Pantone comes in a presentation box that mimics a hardcover book. Its cover features a miniaturised painting the artist has created exclusively for this special series, complete with a signed certificate.
With the Defy 21 Felipe Pantone 100-piece limited edition, Zenith is deftly merging the worlds of contemporary art and watchmaking. Ultimately it stands as both a high-precision instrument as it is a piece of kinetic, wearable art. The Defy 21 Felipe Pantone will drop on 15 March 2021 at Zenith Boutiques as well as online.