Zenith Defy A3642 vintage


Zenith logo

Zenith Defy
Ref. A3642

The octagonal case design, characterized by its scalloped edges, interplay of brushed and polished finishes, and intricate 14-sided bezel, was anything but ordinary.

Quick facts

Zenith's website

Brand: Zenith
Model: Defy "Vault"
Reference: A3642
Year: 1969
Case: Stainless steel, 37 mm, 14 sided
Caliber: 2552PC, automatic

What about it

Embracing the design ethos of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Defy adopted an audaciously angular octagonal case paired with a distinctive tetradecagonal bezel.

In 1969, the year that marked the debut of Zenith's El Primero, the original A3642 was unveiled as one of the pioneer Defy timepieces. These watches were designed with a sole objective: to set a higher benchmark for durability, surpassing the prevailing standards within the Swiss watch industry. This feat was accomplished through significant technical enhancements, offering a water resistance of up to 300 meters and introducing a robust mineral crystal, promising superior scratch resistance compared to traditional plexiglass. Zenith was among the earliest Swiss watchmakers to implement these pioneering upgrades.

Greg Selch describes vintage Defy as the "desert island watch". He shared an intriguing story recounting Zenith employees testing the shock resistance of the initial Defy prototypes. Their unconventional method involved hurling these prototypes out of a second-story window at the Le Locle-based manufacturing facility, landing on the concrete below.

Source: Hodinkee

Diameter icon



Lug width icon


Lug widthmm

Frequency icon



Power reserve icon


Power h

Crystal icon



Il casaforte del temp

The introduction of the Defy wristwatch in 1969 predated the emergence of the luxury sport watch genre by several years. While some visual cues in early Defy timepieces align with the subsequent 1970s-era sport watch design epitomized by the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Defy maintained a more utilitarian essence. It was fundamentally a robust timepiece designed for individuals leading active lifestyles.

The straightforwardness of this approach struck a chord - Italian collectors bestowed early Zenith Defy models with the nickname "Il casaforte del tempo," translating to "the time safe." Similarly, in French, it became affectionately known as the "coffre-fort," directly translating to "safe-deposit box" or "bank vault" in English. Vintage advertisements showcase these endearing monikers.

Source: Hodinkee

Zenith A3642 vintage

Defy's design

The taupe dial boasts a fumé finish, seamlessly transitioning from shades of grey at the center to a warm brown hue on the edges. Its applied hour markers sport horizontal grooves, fondly referred to by the Swiss Zenith team as "Toblerone," reminiscent of the famous ridged Swiss chocolate bar.

Complementing these markers are sword-shaped hands, while the white date window elegantly resides at the 4:30 position. The 37mm three-piece construction adorns the octagonal fully polished case with a distinctive 14-sided bezel, making for a remarkable design.

Zenith A3642 vintage
Zenith A3642 vintage Zenith A3642 vintage Zenith A3642 vintage Zenith A3642 vintage


Availability: rare in good condition
few watches on sale

Pricing: 2,000 - 3,000 €
Revival: 5,000€ (Dec 2023)



There are limited information published about vintage model. However, there are some articles available that cover the revival model while delving into vintage models as well.