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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Dear All,

I am a proud owner of a blue version of the new Zenith Defy 21 Skeleton. I love the watch in all aspects. I have had it since mid-May and besides a little hick-up with the blue leather strap which developed some stains when I accidentally splashed a little water on it while washing hands, the experience with the watch has been positive. However, a couple of weeks ago I noticed an oddity that won't let me sleep. When I start the chronograph everything is OK. Same when I stop it. HOWEVER, when I try resetting the Chrono, it misfires every so often bringing the big seconds arrow to a few ticks past zero (to the right (like between 12 and 5 or between 5 and 10). I tried playing with it and noticed several patterns if you would. 1) It doesn't happen every time. In other words, if I make a conscious (concentrated) effort to press the reset hard everything is OK but if I press it normally like the start button, this oddity occurs. 2) Pressing the reset 2nd time corrects this misfire. 3) I think this misalignment occurs when I reset the Chrono while the big seconds hand is between 0 and 30 (in other words on the right half of the dial). I don't recall it happening if the hand is stopped on the left half, i.e. past 30 (but I could be wrong here).

Is this normal for an el primero mechanism? I have had another Chrono by Ulysse Nardin for over 15 years and never have I seen such a thing. I am wondering if something is wrong with the watch and I need to send it in for service while still under warranty or is this something that is natural for el primeros? Maybe this is normal for these new Defys? Anyone has had a similar experience?
 

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No, I'm afraid it's not normal. The good news is that nothing is bust, the bad news is that a professional watchmaker will nevertheless have to see it. Since it is presumably on warranty, you should let Zenith do it.

Chronographs are fiddly things since they don't just have to be assembled and the balance regulated - the whole chronograph mechanism has to be adjusted. The interplay of the different parts is vital for the thing to function properly. In your case, I suspect that the chrono brake tends to hit the chrono seconds gear reset block (that little heart shaped thing) just a touch too early or too late, resulting in the hand stopping a little off the 12:00 mark. Good luck in getting it fixed.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Hartmut. Oddly enough, a few days ago I stopped by a local high end watch store (AD of Breguet, JLC, IWC, Bovet, Zenith, Breitling, J Droz, etc) and chatted with a friendly sales rep who knows me. I was showing her my new Zenith acquisition Ultra Thin Hennessy edition and happened to mention to her that I was experiencing this problem. She had discussed this with their watchmaker (certified and all) who said that this is perfectly OK and that I just need to push the reset pusher harder. The response made little sense to me being that this problem developed only recently. Which is why I decided to write on this forum.

What I am wondering at this point is if other owners have had a similar problems or am i the only "lucky" owner.

No, I'm afraid it's not normal. The good news is that nothing is bust, the bad news is that a professional watchmaker will nevertheless have to see it. Since it is presumably on warranty, you should let Zenith do it.

Chronographs are fiddly things since they don't just have to be assembled and the balance regulated - the whole chronograph mechanism has to be adjusted. The interplay of the different parts is vital for the thing to function properly. In your case, I suspect that the chrono brake tends to hit the chrono seconds gear reset block (that little heart shaped thing) just a touch too early or too late, resulting in the hand stopping a little off the 12:00 mark. Good luck in getting it fixed.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hartmut, what do you know! Look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsiRFglTAIc
At 2:25 he resets the chrono and small seconds on the 60-second dial at 6 o'clock misaligns after resetting. He even mentions that one must push it hard. Wow! I am really surprised. I sent a question ro Zenith via their fcbk page. I hope they respond!

No, I'm afraid it's not normal. The good news is that nothing is bust, the bad news is that a professional watchmaker will nevertheless have to see it. Since it is presumably on warranty, you should let Zenith do it.

Chronographs are fiddly things since they don't just have to be assembled and the balance regulated - the whole chronograph mechanism has to be adjusted. The interplay of the different parts is vital for the thing to function properly. In your case, I suspect that the chrono brake tends to hit the chrono seconds gear reset block (that little heart shaped thing) just a touch too early or too late, resulting in the hand stopping a little off the 12:00 mark. Good luck in getting it fixed.

Hartmut Richter
 

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????? On a "normal" chronograph, it's all or nothing - and if not, the system is badly adjusted. My chronograph (Cal 410) never plays up like this and I've had it for years. If you "have to push harder", it's a faulty design, IMO.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hartmut, how do I make this thread more noticeable? I want to see if other owners of Defy 21 have had similar experience. Otherwise, it seems like nobody else besides you sees it. Thnx.

????? On a "normal" chronograph, it's all or nothing - and if not, the system is badly adjusted. My chronograph (Cal 410) never plays up like this and I've had it for years. If you "have to push harder", it's a faulty design, IMO.

Hartmut Richter
 

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There is no real way - threads show up for everyone and are highlighted if you haven't read them yet. I would suggest posting in "Public" (/f2 - "Zenith" is /f27) where there is a greater community and cross linking to this thread. I would ask you not to start a separate thread there (even though people may answer directly) or else to link the new thread in "Public" here if it turns out to be more successful.

Hartmut Richter
 

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You probably won’t get more traffic from other Zenith EP 21 owners elsewhere. I’m guessing the highest concentration is right here. You could maybe post your question in threads started by other members about their own EP 21s.

Concerning the chrono reset question, I don’t own a 21, only regular El Primeros and despite the similar name I doubt that observations from a caliber 400 would apply to a Lab 21. On any case, when the central seconds hand doesn’t go to zero on mine it’s been because the hand is loose. In resets at random spots erratically and there is a swing effect depending on how far the had has to travel to reset. The behaviour of your watch leads me to think that it is probably a calibration problem of the chronograph components as Hartmut has pointed out and not a loose second hand.

Another chronograph that went weird on me was my Ebel caliber 139. If I pressed down on the start button very slowly the second hand would move ahead by five or even up to eight seconds without the clutch clicking into the start position. Once it finally clicked it would start at plus 5 to plus 8. I would have to press the button quickly to avoid the chrono gaining a head start. Pretty annoying, so I sold it. I do regret it though as it was a really cool watch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you! I plan to observe the behavior of the Chrono. Just 2 days ago I took my Ulysse Nardin to have the bracelet adjusted and actually spoke with a watchmaker at the local AD. He told me that this is due to some sort of magnetic component with the pushers. He apparently experienced the same issue when they first received these watches. He had addressed Zenith with this question and they told him that it needed to be pushed harder. Hard push actually avoids the issue. Go figure... I need to observe this for a little longer. Thnx for pointing out re other threards elsewhere. Will definitely do it.

You probably won’t get more traffic from other Zenith EP 21 owners elsewhere. I’m guessing the highest concentration is right here. You could maybe post your question in threads started by other members about their own EP 21s.

Concerning the chrono reset question, I don’t own a 21, only regular El Primeros and despite the similar name I doubt that observations from a caliber 400 would apply to a Lab 21. On any case, when the central seconds hand doesn’t go to zero on mine it’s been because the hand is loose. In resets at random spots erratically and there is a swing effect depending on how far the had has to travel to reset. The behaviour of your watch leads me to think that it is probably a calibration problem of the chronograph components as Hartmut has pointed out and not a loose second hand.

Another chronograph that went weird on me was my Ebel caliber 139. If I pressed down on the start button very slowly the second hand would move ahead by five or even up to eight seconds without the clutch clicking into the start position. Once it finally clicked it would start at plus 5 to plus 8. I would have to press the button quickly to avoid the chrono gaining a head start. Pretty annoying, so I sold it. I do regret it though as it was a really cool watch.
 

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Hi. I have a Defy 21. I also experienced the same issue. You need to hit the reset button flush for it to go back to position '0'. I have been told by Zenith that this is normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you TAG Fan! I have been getting paranoid about it. and it seems to me that it's happening more and more frequently. Maybe it is in my head. and for sure, if they're saying this it makes no sense to send it in for service because they wont do anything about it. Frustrating to say the least :(

Hi. I have a Defy 21. I also experienced the same issue. You need to hit the reset button flush for it to go back to position '0'. I have been told by Zenith that this is normal.
 

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Out of interest, which Ulysse Nardin chrono do you own?

Concerning the EP 21, I’m surprised that it has these issues. The chronograph on that movement has a separate escapement and drive train from the time telling function. It doesn’t have to deal with the complexity of meshing in and out of the regular drive train the way that the regular El Primero does. I wonder how much the reset function differs from a regular chrono. I’m having trouble finding where it might be by examining the movement. It’s likely to be somewhere in the center under that plate near the spring barrel and central seconds. Or maybe it’s on the lower right where that strange set of gears is located (front face).

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
WTSP, I have a Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph 353-88-7.62 - Caliber 35. It's a derivative of ETA 2892-A2. 353-88-7.62.jpg


Here is the answer that zenith provided to me via their facebook chat: "Actually the 9004 is not like every chronographs, and to reset it you have to push a bit harder on the reset button than the start button. so there is nothing wrong with your watch." When I mentioned that the concern for me is that this thing keeps happening more and more frequently they replied that "that's not normal, You have to go to your closest authorized retailer." But I am such a head case with a clearly developed OCD that by now it could be completely in my head about the increasing frequency. So I decided to observe and see where it goes. One thing is for sure that it wasn't doing this from May (when I purchased it) till Sept, not that I used the chrono too often but I still used it a few times. On the flip side of it, Zenith is known to pretend there is no issue with their watches until and unless you rub it in their face that there is a problem (this was the case with their elite based pilot watches and I experienced this first hand). So time will tell I suppose. I still have over 18 months left on the warranty.

Out of interest, which Ulysse Nardin chrono do you own?

Concerning the EP 21, I’m surprised that it has these issues. The chronograph on that movement has a separate escapement and drive train from the time telling function. It doesn’t have to deal with the complexity of meshing in and out of the regular drive train the way that the regular El Primero does. I wonder how much the reset function differs from a regular chrono. I’m having trouble finding where it might be by examining the movement. It’s likely to be somewhere in the center under that plate near the spring barrel and central seconds. Or maybe it’s on the lower right where that strange set of gears is located (front face).

 

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That UN Marine chronograph movement's ETA 2894 (or related movement) certainly is tried and true. I'm not surprised you've never had issues with it. I had a similar watch with a Dubois Debraz 2020 module mounted on a 2824 rather than a 2892. The one issue it had was that on starting the chronograph the running seconds would pause for a millisecond. I presume it was because the 2824 doesn't handle the increased load of the chronograph function as well as the 2892.

I don't think you need to worry about feeling OCD about your experience with your watch. I'm fairly sure most serious watch enthusiasts have OCD in one form or another. It just goes with the territory. I watched the video you posted from Watchuwant. It reminds me a little bit of what I experience with my Ebel 139. Aside from the central seconds getting off to a head start if I pressed the start button too slowly, I had to press the reset button all the way down to ensure that the three-pronged minute hand reset to zero. It seems as though in a regular chrono the reset action relies on a spring which just needs to be activated to bring the watch to a full reset, while the caliber 139 seemed to need some force from the user to move the reset function all the way to its final position. Maybe the Zenith 9004 is a bit like that as well.

I sympathise with your note about watch brands pretending that there isn't an issue until there are enough complaints. I have an IWC Big Pilot 5004-02. I recall how IWC stated in its literature that the caliber 5000 "could run for eight days but that IWC was reducing it to seven in order to ensure unparalleled accuracy" or something of that nature, touting its brilliant design and accuracy. In fact the single barreled early generation caliber 5000 movements are fairly inaccurate at various points of the power reserve. Mine has run at +7 when fully wound, +20 in the 3-5 days range and -20 in the 0-2 days range. It didn't surprise me when they released the dual barrel version in recent years, which I believe is an improvement meant to deal with the previous version's inaccuracy.

This is one of the reasons why I like tried and true calibers like the El Primero or Vulcain movements. They have that combination of being interesting technically and also tough. None of the new watch movements will ever be vetted by the consumer market the way the pre-quartz ones were.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Brother, thank you for sharing this and for the support and time spent on this. With UN the only issue that I experienced and it is unrelated to the chronograph function per se, is that it needs service every 5 years religiously. The watch starts losing time and usually stops running within a few weeks. It needs lubrication/overhaul which ends up costing an arm and a leg. For so long as UN was independent it cost around $500 (US) but the last service cost me a $1000 which kind of prompted me to give this timepiece a well-deserved rest and get another sports watch to play with.

I was told by the certified watchmaker guy (for the lack of a better word) at the local AD ( I mentioned somewhere above that I had spoken with him in person) that it's a magnet based architecture behind these pushers. Does it make sense? I am not so technically savvy to understand such intricacies. You seem more knowledgeable about the inner workings.

Hmmm, IWC big pilot was another watch that was on my list of eventual acquisitions. Actually, this is the only watch I can have from IWC in my collection (being that the collection lacks an IWC). I just dont like their design language. I used to like their Portuguese chronos but they kind of tired me. Do you not recommend a Big Pilot?

I totally agree with time testing concept. I like time tested things as well but the world has changed. Now they (companies) want to make you spend more money and they churn out new things and improvements incrementally to induce us to spend more $$. This is horrible... They do the same thing in the auto industry. They no longer build cars to last. They put a lot of technology (gadgets) in them with gets outdated waaay to fast, let alone the fact that even the engineering aspect of it (metal, engine, etc) isnt there any more.

That UN Marine chronograph movement's ETA 2894 (or related movement) certainly is tried and true. I'm not surprised you've never had issues with it. I had a similar watch with a Dubois Debraz 2020 module mounted on a 2824 rather than a 2892. The one issue it had was that on starting the chronograph the running seconds would pause for a millisecond. I presume it was because the 2824 doesn't handle the increased load of the chronograph function as well as the 2892.

I don't think you need to worry about feeling OCD about your experience with your watch. I'm fairly sure most serious watch enthusiasts have OCD in one form or another. It just goes with the territory. I watched the video you posted from Watchuwant. It reminds me a little bit of what I experience with my Ebel 139. Aside from the central seconds getting off to a head start if I pressed the start button too slowly, I had to press the reset button all the way down to ensure that the three-pronged minute hand reset to zero. It seems as though in a regular chrono the reset action relies on a spring which just needs to be activated to bring the watch to a full reset, while the caliber 139 seemed to need some force from the user to move the reset function all the way to its final position. Maybe the Zenith 9004 is a bit like that as well.

I sympathise with your note about watch brands pretending that there isn't an issue until there are enough complaints. I have an IWC Big Pilot 5004-02. I recall how IWC stated in its literature that the caliber 5000 "could run for eight days but that IWC was reducing it to seven in order to ensure unparalleled accuracy" or something of that nature, touting its brilliant design and accuracy. In fact the single barreled early generation caliber 5000 movements are fairly inaccurate at various points of the power reserve. Mine has run at +7 when fully wound, +20 in the 3-5 days range and -20 in the 0-2 days range. It didn't surprise me when they released the dual barrel version in recent years, which I believe is an improvement meant to deal with the previous version's inaccuracy.

This is one of the reasons why I like tried and true calibers like the El Primero or Vulcain movements. They have that combination of being interesting technically and also tough. None of the new watch movements will ever be vetted by the consumer market the way the pre-quartz ones were.
 

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Brother, thank you for sharing this and for the support and time spent on this. With UN the only issue that I experienced and it is unrelated to the chronograph function per se, is that it needs service every 5 years religiously. The watch starts losing time and usually stops running within a few weeks. It needs lubrication/overhaul which ends up costing an arm and a leg. For so long as UN was independent it cost around $500 (US) but the last service cost me a $1000 which kind of prompted me to give this timepiece a well-deserved rest and get another sports watch to play with.

I was told by the certified watchmaker guy (for the lack of a better word) at the local AD ( I mentioned somewhere above that I had spoken with him in person) that it's a magnet based architecture behind these pushers. Does it make sense? I am not so technically savvy to understand such intricacies. You seem more knowledgeable about the inner workings.

Hmmm, IWC big pilot was another watch that was on my list of eventual acquisitions. Actually, this is the only watch I can have from IWC in my collection (being that the collection lacks an IWC). I just dont like their design language. I used to like their Portuguese chronos but they kind of tired me. Do you not recommend a Big Pilot?

I totally agree with time testing concept. I like time tested things as well but the world has changed. Now they (companies) want to make you spend more money and they churn out new things and improvements incrementally to induce us to spend more $$. This is horrible... They do the same thing in the auto industry. They no longer build cars to last. They put a lot of technology (gadgets) in them with gets outdated waaay to fast, let alone the fact that even the engineering aspect of it (metal, engine, etc) isnt there any more.
Hey, it’s a pleasure discussing watches with a fellow enthusiast!

$1000 for a non in house chrono is a little steep. I agree that at a certain point when the service fees get so high it makes you want to move along and try something else. I always thought expensive service was not a good thing for the industry as it prevents collectors from buying more. But I guess in your experience it actually led to getting a new watch, so the verdict may still be out on the effect of service experience and cost.

I’d only be willing to pay four figured to service a watch that’s exceptionally complicated or with technology that isn’t very common. I presume that service fees for the caliber 21 will be relatively high in the long run, lucky you have the warranty for now. Hopefully the regular caliber 400 will stay below $1k for the foreseeable future. I also wonder how many parties are taking margins on each service.

Incidentally, my last service on my Big Pilot was $700. I had to pay about $1000 for my Girard Perregaux Vintage 1945 which was crazy because it was a three hand automatic with no date. I feel like te higher end companies just charge high prices as a way to maintain their overall pricing strategy and premium positioning.

In any case, since you asked about the IWC BP, I think it’s definitely worth getting one of the more recent generation models with the twin spring barrels. As a watch overall it’s a complex piece to own. On one hand it’s think, wide and heavy, which means it’s not the most comfortable to wear and you always feel it there. On the other hand, it had a lot of character and presence as an object, while still being a relatively conservative design, which makes it very wearable from an aesthetic level. Based on that and the fact that it has a long power reserve it’s a good piece to have in a rotation. Maybe not as an only watch though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
WTSP,

JLC charged me $1000 for servicing a Master Hometime. I've had it since 2005 and it's been in service only once. So I figured it was not so bad compared to shelling out $500 every 5 years for the UN. Plus I thought JLC was more pricey because it is more high end. But as I mentioned, the last service at UN also ran 1K so go figure. Overall, even if UN stayed at 500, I would have still paid out more for the UN service than the JLC because I bought them 1 year apart.

I do not know if more than one party is dipping into my service fees. I always send the watches for service through Cellini Jewelers in NYC. I kind of assumed that they provided this service for free (just shipping being added to the manufacturer's price) but I could be wrong. Come to think of it, when the watches are under warranty they charge nothing. So if they add nothing on top of the service cost when the watch is in warranty why would they add a fee when it's out of the warranty, correct? And I doubt that the watch manufacturer pays them anything while in warranty as opposed to when it's outside that period. I should actually look into this once my next service comes due. But more importantly, I recently learned that there is a way to send the watches for repair to the factory in switzerland as opposed to some Joe Shmo flying an authorized repair service center flag somewhere in New Jersey or Texas. I WANT THAT!!! :))) So many times these local schmucks send the watch back without checking them, and I was forced to return it for further fixing or cleaning the piece.

I dont mind big chunky watches as long as they dont look grotesque on my skinny wrist. I have a ZENITH PILOT MONTRE D'AERONEF TYPE 20 GMT 1903 which is quite sizable as well. I enjoy wearing it quite a bit. It just needs to fit the wrist well. And you're correct, it's the 7 day power reserve that entices me in that watch. I could work it into my rotation and not worry about it running out of juice if I do not have a free spot in my winder. And I like heavy watches in general, even though my pilot is in titanium and I guess is less heavy than the IWC would be. So I'll make a mental note to look for the twin barrel variant.

Thnx for sharing!

Hey, it’s a pleasure discussing watches with a fellow enthusiast!

$1000 for a non in house chrono is a little steep. I agree that at a certain point when the service fees get so high it makes you want to move along and try something else. I always thought expensive service was not a good thing for the industry as it prevents collectors from buying more. But I guess in your experience it actually led to getting a new watch, so the verdict may still be out on the effect of service experience and cost.

I’d only be willing to pay four figured to service a watch that’s exceptionally complicated or with technology that isn’t very common. I presume that service fees for the caliber 21 will be relatively high in the long run, lucky you have the warranty for now. Hopefully the regular caliber 400 will stay below $1k for the foreseeable future. I also wonder how many parties are taking margins on each service.

Incidentally, my last service on my Big Pilot was $700. I had to pay about $1000 for my Girard Perregaux Vintage 1945 which was crazy because it was a three hand automatic with no date. I feel like te higher end companies just charge high prices as a way to maintain their overall pricing strategy and premium positioning.

In any case, since you asked about the IWC BP, I think it’s definitely worth getting one of the more recent generation models with the twin spring barrels. As a watch overall it’s a complex piece to own. On one hand it’s think, wide and heavy, which means it’s not the most comfortable to wear and you always feel it there. On the other hand, it had a lot of character and presence as an object, while still being a relatively conservative design, which makes it very wearable from an aesthetic level. Based on that and the fact that it has a long power reserve it’s a good piece to have in a rotation. Maybe not as an only watch though.
 

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I own a Defy21 and had this exact same problem. After realising that this was a common issue (from videos on youtube) and my sales rep saying I just needed to press the reset button harder, I also came across some people who said they had no problems at all as well with the chrono reset. So it is just the luck of the draw whether u get a defective reset piece and thus I demanded for it to be replaced a week after I got my piece brand new. They replaced my piece a week later and never saw the same problem again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That may be a good idea!

I own a Defy21 and had this exact same problem. After realising that this was a common issue (from videos on youtube) and my sales rep saying I just needed to press the reset button harder, I also came across some people who said they had no problems at all as well with the chrono reset. So it is just the luck of the draw whether u get a defective reset piece and thus I demanded for it to be replaced a week after I got my piece brand new. They replaced my piece a week later and never saw the same problem again.
 

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I actually have a pair of Defy 21... the Ti model and the black ceramic model and neither has the hard reset issue. The Ti one is a year and a half old while the ceramic one is 6 months old. Both AD watches. The Ti one did have to go back to Zenith because the reverser was going bad... when you manually wind the movement it would catch the wheel and start to spin it. Also the power reserve for the chronograph on the Ti one wouldn’t go all the way to left to show it was fully wound. Took zenith 3 months to get it all fixed and back to me.
 
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