Watch this Place: Mojave desert

How the Mojave desert influenced Zenith’s new Defy Extreme watch

The best cup of coffee I ever tasted was served-up somewhere in Egypt’s Eastern Desert by a Bedouin tribesman called Abda who had carried the same barista kit for 30 years of his nomadic life: a small, metal crucible with a roughly soldered handle; a brightly decorated tin containing the beans; a palm-sized stone mortar paired with a pestle in the form of a hefty bolt; and four tiny, jewel-like cups that lived in a hand-carved wooden box.

Time didn’t have the same meaning to Abda as it does to us in the “Western” world – but he might still have appreciated Zenith’s Defy Extreme Desert, because it combines the maker’s famed El Primero chronograph movement with the scorched tones of Mexico’s Mojave desert.

The tough titanium case is topped with a bezel hewn from “falcon’s eye” quartz polished to a unique finish that gives it an almost liquid, mirage-like appearance, while a tinted sapphire crystal laid above the skeletonised movement echoes the sandy tone of the luminescent hands and markers.

A beige rubber strap completes this perfect desert watch – and with just 50 examples being made they’ll be about as rare as penguins in the Sahara.

But not quite…. 

Zenith Defy Extreme Desert, £18,500; zenith-watches.com

Simon de Burton is a journalist and author who writes for the FT’s How to Spend It, British GQ and Boat International, among others

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