Add watchmaker to Swizz Beatz’s ever-growing résumé. The Grammy Award–winning record producer, rapper, DJ, and entrepreneur has launched another new timepiece with Zenith, and this time he flew all the way to Switzerland to put his design stamp on the watch. “We’ve been collaborating with Swizz for the last 18 months; we started working with him when I joined the company,” says Zenith CEO Julien Tornare. “We launched the first set of watches with him a year ago in New York, and we wanted to do something with him that would be one step further. That means that we had him come to Switzerland and work with us on the design and creation of the watch. So he got really deeply involved in that and he met with the watchmakers, and it was a great experience.”
Zenith made this new watch—the Defy Classic Swizz Beatz Edition—even more special by making it the first watch the brand has ever sold directly to consumers through its website, which means that this Swizz Beatz timepiece is officially launching Zenith’s e-commerce platform. “We have to start somewhere in the world and it has to be the U.S., and I wanted to find a different angle than just selling a regular watch that we have in one of our brick-and-mortar locations,” says Tornare. “For us to move forward with our e-commerce, I thought this was the perfect opportunity, and Swizz has a very out-of-the-box, innovative spirit like us.”
It was Tornare’s boss, the watch-industry legend Jean-Claude Biver, who connected him to Swizz Beatz. Biver is famous both for forging forward-thinking partnerships with pop culture icons and for modernizing timepieces for Tag Heuer and Hublot—watches that might not appeal to traditionalists or heritage seekers but certainly attract new clients . . . and rake in big sales figures. Following Biver’s special recipe for success, Tornare is planning a big turnaround for Zenith in the same vein.
The new watch is a twist on the watchmaker’s Defy Collection—a line of very modern-looking watches that has become a focus for the brand under Tornare’s new direction. Zenith recently launched an all-black version of the Defy in ceramic and followed up that debut with the Zenith Defy Classic Swizz Beatz Edition ($7,900), which features a black ceramic case but boasts a bright orange textured rubber strap. A flange ring and central seconds hand also bear Swizz Beatz’s signature color (his first Zenith watches were also accented in orange). The watch also comes with a rubber-backed black alligator strap with orange stitching—a subtler nod to his favorite hue.
Limited to just 50 pieces, the watch will be available only online in the United States through Zenith, and it comes in a box that doubles as a functional turntable for playing 10-inch vinyl records. The watch is engraved with a quote that reads, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Confidence + Positivity = Longevity.” And that, ultimately, is Zenith’s brand-new outlook.