The complete guide to Zodiac watches

The Zodiac Watch Company catalog dates back over 100 years, but today you’ll find it mostly at its height in the mid-20th century. Diving watches are at the heart of the modern brand, and you’ll find them with a mix of serious tool watch vibes, bright colors and solid automatic movements. If you’re interested in Zodiac, chances are you’re here for its (Super) Sea Wolf which, alongside Rolex and Blancpain, introduced the first commercially available diver’s watches in 1953.

Founded in 1882 in Le Locle, the heart of the Swiss watch industry, Zodiac was created by watchmaker Ariste Calame with particular emphasis on precision timekeeping. While this first manifested itself in the tastes of “extra-thin” pocket watches, later in the 20th century Zodiac developed technical innovations such as anti-shock systems, power reserve indications, 8 days, superior water resistance and GMT complications. This continued throughout the quartz revolution in watchmaking when Zodiac launched the first chronometer-certified LCD watch.

advertising patina

While the brand has changed ownership over the years, the 2001 acquisition by the Fossil Group has kept Calame’s legacy alive in the current era. The Fossil Group has also invested in movement technology through its subsidiary STP which supplies other companies as well as Zodiac, allowing the brand to offer Swiss automatic movements at reasonably affordable prices.

Embracing its heritage, nearly all current Zodiac watches trace a direct path to models that debuted in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s. The Super Sea Wolf line, in fact, is so popular that the brand has built almost entirely her current personality around her. Collectors love Zodiac’s combination of history, affordability and focus on tool watches that aren’t afraid to offer pops of color. Let’s dive into it.

super sea bass

Touted as the first serious diver’s watch for the masses, the Super Sea Wolf made its debut in 1953. The current range consists of five diver-focused models, including size, water resistance and additional features . Although built to modern specifications, the overall design language easily traces back to the original which debuted almost 70 years ago. These watches come in a variety of colorways and can be worn on either a rubber strap or a five-link steel bracelet. They also include variants with GMT and World Time functionality.

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Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Automatic

A modern interpretation of the original, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Automatic carries the torch as a true diver’s watch for the general public. The existing model range has something for everyone with color combinations ranging from classic black and white with an emphasis on readability, to teal and orange that are sure to evoke summer fun. The quick-release spring bars and 20mm wide lugs on this case allow for easy strap changes, which will make experimenting with color even more fun.

Diameter: 40mm
Movement: STP 3-13 automatic
Water resistance: 200m

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin

The 53 Skin most closely resembles the original Super Sea Wolf released by Zodiac. Offered with either a steel or black dive bezel, the triangular cardinal lume studs provide excellent visibility whether snorkeling, diving or overhead. The vintage-inspired sizing of this watch makes it perfect for most wrist sizes, and these can be worn on either a rubber strap or a vintage-style steel strap with the quick-change feature.

Diameter: 39mm
Movement: STP 1-11 automatic
Water resistance: 200m

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression

The 53 Compression offers a more modern take on the vintage Zodiac design language with skeletonized hands and distinct hour markers – but the same name is sometimes confusingly applied to watches that essentially resemble the Super Sea Wolf Automatic. It doesn’t matter, though, as they largely share the same basic platform in many ways and simply bring more variety to the collection with the whimsical color of a black-coated steel, as pictured here.

Diameter: 40mm
Movement: PTS 3-13
Water resistance: 200m

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver

The Pro Diver variant of the Super Sea Wolf family earns its title with beefed up specs. Designed to be more suitable for serious divers, this watch has heavier and deeper water resistance than its non-Pro counterparts. The movement is also COSC chronometer-certified and readability is enhanced for deep-water use, and these watches come with fully luminous bezels. On several versions, even the dials themselves are luminescent.

Diameter: 42mm
Movement: Sellita SW-200 automatic stopwatch
Water resistance: 300m

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68 Saturation

The Pro-Diver may be a step up from the base collection in terms of seriousness, but the 68 Saturation is the pinnacle of the Super Sea Wolf family. No other watch in the line, or many on the market at this price point for that matter, offers what the 68 Saturation brings to the table. It stands out as Zodiac’s largest diver’s watch, has a unique case shape, retro looks, a chronometer-certified movement, and a depth rating of one full. kilometer. It’s a lotta watch for its price.

Diameter: 44mm
Movement: Automatic stopwatch STP 3-13
Water resistance: 1000m

big rally

The Grandrally offers classic and more modern interpretations of vintage 1970s chronographs. It easily recalls rally racing with tonneau-shaped cases, tachymeter scales, two register layouts and a variety of bracelet options inspired by the race. This collection represents the brand’s most affordable range, thanks in large part to Swiss quartz movements that offer high functionality at a lower cost.

Continuing the sporting theme of Zodiac, the Grandrally collection recalls 1970s motorsport with its tonneau-shaped case and two-register configuration. Swiss quartz movement tracks chronograph seconds and minutes on demand using the central second hand and thirty-minute sub-register at 9 o’clock (a running small seconds sub-register balances the dial at 3 o’clock). Several combinations are available with different dial colors and case finishes.

Diameter: 45mm
Movement:Quartz
Water resistance: 100m

Olympus

With its unique case shape that looks like it could only be a product of the 70s, the Olympos was one of the Zodiac watches of that decade that sometimes featured “floating hands”. The modern version does not have them, but it is very original and easily identifiable with a silhouette unlike any other watch, a crown at 2 o’clock and a faceted look on its dial. A small collection, there are only a few options available.

The Olympos is Zodiac’s version of a casual/dress watch (we can say with confidence that it’s not a tool watch, at least). The shape of the case is unique to Zodiac as it is vertically symmetrical, but horizontally asymmetrical, making it visually striking and a cutting-edge design. With a 37mm case that makes everyday wear easy, there are multiple watch faces to choose from and the slim profile of the case allows the Olympos to slip easily under a shirt cuff. (Serial strap changers: watch out for that odd 19mm lug width.)

Diameter: 37mm
Movement: STP 3-13 automatic
Water resistance: 50m

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About Robert L. Thomas

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