Zodiac is a brand with some real history, though there are still a lot of people who don’t fully realize this. Back in the late 1960s and 1970s, Zodiac made insanely cool, colorful dive watches with Bakelite bezels (like this one), in addition to a full complement of chronographs and dress watches. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Super Sea Wolf diver, Zodiac is releasing this tribute watch, the Super Sea Wolf 68, aptly named for the model’s birth year. The watch has a certain vintage aura, though there’s no question it’s a modern watch. The case measures a hefty 44mm x 50mm (it’s slightly oval-shaped) and 16mm thick, and it’s made from solid stainless steel. It’s also rated to a totally insane 1,000 meters, more than any diver really needs. But a little overkill is nice sometimes, right?
Beyond its serious profile, this watch is about details. First there’s the rotating bezel, which is stainless steel with a frosted finish and raised, polished markings. Also, in addition to being unidirectional, it has to be pressed down to turn – this isn’t going to accidentally move on you, even in tough conditions. Then there’s the “Super Sea Wolf” character emblazoned on the case back, which is taken from the original 1968 advertisement for the model. Finally, there’s the trio of straps this watch comes with, which include a two-piece nylon and velcro strap (which seriously improved the balance of the watch on the wrist), a rubber strap, and a mesh bracelet. The watch is a limited edition of 182 numbered pieces and it will be available beginning next week on July 25.
When I first saw the specs for this watch, my immediate reaction was “Whoa – that’s big.” But, I have to say, strapping the watch on with the two-piece velcro strap, I was kind of convinced otherwise. Sure, it’s still a big watch, but it doesn’t at all feel like the beast you’d expect from the dimensions. This is something I could actually see being comfortable for all-day wear, especially out at the beach or by the pool. In particular, the way that the case tapers towards the wrist helps a lot with comfort, and the balance of the dial and bezel is spot on. The pops of orange are going to be love/hate for most people, but personally I think a little color is fun on a dive watch like this.
Looking bigger picture, I think Zodiac’s strategy overall is pretty interesting and worth paying attention to. First off, the brand is only making about 5,000 watches this year, which seems extremely limited when you consider the average price point is a little over $1,000 and the brand is a part of the Fossil group. Additionally, instead of trying to get the usual mainstream celebrity brand ambassadors, they’ve opted to work with people who can create content and stories that will help make the brand feel aspirational. For the watch here, they’re working with Andy Mann, a National Geographic photographer who specializes in underwater photography – you can see an example of what they’re doing with Mann here.
Model: Super Sea Wolf 68 Limited Edition
Diameter: 44mm across, 50mm top to bottom
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Dial Color: Dark grey with sunray finish
Indexes: Applied, with blaze orange accents
Lume: Yes, hour markers and hands
Water Resistance: 1,000 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Two-piece nylon and velcro strap, rubber tropic-style strap, and stainless steel mesh bracelet
Caliber: STP 3-13
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Pricing & Availability
Availability: July 25
Limited Edition: 182 pieces, individually numbered on the caseback