Zodiac watches are endearing expressions of modern timekeeping, nodding to the traditions and tastes of bygone eras. Incorporating authentic Swiss horology and craftsmanship, the brand has cultivated a legacy of innovation, quality, and precision.
From a detailed history to the most popular styles, find out everything you need to know about this well-established brand.
The Zodiac Brand: A Storied History
The esteemed Zodiac brand stretches all the way back to the late 19th century, making it one of the oldest vintage watch brands in the world. Today, the company’s unique historical background is still intrinsic to its aesthetic and legacy.
In 1882, founder Ariste Calame set up a workshop in Le Locle, Switzerland to produce specialized timepieces. A decade later, he patented the name Zodiac and began production at full speed.
In 1924, the brand launched its first extra-flat pocket watch with Zodiac caliber 1617 movement. Its next innovative creation was a 10.5 Ligne, 8-Day wristwatch movement. Then, in the span of 20 years, Zodiac launched each of its most distinguished watches.
The self-winding Autographic watch came first. At the time, there was only one other watch company that also had a power reserve collection. Several years later, the company launched the Sea Wolf, which was one of the first commercial dive watches to come on the timekeeping scene. Then came the Dynotron, the very first Swiss electronic watch.
Lastly, Zodiac introduced its most celebrated design: the Astrographic. Featuring floating hands and an orbiting red moon, the watch is nothing short of iconic.
After releasing the world’s first LCD watch to obtain a chronometer certificate in 1977, the company maintained steady success. In 2012, it started a series of technological advancements to the Sea Wolf collection. The following year, the Zodiac headquarters opened its doors in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.
In the years since, the brand has focused on reimagining and relaunching several of its vintage watches, including the Sea Dragon, Super Sea Wolf, and Astrographic.
The True Crime Connection
If the Zodiac brand sounds familiar, it may be from the brand’s eerie connection to one of the world’s most infamous unsolved mysteries. In his handwritten letters, a serial killer who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s signed his name using the same symbol as the Zodiac watch brand.
Because of this association, Zodiac’s Sea Wolf model was featured in the 2007 film that served as a somewhat fictional take on the investigation. In the movie, one of the suspects wears the iconic watch.
The Most Sought-After Styles
Here’s a curated selection of six of the brand’s most time-honored and highly rated watches:
The Zodiac Olympos Automatic Watch collection is one of the brand’s less expensive sets. Of the five different styles, the Olympos Automatic Brown Leather Watch has the most charm.
This classic 37.5-millimeter watch has a soft cream quarter dial finish with striking silver accents and is set in a unique manta ray-shaped, stainless steel case. It also boasts a 5 ATM water-resistance rating (meaning it can withstand pressure equivalent to 50 meters underwater) and uses the Swiss-made STP 3-13 automatic movement. A cedar-toned brown leather strap completes the entire look.
The Astrographic watch was first designed at the height of the space race when the world watched as the historic Apollo 11 landed on the moon. As an ode to this pioneering spirit, Zodiac produced the Astrographic watch, which was released in 1969 and is named after the terms astronomy and astrology.
In honor of the watch’s 50th anniversary and the current exploration of Mars, the Astrographic collection was recently reintroduced, and the seven styles are so popular that they’re consistently sold out.
If there’s one to keep an eye out for, though, it’s the Limited Edition Astrographic Automatic Stainless Steel Watch. This sleek model contains suspended hour and minute markers that resemble two revolving satellites in space, while the second hand resembles the Red Planet itself.
The Zodiac Sea Dragon collection contains six different styles. Without question, the most distinguished one in the set is the Limited Edition Sea Dragon Automatic Gray Alligator Watch.
This chronograph nods to the year of Zodiac’s genesis, with only 82 pieces produced. The intricacies in the COSC-certified chronometer watch are plenty, including:
- A three-eye Valjoux 7750 day-date chronograph
- 25 jewels
- A 48-hour power reserve for ultimate precision
- A gunmetal sunray dial with white sub-eyes
- An eggshell tachymeter ring
- A gray hand-glazed genuine alligator strap
- A butterfly deployant buckle
The Zodiac Grandrally collection contains 12 comparable pieces, one of which isn’t yet on the market. This forthcoming model is called the Grandrally Quartz Black Stainless Steel Watch, and it’ll be well worth the wait.
Labeled as an extremely wearable watch for the modern man, this 41-millimeter piece exudes contemporary style with a textured black dial ornamented with orange design details. It has a 10 ATM water-resistance rating as well as Swiss quartz chronograph movement. The brushed black stainless steel bracelet gives the piece a sturdy yet sleek matte look.
The Zodiac Jetomatic collection may well be the company’s simplest, but each of the five watches contains every bit of class as the rest of the brand. The entire collection pays homage to the original Zodiac Pilot watch from the 1960s.
You can’t go wrong with the Jetomatic Automatic Black Leather Watch. It features bold numerals as well as Super-LumiNova indexes and hands that can be read through the sapphire crystal in all conditions. For even more practicality, the oversized crown on the 42-millimeter case allows you to set the time even while wearing gloves. The black eggshell dial is complemented by subtle seafoam green, yellow, and silver accents and a classic black leather strap.
Last but certainly not least, there’s the style the brand is perhaps most known for: the Zodiac Sea Wolf Watch. First introduced in 1953, the Sea Wolf was one of the premier commercial dive watches. Fast forward to today, and there are 25 different Sea Wolf models to choose from.
However, the model with the highest ratings is the Super Sea Wolf Automatic Stainless Steel Watch. It has the following features:
- A stainless steel case with a matching five-link bracelet
- Uni-directional mineral crystal
- A nautical matte blue dial
- C3 Super-Luminova hands and indexes
- STP 3-13 automatic movement
- Sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating
How to Get Your Hands — or Wrist! — on a Zodiac Watch
If you’re intrigued by this seemingly timeless brand, browse through our offerings. Each of the Zodiac watches we carry emanates the class and quality inherent in this historic Swiss collection. Find yours today.