December 7, 2022
While a unique case design certainly helps a watch to stand out on the wrist, it can also often pigeonhole a watch series stylistically. With a bold, eye-catching case dominating an overall watch design, it can be difficult for brands to experiment even further with dial designs beyond a safe pool of options that match the style of the case. That said, every once in a great while, a watch brand strikes upon a stylized case and left-field dial design combination that harmonizes well. Zodiac’s latest addition to the distinctive Olympos series is a prime example of this, blending the series’ hallmark swoopy Jet Age case geometry with a military-style field watch dial into a bold and surprisingly sporting combination. The new Zodiac Olympos Field may seem like an odd pairing at first glance, but it’s a charismatic mix of influences that pays tribute to the brand’s own history.
As with previous versions of the Olympos line, the Zodiac Olympos Field’s stainless steel case measures in at 40mm-wide and follows the series’ signature asymmetric “manta ray” silhouette. While this exaggerated, streamlined shape generally tends toward a dressier look, the Olympos Field is a testament to the transformative power of finishing. Except for a continuous polished chamfer running from lug tip to lug tip, the Olympos Field is fully brushed, and this more utilitarian finish gives the design a purposeful edge on the wrist while still highlighting the case’s most unique features. The oversized pillbox crown at 2 o’clock also helps to subtly shift the character of this case towards a more aggressive, functional feel. The Olympos Field also wraps itself around the wrist exceptionally well, thanks to an arcing downturn flowing through the lugs and the mid-case. While this makes for a comfortable wearing experience, it also works to create a handsomely slender visual beltline for the case as a whole. Around back, Zodiac fits the case with a straightforward engraved solid caseback featuring the brand’s crosshair logo above a striped background. Zodiac rates the watch for an impressively sporty 200 meters of water resistance.
Although the decision to pair a rugged, function-first field watch dial with the Olympos line’s more stylized overall look isn’t the most obvious choice, the Zodiac Olympos Field is not the first watch in the series to take this sort of stylistic tack. In the late ‘60s, the British Royal Navy ordered a limited series of Olympos models as field watches for military personnel, and the Olympos Field’s basic design cleaves close to these rare military variants. The printed Arabic numerals, railroad outer minutes track, and Roman sword handset are all clean and appropriately function-forward, but Zodiac gives these familiar dial elements a unique personality with its use of color. The main dial surface itself adds a double dose of character here, with a heavily grained matte texture and a unique dégradé olive green color palette. Zodiac complements these green tones with a medium khaki lume fill for the hands and numerals, along with a handset in a warm gold tone. These gold-tone hands may prove to be a point of contention in the enthusiast community, however, as they do somewhat clash with the case material.
Inside the Zodiac Olympos Field beats the STP 1-11 automatic movement. Produced by Zodiac’s parent company Fossil Group, the STP 1-11 is the backbone of Zodiac’s mechanical product lines, and offers largely similar performance to industry standbys from ETA and Sellita. With that said, the STP 1-11 is a somewhat newer design than its ETA-based counterparts, and this shines through in aspects like its above-average 44-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. To complete the design, Zodiac pairs the Olympos Field with a classic honey-brown leather strap. The warmer, lighter tones of this strap interact well with the khaki lume on the dial, while still pairing well with the green hues of the dial surface. However, given the impressive 200-meter water resistance, an optional fabric strap would be an excellent addition here.
It isn’t often that a wild statement case design and a simple military-style dial are paired together, but the new Zodiac Olympos Field is one of those rare instances where this unorthodox pairing shines. The Zodiac Olympos Field is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Zodiac Olympos Field stands at $895 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.