Color has a truly transformative impact on design. What might feel flat and uninteresting in one hue can become complex and dynamic in another, and few modern watch lines have as much range to demonstrate the impact of color on a form as the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf series. Through color, this skin diver line has been interpreted as everything from a faithful recreation of ‘60s sports watches to a soft and verdant canvas for tropical escapism, and for its latest entries the brand gives this cornerstone series a decidedly bright and futuristic spin. The new Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon and Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon both bring an ultramodern new feel to this midcentury design, with a stark color pairing that’s sure to stand out on the wrist.
Both the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon and the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon start with the same basic 40mm stainless steel case design. This simple throwback skin diver-style case has been a hallmark of the Super Sea Wolf series since its revival, and the line’s cylindrical mid-case, downturned straight lugs, and glossy bezel inserts all return here. While they may look identical at first glance, the two cases set themselves apart slightly through the lugs. The three hand Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon uses a bright and clean polished look for the tops of its lugs, with brushing extending along the case sides from lug tip to lug tip. On the other hand, the Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon takes a sportier and slightly more complex approach, with full linear brushing for the tops and sides of the lugs punctuated by a tapering polished chamfer. Naturally, the more visible difference between the two comes through with their deep and reflective bezel inserts.
To simulate the distinctive polished look of vintage Bakelite bezel inserts, Zodiac uses a stainless steel painted ring topped by a rounded and hardened mineral crystal layer. The effect is striking, but the choice to use mineral crystal may raise eyebrows, especially considering that the main crystal itself is sapphire. That said, each of the two new models interprets the bold new white and green colorway in its own way. For the dive bezel of the Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon, the snow white base tone dominates, with a dive scale mostly in deep black. The electric lime green that defines these models is used as a sparing accent here. For the 24 hour bezel of the Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon, on the other hand, Zodiac splits the insert in half between the two colors. With more color, the effect is undeniably bolder, but remains balanced in initial images. Both the Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon and the Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon sport a dive-ready 200 meters of water resistance.
Zodiac maintains the green and white colorway through the dials of the Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon and Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon, but visually balances these executions against the use of color on each bezel. For the Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon, the sparing use of green on the bezel is complemented by generous helpings of lime for the outer minutes scale, applied rectangular indices, and the baton minutes hand. The main dial surface and lume fills are a contrasting pure matte white, and a splash of silver through the applied Zodiac crosshair emblem at 12 o’clock, the seconds hand, and the ladder hours hand elevates the stark look with a dynamic flash in images.
For the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon, the heavier use of green for the bezel leads to a lighter application on the dial. Here, the optic white matte dial surface takes the fore with neutral polished baton hands and faceted applied indices. The stick GMT hand becomes the natural focal point in this design as the only element in vibrant green, both highlighting the complication organically and deftly equalizing the two colors visually across the design.
Zodiac powers the Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon with the STP 3-13 automatic movement made by parent company Fossil Group. The STP 3-13 offers decent performance here, with a 44 hour power reserve and a 28,800 bph beat rate. For the Super Sea Wolf 53 GMT, the brand instead turns to the Soprod C125 automatic GMT movement. While bemoaned by some enthusiasts as not a “true GMT” due to its quickset 24-hour hand rather than a quickset local hours hand, the C125 is a reliable performer with a 42 hour power reserve and a 28,800 bph beat rate.
Both the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon and the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon are paired with stainless steel bracelets. The Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon uses a five-link jubilee-style bracelet that adds some brightness to the design courtesy of polished center links. By contrast, the Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon uses the simpler and sportier three-link oyster-style bracelet, but still adds visual complexity with polished center links and a unique stepped treatment for the outer links.
By throwing out vintage conventions for color and embracing a simple yet dramatic new vision, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon and Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon set themselves apart from the rest of the varied Super Sea Wolf series at a glance. Both models are available now through authorized dealers, with the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Neon priced at $1,395 and the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT Neon carrying an MSRP of $1,795. For more information, visit the brand’s website.