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Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Resurrected from the Zodiac archives, the Jetomatic introduces a new collection of pilot-style watches and was one of the important releases this year for the Fossil-owned Swiss brand. It is competitively priced, and its movement has an unusual feature in something called a swan neck regulator – but we’ll come back to that. To me, the Zodiac Jetomatic offers a straightforward tool watch, a piece of Zodiac brand personality, and a movement to get watch enthusiasts’ attention.

Right away, its name tells you that the Zodiac Jetomatic is aviation- and vintage-themed (seems like everything in the 1960s was something-o-matic). The looks of the watch also do a good job at communicating those things. From the sword-shaped hands, pointy hour markers, and contrasting chapter ring to the big “onion” crown, this is clearly a “pilot watch” but without looking a lot like other popular pilot watches, which is a positive thing, in my opinion.

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Any brand that can succeed with both a dive and a pilot watch collection is in a good place. And modern Zodiac has, aside from the Astrographic (reviewed here), been strong on vintage-themed dive watches with the Super Sea Wolf (hands-on here), the Super Sea Wolf 68 (reviewed here), and the Sea Dragon (hands-on with the chronograph version here) collections. As with other Zodiac lines, the Jetomatic is the rebirth of a vintage model, even though many past watches that shared that name (or Jet-O-Matic) look nothing like the 2017 Jetomatic.

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Alongside the standard production Jetomatic collection that has more modern updates, Zodiac also released a limited edition that is said to have been “reverse-engineered” to faithfully recreate a 1960s Zodiac Pilot watch. So, though Zodiac hasn’t provided images of the original that the new models are based on, we can get some idea by looking at the limited edition model that has a smaller 40mm case, sloping chapter ring, raised mineral crystal, and solid caseback. For reference, it is also COSC-certified and costs more, with a price of $1,495.

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Zodiac Jetomatic Limited Edition ZO9150 at 40mm (left) and the Zodiac Jetomatic ZO9107 at 42mm.

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The non-limited models come as four SKUs with different dial and strap/bracelet styles. The one you see here on a bracelet (with a nice, thin butterfly-style clasp) with a mostly monochromatic dial of black with off-white is the ZO9107. All have 42mm-wide, 14mm-thick steel cases with 100m of water resistance. The flat sapphire crystal and good contrast on the dial, not to mention the ample application of Super-LumiNova, help keep legibility very good. The lume is one of the watch’s strong points, and you’ll see I had some fun taking pictures of it.

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Overall, the Zodiac Jetomatic has a good look on the wrist and a lot of versatility. Looking more closely, here I will note that the case and bracelet have an industrial quality to their finishing with some sharp edges. This doesn’t mean any actual poking or wearing discomfort, but it prevents the watch from feeling as refined as it perhaps could. That combined with the flat, printed dial give the Zodiac Jetomatic a very straightforward, utilitarian, tool watch vibe. I know that this is how many pilot-style watches are done and that legibility is the main point, but it often left me wanting more to look at. While not an absolute requirement, depth and three-dimensional elements on a dial are something I tend to look for because of the interest and sense of detail it can add to the wearing experience.

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Zodiac Jetomatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The STP 3-13 movement in the Zodiac Jetomatic, on the other hand, goes a long way in adding to the interest as a complete package. For a basic movement in a watch at this price level, it looks pretty good through the display caseback, with lots of perlage and blued screws. The STP 3-13 is a variation of STP’s basic 1-11 movement that is close to an ETA 2824-2 clone. As we discussed here in our visit to the STP manufacture, STP is the “Fossil Group’s answer to ETA.” That means that they are making mass-produced Swiss Made mechanical movements in volume to supply a range of companies in and outside their own group.

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Comments

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  • Pete Pete

    I’d describe it as bit bland.

    by the way has anyone solved those cryptograms yet?

  • AW

    If the movement inside is 2824 analog and WR is only 100m then why is it so thick? Other companies do WR 500m divers that thick. They should do 2892 analog and make the watch 10-12mm thick.

  • Bozzor

    Simple, clean, practical, legible and tough looking. A good quality Swiss watch at a sensible price. Tempting…

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I like this. Not too fussy, Nice all round look. The lume will come in handy for these long dark Scottish nights. My only gripe is the date window. Call me old fashioned but i prefer it it either at the three or six position. Some great pics and for the money and build quality i would love one.

    • Pete Pete

      you’re old fashioned. I’d say the date window (and not just the position) is actually the only highlight of the otherwise bland watch. dial and hands are just too 2-dimensional for my taste. makes the watch look somewhat cheap. but the date window, well, finally someone put some effort in it. refreshing after seeing mostly terrible examples even in way more expensive watches (date not centered, colors not matching, …).

      • Raymond Wilkie

        You’r right, i am, but Marks comment about the color match and your about the possible reason for the position,…………i am having a little rethink. Granted for a date window, it is very well done.

    • If the date was at 3 or 6 on this watch it would “eat” one of the hour markers, so 4:30 work on this one. Plus they did a color match on the date wheel. And the date wheel is not a standard issue item either – to properly display at 4:30 and also to be vertically aligned means they printed the date wheel precisely for this layout and did not use a standard “3H” date wheel. So good on them! But otherwise, I hear ya Ray. While the numerals get a bit condensed, I appreciate the symmetry of a date at 6. Cheers.

    • Moonraker
  • Phil leavell

    I haven’t even read about the watch it just looks like a real watch for a change yay . Now excuse me l,ll go back and read about it

    • Raymond Wilkie

      ” a real watch for a change yay “……….funny 🙂

      • Phil leavell

        Come on I hadn’t had my coffee, I just looked at the picture I didn’t read the article. Because I was suffering from nice watch withdrawal it is now voted as box 6 wrist turd I’ve definitely miss something

  • Yan Fin

    Great write-up, Zen! Specially enjoyed the swan neck explanation.

    • ZL

      Thanks 🙂

  • Yan Fin

    Nice watch, clean, simple, easy readable, quite vintage look without obvious copying. Date background matching dial. Like the bracelet too. Fair price too.

  • Not exactly a style I’m looking for, but nicely enough done. And the value proposition is great. And the movement is relatively outstanding for the price.

    • Phil leavell

      What am I missing here mark, I have a hard time finding value in this watch. Am I being too hard on the watch because of fossil fashion Corky designs taken from Q’s others. Copy, cut, paste oh look a new design. Not to blow smoke up your arse but I look what you did and your designs and it’s refreshing I mean you put your heart into it came up with something as different and I see value in that. I respect your opinion , what am I missed

      • I just meant what you get in terms of movement and quality of construction, etc. But as I said, not a style I’d get for myself. So if you, like me, prefer a more distinctive watch for one to two grand, there are other options (like mine :-), ha ha). Cheers.

        • Phil leavell

          Believe you me, I am looking forward to September 😉

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Call me nosey, but what’s happening in September ?

          • Phil leavell

            Hopefully a Christmas rush, there might be some news on Mark’s website 🙂

          • Raymond Wilkie

            I would be more than happy to be Marks UK ambassador :- )

          • I thought you were more of Goa area ambassador at least part of the year, ha ha.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            My 2nd home. Keeps me through the year to know i’ll spend time there.

          • Mid to late September is when I plan to do a Kickstarter project for my upcoming Octagon Watch. $2K USD retail but $1400 for the first backers. First deliveries around the end of the year/Jan 2018. Images on my FB page Ray: https://www.facebook.com/IndividualDesignHawaii/

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Wow that’s quite a bold design. I look forward to seeing the final timepiece. Paris 1925 is stunning.

          • The case I was originally calling “Paris 1925” is now named “Speakeasy” by Richard Paige who just received his production order of the cases a few days ago. Before that he had around 10 hand-made prototype cases created.

            So he has already sold a few Speakeasy watches. All with vintage American pocket watch movements. Each one will effectively be unique with movements from a variety of years along with a collection of vintage dials.

            Unlike the “Crash of ’29” and “Skyscraper” watches which were joint ventures, the Speakeasy is strictly an Rpaige product even though I designed the case for him. And they are available on his website: https://www.rpaigewatch.com/store/rp330/

            In contrast the Octagon watch will be a strictly Mark Carson watch.

  • SuperStrapper

    One of the favourite “o-matics” in my collection is a rifle. But alas, it is but a semi.

  • Phil leavell

    Aaahh. I finally read it recovered from withdrawal. Read other people’s comments, I see a lot of different cue from many other watches in this watch. Along the lines I’ve missed something people say for the price point it’s good I see limited edition around $1,400 mineral crystal what, clone movement what.
    I think it’s a mishmash of several watch designs I mean it does have a nice look to it. I would rate it as a fashion watch and should be priced around the $300 maybe 350

  • John Stevens

    This appears to be great value for money and looks good. Not too keen on the multi link bracelet but can’t argue with price for movement value.

  • Love it! Cohesive, unique look and great value. And the date here adds quirky character rather than subtract from the symmetry of the dial.

  • R Khalifa

    Are the dial indices and numerals not a total copy of the Omega Seamaster 300?

    • DanW94

      Yeah, looks that way. My first thought was a Railmaster vibe (not so much the new re-release with the faux patina but the mid 2000’s one). Not that it’s a bad thing. I actually prefer the handset on this watch.

      • Agreed on the hands. The Omega arrow hands never felt right to me.

    • egznyc

      It’s got some decent WR (100m), too, which is refreshing in a “pilot” watch. Frankly, I like the Seamaster 300 design, so not surprisingly I like this design, too – with a few exceptions. One of its strong points is the strong lume.

  • A_watches

    not bad at all, its going a bit of style. Like the look of the bracelet too

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Mineral Crystal? Really?

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      The watches shown have sapphire crystals.

  • Whoisi

    Nice lume shot and night view in the big mango.

  • Word Merchant

    I’d name this the mehomatic.

  • Han Cnx

    That’s really nice.. sweet price point too.

  • BNABOD

    A seamaster just mated with a pilot watch and they had a dysfunctional offspring. That crown just does not fit with the overall look, the case finish looks really sub optimum and while they threw in some decent perlage (made by a robot) and the occasional swan neck,1500 bucks for the LE is high and a 1000 seems high too for the non LE model. Knowing you can get a really nice Hami or Mido in that money range or even less I am not sure why you would go for this aside from the weird amalgam of watches all merged into one.
    I suspect the old 1960s model looked the same but can’t find a pic for it nor do I want to waste time doing it. so a big pass for me

  • BJ314

    42mm is officially too big for me these days, but this is a great looking watch. I LOVE the date window and bracelet choices.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I prefer a sapphire crystal and a nicer dial instead of the movement decoration.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      The watches shown do have sapphire crystals.

  • Mikita

    I want to like it, but something is simply wrong with this dial.

    • SuperStrapper

      Great macros in this one, agree.

  • WatchNeophyte

    I like this and I don’t even mind the date window’s location because there isn’t much distracting from it. Kind of reminds me of the 1960s Zodiac Airman GMT I saw recently on Ebay, I like that one better of course, but this one obviously has more bang for the buck.

  • Chaz

    Take this over a “Railmaster” re-issue any day.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    It is remarkable to read the comments on this article and see reference after reference to pooh-poohing the mineral crystal. It clearly states that the mineral crystal only appears on a limited edition of this watch and that those on display, the standard watch, use sapphire crystals. Certainly the readership at Hodinkee is very astute and reads every single word of the the genius reviews. I urge the readership of A Blog to Watch to really focus on absorbing the content of the article they are commenting on before they comment. Reading and comprehension is a very important thing and vital if you are going to graduate upstream to Hodinkee. And I mean that in the most welcoming and friendly way possible.

    I also want to remind everybody to be friendly out here and I applaud the new move towards shaping the statements and grooming the audience of A Blog To Watch. Not as vigorous and positive as Hodinkee’s efforts at controlling the message, but laudable.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d43fab4805534f5e5c44e057b5e8ff7cfecd7e0b69e73adccb78e0ca65612719.jpg

    • Juan-Antonio Garcia

      The Hodinkee jokes are getting old, besides being too lame.

      • Phil leavell

        Juan relax did you see who you sent your reply to. Hopefully the guy with the name like ?? Dink
        Have a great sense of humor battery validation I’m sure could make the sapphire crystal clear

        • egznyc

          Hey, that’s pretty funny! (Or was that “sapphire crystal clear” remark “no pun intended”?)

          • Phil leavell

            Just my Twisted witt

          • Moonraker

            Twistwiti

    • Phil leavell

      Yo ??Dink thank you for pointing out my personal shortcomings as a blog to watch reader. God knows I have mental and physical shortcomings but the people here make me welcome. And I shall let you know you are welcome to. And it appears that the format has to be changed a little bit to correct some naturally occurring typographical errors. ??

      • Moonraker

        That being said, which box you reckon?

        • Phil leavell

          Fossilized Turd

          I’m sure they will get their 4.7 million back somewhere along the lines

          • Moonraker

            Coprolith, box 7

          • Phil leavell

            Yes we could create a new box. But it’s still a Turd, petrified (Coprolith ) or not

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I have to admit, I`ve read less funny stuff from you.

    • BJ314

      why does abtw put up with you? smh.

    • Greg Dutton

      I like your more acerbic commentaries, but you’re still one of my favorite trolls. You leave it all on the court and rarely half-ass it.

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        I will take that as a compliment. Please accept this desktop background special image I just snapped in kind. Nobody else on this blog has permission to use it as their computers background, I hereby order.
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5893aea4992277162ea4f6ab76a8a347c109c9e3d6c5470ac4c59f86bc10e6cc.jpg

        • Raymond Wilkie

          To be honest am getting a bit sick of seeing you here. If that violates ABTW’s R&R i apologise

          • Dinkee, H. O.

            I haven’t posted in a month before today.

            Let’s be friends. Would you like a custom screensaver?

    • ZL

      Thank you for pointing out that this watch does indeed have sapphire crystal for those who seem to have misunderstood. Maybe I could have been clearer about that.

  • 200 Fathoms

    I dub thee Backgammon Watch.

  • R.O. Ferrer

    i need more coffee today- i googled jetomatic if it actually meant something. just slow. so slow.

  • Kuroji

    Killer watch.

  • Ross Diljohn

    Might be alright on a NATO strap. Truthfully it’s not bad and certainly better looking than some of the higher end stuff I have been seeing lately that flaunt their name and ridiculous price tag in my general direction. Killer here really is any association with fossil.

    • Chaz

      With all due respect, would you care to elaborate on WHY it’s “killer”, not in a good way as I read it, that Zodiac is associated with Fossil?

      Any worse than Zenith associated with Louis Vuitton or Vacheron and Lange associated with Ralph Lauren???

      • commentator bob

        Seriously, at least Zodiac is owned by a watch company, not a purse and liquor company like Zenith, Heuer and Hublot.

        • Chaz

          My point, exactly.

        • Mikita

          Isn’t Fossil a wallet/bag/belt/etc company?

    • commentator bob

      If you can’t deal with a legit watch brand being under the umbrella of a quartz fashion watch company then you have the write-off the entire Swatch Group.

      • Ross Diljohn

        Done it already.

  • Esteban

    I like that the date is horizontally positioned, instead of naturally curved!

    I don’t like “jetomatic automatic”. That’s just silly.

    • commentator bob

      Yeah, they have to kill one. I would remove “Jetomatic” and put it on the caseback.

  • otaking241

    If you must do a 4:30 date window, round is the way to go, and with a color-matched wheel as here it’s about as unoffensive as it can be. Otherwise a pretty attractive watch.

    Market-wise it’s hard to tell where Zodiac is positioning itself–is it Fossil’s luxury marque? The prominent Swiss-made labeling contrasts with group sister Shinola’s “Made in America” message. If street prices approach SRP this doesn’t look like a steal, but should show well in department store jewelry cases. Will be interested to see if these start showing up at Fossil and other watch outlet stores…

  • commentator bob

    After Zodiac completely nailed it with the Sea Wolf Skin Diver ’53 it is sad to see them have a couple errors with this watch.

    Kill the Jetomatic on the dial, kill the white circle around the date window and take the regular version down to 40 mm and this is a winner.

    Interesting to see people complain about applied indices when $4k IWC mark does not have them.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      The Omega Railmaster which this watch ripped off doesn’t have applied indices, either.

      • commentator bob

        1. These triangle indices were used by a number of companies including Zodiac.
        2. The Railmaster is a good looking watch, glad someone made it without fake aged lume.

    • Elijs Dima

      Dunno; the “Jetomatic” text and the white circle around date hole are (imo) among the highlights of this piece.

  • Mikita

    I have a question to ABTW auditorium – can you get over all those crappy wallets, bags, belts, scarfs, etc. etc. when considereng a watch from Fossil group?
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9a6822228cb82e32d76304b6f6f9e11a982ed96fb9033510ce324b81fcc429e1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04b69de9faecc7604b2dca8a262e45fb96e579254f80c7de2b5c44183c1b8de4.jpg

    Yes, it is also relevant to LVMH, but at least they deal with “luxury” goods. Fossil produce and sell some low quality stuff – do you think it somehow affects their reputation as a watchmaking company?

    • Fossil Group has a number of brands and Zodiac is an upscale one. In the same way that Swatch Group has Swatch watches but also Breguet, Omega, Blanpian, etc. So expect a mixed bag of products – but shall we say “affordable” item when branded as Fossil.

      • Mikita

        Yeah, but Swatch Group deal with watches only, right? What bothers me about Fossil Group are wallets, bags, belts, case phones, scarves, book covers,etc. – all this stuff is unrelated to the watches and cheapens the perspective of their watches in some way, I think. Maybe I’m too biased, but I am okay with Bulgari, for instance, since luxury industry and watch industry do have something in common. But after visiting the Fossil store I feel strange for their watch products.

        • After acquiring Harry Winston, Swatch Group is also in the jewelry business. But then as you mentioned so is LVMH and there is also Chopard which I think does about as much jewelry as watches. Perhaps a closer analogue is Kering which besides watches (Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux / Jean Richard) is primarily a luxury goods company with lots of clothes and accessories. I guess these days the nature of the luxury goods and watch business are more intersecting than divergent. I have a Patek Phillipe neck tie (but it was swag), ha ha.

        • Gary Mark

          What about Omega sunglasses and perfume?

          • Mikita

            Stupid move from Swatch Group, nothing else.

    • commentator bob

      Somehow people get over the fact that Rolex owns a company that makes knock-off vintage Rolexes.

      • Mikita

        Being a sub-brand of Rolex they kinda have the right to make self-homages. There are multiplr examples of cross-citing inside the watch groups. Certina DS-2 is a Speedy homage (Swatch), Baume & Mercier have some VC/Cartier homages (Richemont), Orient makes some Seiko homages (Seiko), JeanRichard classy models resemble GP (Kering); and so on.

  • commentator bob

    I bought a Sea Wolf (at about half retail), and it is a VERY nice watch. For less than indie-brand Submariner knock-off money I got legit watch that came out before the Sub. Not as nice as my daily wear Omega GMT jump hour, but a great vacation watch. Would easily be a daily wear watch if I did not have the Omega.

    People knock Fossil group, but who else is investing in mid-range Swiss movement making, like Fossil is with STP? None of the “cool” brands. It is only Fossil with STP, Sellita, Soprod and Eterna. And STP is getting good reviews:

    http://watchguy.co.uk/review-stp-1-11/

    Also, who else is investing in getting people interested in mechanical watches by putting them in malls everywhere in the $150 – $200 range? It is only Fossil and Swatch, and Fossil has a much larger presence.

    I would encourage Fossil to start producing a jump-hour GMT movement with STP. That is something missing from the movement market, and something that would allow Zodiac to bring back its real pilot watch, the Aerospace. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/93ef8a0c428f31061f714ae0279966b61ac92ff8c0632d23c273bebd0af61b12.jpg

  • Tim Archer

    Just ordered a Zodiac based on this article. I had not explored their product line before but must say they have very impressive designs. Now if I can just distract my wife when it arrives by UPS on Tuesday and requires a signature I’ll be one watch richer!

  • Rob D

    I’m not really sure why people seem to get so worked up about brands being owned by either quartz fashion watch brands or clothing/handbag/accessories companies. It’s not the bag makers making the watches, and a lot of the quartz fashion brands aren’t made in the same country, yes there’s going to be some overall governance and management but if they’re run as even semi independent companies then surely having the investment and capital behind them to be able to take a few risks and to develop is a good thing.
    I’d be more interested in the quality of the product rather than who owns the brand, aside from a few brands that have continuity, a lot are just the logo and the rights that get traded as easily as most other brands.

  • Bruce

    I must say, not too bad for the price. Design is pedestrian, but I actually kind of like it.

  • Does the Jetomatic have a screw down crown?

    • Tavis Sipe

      Yes, it does.

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