aBlogtoWatch recently met with American-based Zodiac watches to check out a few new flavors of the Super Sea Wolf 53. The Swiss Made Super Sea Wolf 53 watches, in their various forms, are the most successful products Zodiac currently produces, and for 2021, Zodiac wanted to introduce even more affordable variants that didn’t skimp on style. Here today, we present four of these new watches that collectively make up the newly named Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic watches and the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Automatic watches. Both derive their names from the terms applied to classic recreational diving watches. This is because Zodiac has a huge level of credibility in this space, having helped create the market for recreational diver’s watches starting in 1953.
Both the Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin and Compression models have a version that comes on a matching steel metal bracelet, as well as a style on a strap. While the dials are different, I encourage you to pay close attention to each model, and Zodiac is experimenting with new treatments and even materials in interesting watches. More on that in a moment — let’s first look at the two introductory Super Sea Wolf 53 Automatic watches that are priced at just under $1,100 USD.
The Zodiac reference ZO9212 Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Automatic has a natural steel case, black rubber strap, and black DLC-coated rotating bezel insert. The Skin model has closer to dauphine-style (dagger-like) hands matched with triangular applied hour markers and a textured black face. The case is 39mm-wide and water-resistant to 200 meters, making it smaller than the standard 40mm-wide case size of most other Super Sea Wolf 53 watches. The dial is a particular favorite of mine and has also been used on iconic diver’s watches, such as versions of the Eterna Kontiki. The level of features and quality belies a relatively affordable price, making the ZO9212 feel like a good value.
Then, there is the Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic ZO9289 watch that is the same price but features a different dial (which happens to be a brand new design for Zodiac), as well as an all-black DLC-coated steel case that is 40mm-wide and also water-resistant to 200 meters. Like all of the Super Sea Wolf watches, these also feature sapphire crystals over the dial, and inside all of these watches is a Swiss Made STP 1-11 automatic movement. STP is owned by the same group that owns Zodiac, which prompts many collectors to refer to the 4Hz, two-day power reserve automatic movements as “in-house” for Zodiac.
Zodiac is particularly proud of the Italian-made rubber straps that come with these models. A quirky collector treat is high-end rubber straps (typically from Italy) that are scented vanilla. These are less common today because, historically, the vanilla scent was added to mask what was once a strong chemical smell from the straps. As those strong chemical smells are rarely an issue anymore, finding vanilla-scented watch straps is challenging — unless you get one of these Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression or Skin watches on the strap.
The bracelet version of the new Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression is the reference ZO9288 and it is the first Super Sea Wolf 53 watch to feature a black ceramic bezel insert. The polished black ceramic bezel insert in the 40mm wide case offers a new and very trendy look for the Super Sea Wolf 53 collection that frequently opts for a more vintage or simply quirky vibe. The use of black with hints of orange on the dial and bezel is attractive on this model, and I really like that Zodiac designed the date window into dials of the two Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression watches. The Skin models feature a no-date dial, which opts for a more symmetrical aesthetic.
The last new model is the all-steel version of the Super Sea Wolf Skin on the matching steel bracelet that I think is a particular hit for fans of this aesthetic. The Zodiac reference ZO9213 has a 39mm-wide case in brushed steel with a matching steel bezel insert and a three-link steel bracelet. Note that quick-release spring bars for both the straps and bracelets on the Super Sea Wolf 53 watches are now standard from Zodiac. For reference, the straps have a 20mm-wide size, which is useful if you want to repurpose these straps for something else or place a different strap on any of these pieces.
By mixing new-for-the-collection materials, such as DLC-coated steel and hard ceramic, with new dial styles and even case sizes, Zodiac discreetly expands the variety available in the Super Sea Wolf 53 collection while ensuring that the new models very much feel like existing members of the product family. It is also a testament to American competitiveness that Zodiac has seemingly upgraded some of the Super Sea Wolf 53 features while also knocking down the price a bit. Retail price for the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 ZO9219 and ZO9289 on the straps is $1,095 USD, and the references ZO9288 and ZO9213 in the steel bracelets are $1,295 USD. Learn more or order at the Zodiac watches website here.