For 2016, Zodiac has quietly introduced a new bracelet for some versions of the popular and affordable retro-themed mechanical Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression (I know, the name is a mouthful) diver watch collection. The new steel bracelet is currently available on the reference ZO9257 (green dial) and reference ZO9258 (blue dial) models. However, there are in total currently nine dial versions of the Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression watches that this new bracelet would go nicely on.
Let me remind you a bit about the Zodiac brand. It has historic roots and introduced the original Sea Wolf watch collection around the same time Rolex and Blancpain first introduced their professional diving wrist watches in the early 1950s. Today, Zodiac is owned by the Fossil Group and is more or less their higher-end label – even though prices are still quite reasonable for what you get. Inside this and most other three-hand automatic mechanical Zodiac watches is a movement produced by STP, a company in Switzerland also owned by the Fossil Group that produces movements. aBlogtoWatch took you inside STP’s movement manufacture here.
The specific movement inside of the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression is known as the STP 1-11, which operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with about two days of power reserve. It is more or less an equivalent of the popular ETA 2824. I dedicated an entire review to the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression watch here. That review features a different model that used the initial bracelet Zodiac offered for this collection. In steel, that bracelet was “jubilee-style,” with an unconventional type of buckle. While the buckle was compact and comfortable with its built-in, spring-loaded micro-adjuster… it didn’t have a safety clasp, nor was it as sporty as some people wanted.
Thus, as an answer to those people who really wanted the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 on a bracelet (and rightly so) a bit sportier than the jubilee-style one comes this more traditional bracelet, with its own unique sense of personality. A construction slightly more complex than it needs to be keeps the bracelet looking interesting while Zodiac uses solid pieces of steel hardware for the folding and locking deployant clasp. Note that most of the bracelet is brushed but the outer edges are polished – which is an appreciated cosmetic detail.
The updated bracelet doesn’t per se replace the existing one, but is rather a bit more on point with what many consumers wanted for this watch. Zodiac also offers both a rubber strap (with portholes) and various leather strap options for the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression. Most of those match pretty well to the various dial colors, but I always suggest opting for a matching bracelet when one is available. My only issue (and it is minor) is that the polished lugs contrast too much with the brushed elements of the bracelet where they meet the case. I would have liked Zodiac to make the integration between case and bracelet a bit more harmonious.
To remind you, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 case is 40mm wide and 14mm thick with 200 meters of water resistance. If you want more water resistance (or just a different style), you can check out the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68 watch (aBlogtoWatch review here). Over the dial is domed sapphire crystal, and over the bezel is a piece of mineral crystal. Together, it all makes for a handsome, colorful, and decidedly retro look.
I continue to feel that Zodiac is offering excellent legibility and style with the Super Sea Wolf watches – all of them. This particular one has a rich deep blue dial with well-contrasting hour markers and hands painted with luminant. While many of the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 watches have intentionally mis-matched dial and bezel colors, the blue reference ZO9258 and the green reference ZO9257 models have a matching dials and bezels. I think the two styles respectively add a nice conservative yet distinct hue option for the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 line. While the sea blue is probably going to be the more popular seller, the forest green dial has a lot going for it and should be looked at for those interested in a nice green retro-style dive watch that doesn’t cost as much as a green Rolex Submariner.
Seasoned watch lovers know why Zodiac’s new flock of watches are appealing – which is mainly because the brand has been following a lot of correct rules. Art direction and creative curation for the collection is well-done, taking something attractive from the past and making it modern but with traditional sensibility. With a highly refined dial and good wearability, Zodiac is also making sure that there is appreciable comfort, and at 40mm wide they are getting attention from everyone who has been wanting more mid-size sporty dive watches.
Just for reference, I have also included some images of another new-for-2016 version of the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 in black with the orange minute hand on the black rubber strap which is the reference ZO9256. Pricing is also not too high, with the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression models starting at just $1,095. That price goes up $200 for either models on either version of the bracelet to $1,295 – which represents the cost for the 2016 ZO9257 and ZO9258 watches. zodiacwatches.com