I love colors and I love classic watch designs rendered in fun colors. So you can imagine my smile when I saw this version of the Zodiac Sea Wolf Compression diver (the updated name Zodiac is using for the previously-titled Super Sea Wolf 53) being released for 2018 when meeting with the brand during Baselworld a few months ago. Zodiac has no lack of creative fun with their classically-inspired modern dive watches – as many of the colorful limited edition models attest to. For this particular version of the Super Sea Wolf the creative team was inspired by a vintage diving mask that I believe is from the 1960s or 1970s. Rendered in coral orange and aquamarine, the particular tones remind me of some watermelon flavored candy. Lacking an official name aside from the reference ZO9269, I now think of this as the “Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Watermelon Candy Diver.” Feel free to come up with your own name inspired by these pleasant summer colors.
Watermelon Candy or vintage diving equipment (no matter what images you consider when seeing this friendly-looking version of the Super Sea Wolf), the hues are bold and polarizing. Not everyone will be able to pull off these colors nor will everyone want to. Zodiac clearly produces more conservative versions of the Super Sea Wolf but these more fashionable versions do certainly attract a bit more visual attention. I think the goal for Zodiac is to use wild models like the Watermelon Candy to get you to notice more fashionable elements – yet they realize most buyers will like the overall design and value proposition but opt for a more traditional black or blue dial.
For those of you familiar with the last few generations of Zodiac diving watches, you probably recall a similarly-styled steel metal bracelet with an actual opening clasp (not a safety-style bracelet deployant). Zodiac redesigned this bracelet so that it has the same Jubilee-style look, but with a butterfly deployant system. This is an upgrade, in my opinion.
The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Compression dive watch itself is 40mm wide in stainless steel and water-resistant to 200m. Over the dial is a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal and a hard mineral crystal (strong than acrylic) is used over the rotating diver’s bezel to give a “bakelite” look (or if you are more modern, a sapphire crystal look). The colors for me are fun and vivid, and I call it “Watermelon Candy” because rather than being the actual red and green of watermelon fruit, this reminds me of artificial colors used on some watermelon candy I’ve encountered over the years. These child-friendly tones help make tool watches feel a bit more fun and summery. The message to me is that this is a timepiece to wear when you are feeling anything but serious. Again, it is a serious tool watch with a not-so-serious skin (just the way I like it).
Inside the watch is one of the best mechanical movements at this price point. For the last generation of these models Zodiac has been using their in-house STP 3-13 automatic movement. STP and Zodiac are both owned by the Fossil Group, which is why the term “in-house” is used. The STP 3-13 has a few improvements over the previous STP automatic movements used. Most notable is the ability to more finely adjust the movement in order to maintain better accuracy.
It is also interesting that Zodiac did not intend for this reference ZO9296 watch to be a limited edition. This will be a full production unit (for the time being) but I don’t think it will be produced endlessly for years to come. For those who want a conservative and versatile sports watch, in an otherwise unorthodox color, this “Watermelon Candy” (aka vintage diving mask) Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Compression dive watch could be ideal for you. Price is $1,395. zodiacwatches.com