Another iconic divers’ watch turns 50; another watch brand pays tribute to it with a special anniversary edition. Joining last year’s Doxa SUB 300 Professional 50th Anniversary Edition and this year’s tribute re-editions of the Seiko Hi-Beat Diver and Memovox Polaris on that roster is this week’s Watch to Watch, the just-launched Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68 Limited Edition.
The Zodiac Sea Wolf was one of the very first modern dive watches, debuting in the same year, 1953, as its more famous contemporaries, the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. The “Super” version, with a higher water resistance than the original, launched in 1968, which of course means that 2018 marks the model’s half-century mark. And while Zodiac — a historic, traditional Swiss brand now owned by the Fossil Group — relaunched the line a few years ago, this new model, limited to 182 pieces in tribute to Zodiac’s founding year of 1882, has several attributes (along with its obvious built-in rarity) that make it unique among its modern brethren.
The dial is dark gray with a sunburst finish and details — such as the outlines of the luminous indices and minute hand and the frame around the date window — in Zodiac’s signature “blaze orange” color. The color is also used for the edges on the dark gray velcro strap, which is accompanied in the special anniversary packaging by an additional rubber strap and a heavy-duty steel mesh bracelet. The style of rubber strap, according to Zodiac, is a faithful re-creation of the very first one used on a dive watch. Finally, the caseback features an image of the “Sea Wolf Dude,” a cartoon character used in advertisements for the model’s original launch in 1968.
All the other elements of the modern Zodiac Super Sea Wolf are in evidence. The 45-mm, cushion-shaped, sandblasted stainless steel case is water resistant to an extreme depth of 1,000 meters (an improvement on the original’s 750 meters) and equipped with a cleverly designed, lockable rotating bezel with a graduated steel insert to set dive times with confidence. The movement inside is a self-winding, Swiss Made, chronometer-certified STP 3-13 caliber, which powers the hours, minutes, central seconds, and a date display in a rectangular window at 3 o’clock. (Yes, you read that correctly: Swiss Made. Fossil owns a Swiss movement-making factory in the small town of Manno — STP, for Swiss Technology Production — that is largely devoted to making movements for Zodiac watches.)
The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68 launched on July 25, priced very reasonably for a collectible piece at $1,995, and is available exclusively on zodiacwatches.com and watchstation.com.