How It All Started?
Ariste Calame of Le Locle, Switzerland, was the scion of a well-to-do farmer-watchmaker whose family is known for quality watchmaking. Ariste established his own workshop in 1882, with the ambition of producing a Swiss timepiece like no other. He believed that the way to achieve this was to control all the stages of manufacturing, from the design of the watch to the production of the tools used in watchmaking. Originally named “Ariste Calame,” the name Zodiac was used early on but was only registered in 1908.
In 1930, the company produced the first automatic sports watch. A popular forerunner of the now-famous Zodiac watches was the Zodiac Autographic, whose ad in 1955 described it as “The world’s most modern watch.” It was self-winding with a power reserve gauge, had an unbreakable crystal, a radium dial, 17 jewels, and was water- and shock-resistant. It soon became the official watch of the Swiss Federal Railways. During the quartz craze in the 1970s, Zodiac joined in and produced the first Swiss-made analog quartz watch called the Sea Wolf, which also became the official watch of the U.S. Navy Seals.
If you believe that “size matters,” then the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf, weighing a whopping 200 grams, is for you. This is a serious diver’s watch, with a massive dial and a fearsome-looking bezel. Its saw-blade shaped bezel is so designed because it provides for an easy grip even with your gloves on. Water-resistant up to 1000 meters (approximately 3,330 feet), it’s no wonder why this was the watch endorsed by the Navy Seals. The oversized minute hand will definitely serve you satisfactorily when diving. All three hands are filled with tritium and light up fairly well. The crystal is of scratch-proof sapphire, but unfortunately lacks a reflective coating. In any case, it is still an astute “manly watch” purchase at just around $1000.
Zodiac watches have since become popular for its excellent Swiss sports watches. To cater to a growing market, the company launched a vigorous and image-changing ad campaign at the 2005 Basel Fair with the tagline, “The New Face of Swiss.” Today’s Zodiac watches sport intrepid colors, high-quality sapphire and mineral crystals for an active lifestyle, and accurate Swiss quartz movements.
Although Zodiac watches have been around for more than 120 years now, the new millennium marked a new beginning for these fine Swiss watches when the company was purchased by Fossil. Vintage Zodiac watches have thus become prized collector’s items and increase in market value each year.
To learn more about swiss Zodiac watches, visit Swiss-Watches-Guide.com. Check out our complete review of online watch merchants too!