For watch manufacturers like Zodiac, founded in 1882 by Ariste Calame, watchmaking already ran in the family. The passion behind Calame’s vision was strengthened by the quality control of materials and exerting full control over the entire design of the watch from start to finish. He also believed that selecting the tools from which a timepiece would be crafted from would ensure each of his watches would offer something unique and dynamic. When the company was first founded it went by the name of Ariste Calame, but would later operate under the Zodiac name. It was not until 1908 that the first Zodiac watches were released.
The 1930s was an important decade for Zodiac since it marked a period of firsts for the company. The brand’s first automatic sports watch debuted, followed by the popular Zodiac Autograph. The timepiece sported a power reserve indicator and a radium dial for enhanced readability in low light conditions. One of the most popular models developed and released by Zodiac has to be the Sea Wolf, however, which didn’t launch until the 1950s. It was the manufacturer’s first purpose built dive watch. Its successor, the Super Sea Wolf sits alongside the classic Sea Wolf watch as two of the most popular dive watches within the industry to date. There were many elements to like about the Super Sea Wolf, mainly its increased water pressure rating from 200 to 750 metres and its screw down crown which prevents water from seeping into the internal environment of the watch.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the Astrographic watch was born. Its unique design featured a red moon that indicates the seconds whilst orbiting the dial and a set of floating hour and minute hands. Having become bankrupt in 1997, Zodiac regained success again the year after, when it was taken over by Zenender International Inc. It was here where a lot of signature Zodiac watch collections were wiped out; the Seawolf, most automatic chronographs and the Swiss Formulas, keeping only the Super Sea Wolf and the Marine Life models.
In 2001 Zodiac was purchased by the Fossil Group. It was here that Zodiac was able to modernize the brand and gear its products towards current audiences. Aimed at outdoor enthusiasts was the sporty ZMX range, focusing on the aviation, motorsport, exploration and diving industry with a range of bulky 44mm models sported on rubber straps. It was 2014 however, that some Zodiac watches from the brand’s Heritage were brought back. The Sea Dragon and the Astrographic remained faithful to their original designs albeit with modifications for overall better performance. In 2016 the return of the iconic 1954 Sea Wolf made an appearance with vintage inspired models of the Skin Diver and the “Diver”.
With over 120 years under its belt, Zodiac is a company that has explored many genres for watch wearers, both old and young, experienced or beginner level, sporty or professional. Zodiac watches have been brought into the 21st century with a range of high performance calibres and instantly recognisable designs that communicate a strong message when worn on the wrist. With watches like the Grandrally, the Jetomatic, the Olympos and of course, the Super Sea Wolf, it’s clear that Zodiac is a manufacturer that endeavours to remain right at the forefront of Swiss precision and style.