Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Skin 53 review

Zodiac is a brand with a long history. After a few years in the wilderness, they’re back, as part of the Fossil group, and making some wonderful watches like the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Review

The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf has a classic design that will be familiar to fans of vintage Zodiac watches. They are putting out some ultra-modern colourful designs, but I opted to take a look at this vintage design, which I think captures the essence of the brand.

At a glance

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin

Price £1,040
Case size 39mm
Thickness 12.8mm including crystal
Water Resistance 200m
Movement STP 3-13

The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf has spartan but acceptable presentation, with a card box with a micro-textured fabric interior. I would like to see something more functional – a watch roll or travel case, perhaps – more in-keeping with its tool watch credentials.

Case and Movement

In common with many modern watches, Zodiac has decided on a smaller case size. The vintage design really suits the 39mm case diameter, and the in-house STP 3-13 allows for the watch to keep to a relatively svelte (for a diver’s watch) 12.8mm including the gently-domed crown. It certainly wears smaller than that thickness would suggest, fitting under a shirt-sleeve without issue.

The signed crown is easy to operate, and the finishing is to a very high standard – the watch hits above its weight in its price category. What would I change? Perhaps an engraved image on the case-back to add to that premium feel, and maybe some lume on the bezel numbers would be the icing on the cake.

Dial and Hands

The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf has an easy-to-read dial with oversized triangular applied markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9. The rest of the printing is crisp against the dial’s attractive sandy texture. The bezel has good action and lines up well with the markings.  The triangular hour and minute hands look great and the orange-tipped seconds hand adds a splash of colour which is matched by the “Super Sea Wolf” dial text and the bezel’s triangle.

The lume is a deep orange which, although looking very cool (see the video review below for a charged lume shot) is hard to charge and so almost impossible for me to capture with my equipment. It is a great look but not so useful in the field.

Strap and Buckle

The supplied strap is rather unusual, with an asymmetric tail, ventilation holes and an oversized rectangular buckle. It’s a very interesting look, but in practical terms, I encountered a couple of issues: the design of that tailpiece means it sticks out past the last strap retainer and can catch on your cuff, and the buckle needed a tug in the opposite direction to get the tang to sit flat against the strap after fastening it. Once it’s on the wrist and set up it is not so bad, but it bothered me enough that I would immediately exchange the strap.

Perhaps Zodiac agrees, as they sent a second strap in the box with the watch. This one is similar – dare I say identical – to that on the Isotope Hydrium. Although costing about £100, it is a significant improvement on the stock strap despite the issues I pointed out in my Isotope Hydrium review: the buckle is a different shape from the holes (it works, just feels odd when you fasten it) and the tapered tail means it never quite fits into the last retainer. Personally, I’d consider a strap from the likes of Barton Watch Bands for this watch, with a backing colour to match that orange hand colour.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin – Video Review

What I Liked… and What I Didn’t Like

þ  Great finishing, on-par with watches twice (or more) the price
þ Brilliant retro design that perfectly suits its size
þ The range also includes some funky modern colourways
ý Great coloured, but dim and hard to charge lume
ý The stock strap has some issues
ý The case-back could do with an engraving to add to the premium feel

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin – The WRUK Verdict

I’m a big fan of this watch: it may be relatively conservative, but the rest of the Zodiac range covers all manner of funky colourways if you are so inclined. What the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf does is get most of the basics right: it’s got a classic iconic design, a Goldilocks case size that will suit most wrists, a level of fit and finish that makes it feel like a £1,000+ watch and it is versatile enough that it could easily be the only watch in a collection.

The downsides are relatively minor. I expect to immediately replace the strap on budget watches but not on watches in this price range. Some may be able to get past the issues I had with the strap, but for me, I’d want to replace it right away. There is a bracelet option, but I prefer the look of this watch on rubber. I also thought the case back could do with a deeper engraving just to finish off that premium feel. These are not deal-breakers: the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf is an excellent watch and I can’t wait to see what the brand comes up with next.

Buy a Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin

Zodiac are currently expanding their UK Authorised Dealer network, but for now, you can buy a Zodiac Super Sea Wolf watch from CW Sellors.

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

Available for Amazon Prime