Zodiac Watches began in 1892, as a family business in Le Locle, Switzerland. In the early years, the company primarily made diving watches. Later, it branched out to produce other types of watches.
Zodiac Watches – About the Brand
Zodiac Watches are a famous Swiss timepiece. They first came to fame when Ariste Calame, the son of a famous watchmaker, decided to build the world’s most accurate watch. His first product, a pocket watch, was a technical wonder. This was the beginning of a series of technological advances in the world of Swiss timepieces. After Ariste Calame’s success, the Zodiac Watch Company grew to become the fastest-growing watch company in Switzerland. Today, Zodiac manufactures its own movements and calibres.
The Beginnings of Zodiac watches
The origins of zodiac watches can be traced to the 19th century, and the manufacturer is always a little ahead of its time. Zodiac introduced the Astrographic, a unique watch that featured floating hands and a red moon in orbit around the dial while counting seconds. The watch was a huge hit on the consumer market and set the tone for things to come.
In the 1930s, Zodiac began making sports watches. They were very popular at the Basel Watch Fair in 1953 when they found themselves in very exclusive company. Blancpain showcased a dive watch and Zodiac unveiled the Sea Wolf, which was followed by the Rolex Submariner in 1954. Professional dive watches continued to gain popularity during the 1950s and 1960s, with the first Super Sea Wolf featuring a 750-M water resistance.
Zodiac is credited with developing the first automatic sports watch, the AUTOGRAPH, in the 1930s. It became a popular timepiece and featured a radium dial. The brand has always been a pioneer in innovation. From the first pocket watch to the automatic sports watch, Zodiac has pioneered many firsts. The company’s first diving-friendly automatic timepiece was introduced in the 1930s, and later in the 1950s, the brand introduced its iconic Seawolf. Early Seawolf models had a bidirectional countdown bezel and Arabic numerals on the dial. The era also marked the beginning of Zodiac’s sports watch brand.
In 1969, the Zodiac Watch Company introduced a new model called the Moonwatch, featuring floating hour and minute hands. The Moon is a tiny dot on the dial, and it counts the seconds. The company continued to produce vintage models as well as modern versions. The main difference between the older and newer models was and is the automatic calibre. Newer versions also come with leather straps.
The Zodiac logo and brand were made famous by the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, which brought the company to the public’s attention. These watches were popular amongst underwater demolition experts and frogmen. In the late 1960s, the Zodiac logo and brand were firmly entrenched in the public consciousness. Moreover, in the 1970s, the Zodiac Killer terrorized San Francisco and taunted police investigators with mysterious letters containing the circle-in-a-cross symbol.
1970s to the 1990s
The brand’s first digital chronograph, the Astrodigit, was introduced in 1977 and became the first watch of this type to obtain chronometer certification. In 1988, the Zodiac Astrograph was the thinnest quartz watch on the market. The Zodiac brand experienced some rough times in the early 90s, enduring the infamous Quartz Crisis. It had to make a number of changes in its production process. The brand was then purchased by Willy Gad Monnier, who brought TAG Heuer design influences to Zodiac’s products
Zodiac acquisition by Fossil
The Fossil Group has completed the acquisition of three Swiss watch companies, including the famous Zodiac brand. The acquisitions, which totalled $7 million, are part of Fossil’s long-term strategy to grow in Switzerland.
Today, Fossil wants to bring the Zodiac brand back to life, and the Heritage line draws inspiration from the Zodiac archives to recreate classic designs and update them for a modern market. Fossil’s plan to revive the Zodiac brand includes the new Heritage line. The Heritage line is Swiss-made in Fossil’s own facilities and features an in-house automatic movement called the STP 1-11.
The company’s strategy is to create luxury Swiss watches at a lower price. Fossil started off as a supplier of cheap fashion watches but has branched out into more than just casual wear. Its latest acquisition includes the Zodiac brand and the Misfit tech business. With the help of these acquisitions, Fossil is well represented in both traditional and emerging markets.
In-house development of STP movements
Fossil has partnered with Swiss watchmaker STP to supply Zodiac Watches with quality Swiss movements. The sister factory allows the brand to further tweak its movements and create proprietary tech. The partnership is a good example of how Fossil is investing in its flagship mechanical watch brand.
Swiss-based STP claims to be the first watch movement manufacturer to utilize robotic automation. As a result, STP is able to produce a high-quality movement with virtually no human interference. The company claims that it can produce 600 to 1,300 watch movements per day.
STP movements are also used in some high-end luxury watches. One such model is the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compressor, which uses a calibre STP1-13. The Swiss technology production company is owned by Fossil Inc.
Current Zodiac watches
Current Zodiac watches are a fusion of history and contemporary design, and they are a great choice for collectors of tool watches. Their history stretches back to the 1950s and the Super Sea Wolf range. Many collectors value Zodiac for its history and low price, as well as its focus on tool watches and splashes of colour.
The company’s modern-day watches occupy an interesting niche in the watch industry. While the Fossil Group is known for its entry-level “fashion brand” watches, the Zodiac brand has been reaching back into its archives in recent years to resurrect some of its most interesting references.
Zodiac watches are known for their Swiss-made in-house movements and horological heritage. The brand’s designs draw inspiration from vintage watches, and many of its styles are reminiscent of those worn by pilots, sailors, and divers. The brand also offers a wide variety of fashion watches, including dress and sports watches.