Like ordering a frozen daquiri in a pub where all the other patrons are drinking beer, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT is a burst of flavour and goes about its business without pausing for a moment to consider what others might think. The watch grabs your attention with a mint and blue bicolour bezel, before introducing you to its bold but entirely congruent design language. The dial features plenty of high polish with its baton hands matching the block aesthetic of the hour markers which are faceted and the way light bounces around is easily one of SSW GMT’s most pleasant features. Regardless of whether the watch is a companion on a lovely a summer’s day or the mighty indoors, you will still be rolling your wrist just to see how the Super Sea Wolf highlights all the finished surfaces beneath the sapphire crystal.
The dial, at first glance appears to be black but is actually a very modest shade of blue, complimenting the marriage of dive watch styling from the contemporary Super Sea Wolf with aviation cues from the original Zodiac Aerospace GMT vintage collectors know and love. The Zodiac signature is displayed proudly at 12 with the model of this piece denoted in arguably the sexiest cursive writing I’ve seen on a watch. A negative date wheel with numerals that match the font of the bezel prove that although this watch has many striking features it all feels part of the same blueprint. The case, at 40mm across, 13mm thick and a conventional lug to lug of 48mm is quite possibly the perfect proportions for a sport watch. 40mm meets a wide variety of wrists and I have to compliment Zodiac for housing this GMT movement inside the case without increasing thickness from the Super Sea Wolf dive watch upon which it is based. Coming in at $1,695 USD, you would be pretty hard pressed to find a Swss made, automatic, ETA GMT, 200m water resistance timepiece with this much personality for the price.
I’ve sung this watch it’s praises, for which is has so many, but there is one big flaw I have encountered with this piece. The 3 link bracelet is aesthetically is fantastic, polished centre links, a signed safety clasp and solid end links meet the expectation of a watch at this price point, however the pin & collar system on my particular bracelet failed leaving the watch flying off my wrist unexpectedly. I haven’t heard of any similar issues from other owners, so I put this down to my bad luck and just one bracelet that unfortuantely slipped through quality control. However, it became apparent where all the investment went for the Zodiac SSW GMT, I’m endlessly impressed by all the components and finishing within the watch head, but the bracelet was definitely made to meet a budget. So, I went ahead and bought two brand new bracelets (5 link and 3 link styles) for a grand total of $250AUD. What a bargain! That’s two thirds of the cost of a single Grand Seiko link. I was preparing my mind and my wallet to pay double that at least, so it was a sigh of relief that the after sales cost of a new bracelet was more than reasonable. So while it is made to meet a cost and did fail on me, sourcing a new bracelet at $125 each is a win in my books as it shows me that cost aligns with the quality and the Fossil group is not out to penalise people who have bought into one of their brands and require spare parts. The bracelet feels superb when it’s not launching itself off your wrist sending you into sheer panic, I count myself so lucky my sleeve caught my watch but for now it is staying on a NATO. Another note, the lume is a little lacklustre for how loud the bezel colours are but otherwise, I love this watch. A bold, colourful, design backed by a solid movement and great finishing, this SSW GMT is hard to overlook if you’re in the market for a fun loving, capable sport/adventure watch.
This review was written for Fifthwrist.com
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