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Collecting Vintage Zodiac Watches

This week on 'Under the Radar', Tyler talks through his passion for collecting Zodiac timepieces from the 1950s through 1970s. Diving into the details on the brand in general as well as showcasing some pieces from his personal collection.

The Zodiac brand is often overlooked when it comes to vintage divers due to the immense popularity of some of its direct competitors at the time (We’re looking at you Rolex!) but when these watches were released they were very much a threat to these brands that today are household names. Originally released in 1953 alongside the Blancpain 50 Fathoms, they are both credited as being the first commercially available dive watch. If we want to get into the details though (which we almost always do), upon initial release the Zodiac did bring the consumer the higher depth rating at 10 Atmospheres (339 ft) vs. the 50 Fathoms at 300 ft.

Check out the video below for all the info in this weeks episode and make sure to check out the channel for more of this content!

What makes us love these watches?

There are very few brands that deliver this level of utility and value per dollar in the market right now. Of course, there are bigger names in dive watches, they also come at a much higher price point. One of the things we love about collecting vintage watches is the amount of just plain fun you can have within the hobby. These pieces are perfect examples that you don’t need to spend an inordinate amount of money to have a really high quality, historically significant and just plain cool watch. This is the core theme in our love story to Zodiac watches.

 

Reference. 722-916

When it comes to Zodiac dive watches, the Ref.722-916 is often what everyone thinks about. These pieces with their classic 60s skin diver feel are spectacularly comfortable on the wrist and have a ton of vibe. The most iconic of these design elements, beyond the large plated brass bezel (which has a tendency to develop a beautiful patina) is the large triangular hour markers and the broad dauphine hands. While these hands are hugely visible, they do have a tendency to lose their lume over time – keep an eye out for that.

While these pieces came with a number of bracelet options, we’re a huge fan of these watches on a variety of straps as well.

 

Reference. 722-946B

One of the things we look for when it comes to collectability within a reference range is variation. There is no way you can say this range lacks variation. Zodiac was one of the boldest companies in the world when it came to producing a seemingly endless variety of bezel, hand, and dial designs. Some of these have become more desirable than others, as often happens, but they all contain that same design DNA.

As the number of variations increases, or perhaps as the attention to said variations increases, the desirability and price tend to increase in unison. We’ve been seeing this trend for a while now, especially as some of these bolder design choices have been rediscovered by the collecting public.

For more coverage of ‘Under the Radar’ watches – check out the full series on Youtube.

Head of operations at C+T, Tyler Vanes is an avid watch collector and the host of ‘Under the Radar’ focusing on some of the more obscure and unknown – yet still collectable vintage timepieces.

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