Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 68 Saturation

Zodiac has just announced its latest iteration of the Super Sea Wolf 68 Saturation. Following the release of the Andy Mann limited edition, the brand likely got a lot of feedback asking for a non-limited Sea Wolf 68 on a traditional link bracelet. And they’ve has delivered on just that.

The watch returns to the color scheme of a previous limited edition of the 68, with a textured black dial featuring orange accents and C3 Super-LumiNova, with a black bezel to match. It’s the first non-limited Sea Wolf 68 to feature the COSC STP 3-13 and the 3-link bracelet from the Andy Mann. The watch is priced at $1,595 and is available now.

Featured Insights
 

• 45 mm x 11mm x 50 mm
• 20 mm lug width
• STP 3-13 Automatic Movement
• Sapphire Crystal (AR Coating)
• C3 SuperLuminova
• Push-down, uni-direction bezel
• 1000 Meter Resistance
• Price: $1,595

Rolex Explorer 14270 Review: Understated Elegance in 36mm

The Rolex Explorer is an interesting watch. It’s simplistic in design, but it can also melt your face at the same time. I’ve always had trouble buying into all the Mount Everest ethos and cave spelunking marketing surrounding the Explorer. To connect with the Rolex Explorer, I needed something more personal. I found it in the most unlikely way.

The holidays are a great time to casually ask your family members about their watches. I knew about my uncle Rick’s Rolex Air-King, but nothing about a second Rolex that he never wears. The story of that watch was much more than I expected.

The family picture is from Easter brunch in the spring of 2000 (yup, that’s me in the back). Even as a college student, I could tell that my uncle (a professional musician) and his girlfriend Rachael were serious; she's in the purple sweater - look familiar to anyone? What I didn’t know was that he planned on proposing to her the following year. He was also planning on making a big move by giving her a Rolex Oyster Perpetual that Christmas. He had already purchased one on layaway* at the local AD. Every time that he had a good gig, he’d put some money down towards it. What does that have to do with this Rolex Explorer 14270 review? Read on.

The Case

There are no surprises with the case. The 14270 Explorer has a 36mm oyster style case that is distinctly Rolex. The lug to lug is only 43.6mm. Combine that with a height of 11.1mm and you have a neat and compact package that many will find extremely comfortable. Its size makes it a great watch for couples to share. If you have very large wrists, you might find the Rolex 14270 too small.

There are no crown guards. The lack thereof makes the Explorer 14270 feel dressier and less serious than other Rolex tool watches. The line and the logo on the crown signify the “twinlock” crown tube, giving the 14270 a water resistance rating of 330ft (more than enough for swimming).

I found the vibe more Oyster Perpetual than no-date Submariner. The smooth bezel that lacks any extra tool-specific functionality also dresses up the watch despite Rolex marketing the Explorer as a “tool watch”. Suit or jeans, the Explorer is always appropriate.

The Dial

The Explorer 14270 has one of the cleanest, most balanced, and well-proportioned dials that you’ll find on any watch. The dial design is up there in elite company with other iconic watches such as the Speedmaster Professional and the Patek 5711. So simple, yet so powerful.

I’ve never been a fan of 3-6-9 Arabic hour markers. The Explorer 14270 gets a pass. It’s one of the most legible dials that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been guilty of getting lost within the stick indices with certain dive watches. The Explorer is about telling the time in the purest way possible.

The numerals aren’t lumed, but the sticks and hands are. I was amazed that the lume-treated areas still pop with green luminova and last into the night. The hour sticks seemed to hold their luminescence longer that the signature sword, Mercedes, and lollipop hands. Not too shabby for a twenty-year-old watch.

The Movement

The Rolex Explorer shares the same in-house caliber 3000 movement with the Submariner (no date), and the Air-King from the same era. The specs for the movement are all in my review for the Rolex Air-King. I won’t bore you with the technical details that can be found in the other article. Instead, I’ll give you some additional thoughts about it.

This watch has been a “Safe Queen” for the last twenty years. Besides special occasions, this particular watch has been seldom worn. It still amazes me how quickly the movement will self-wind and start running after being dormant. It’s fast − the sweeping seconds hand was already going before I could even unscrew the crown to “hack” and set the time.

Remarkably, the rotor is still virtually silent as it rotates to automatically recharge the 42-hour power reserve. I bet that it’s still very close to the nominal reserve. This un-serviced Explorer is still keeping about -4 seconds per day and winds buttery smoothly. The Explorer was also regulated and tested for COSC certification at the time of manufacturing. The Air-King with the same caliber 3000 movement was not.

The Bracelet

The 20mm (tapering to 15.5mm) Oyster bracelet is something that should at least look familiar. It is the reference 78790 that was used for years (decades, really) and shared with various other Rolex sport models. Maybe too many years.

The clasp is stamped with a faux three-link bracelet pattern and the 558B endlinks are hollow. The updated modern Rolex bracelets that come on six-digit referenced models are a big upgrade from their predecessors. In hand, a modern Monta or Nodus bracelet is going to feel higher quality than a vintage Rolex five-digit bracelet.

This is not to be confused with feeling “cheap”. Despite the aging technicalities, the overall finishing is superb. There is no lack for charm and the “Oyster” three-link is distinctly Rolex. I would recommend keeping the 14270 on the stock bracelet for the full experience.

Final Thoughts

After the holidays in 2000, my uncle broke up with Rachael. Besides the emotional baggage, he had a loose end to tie up at the AD. He had two payments left on a Ladies Oyster Perpetual and was single. He walked in, paid the balance on the Ladies Oyster Perpetual and walked out with an Explorer instead. The rest is history.

By the summer of 2001, Rachael Ray had a $10 million contract with the Food Network and my uncle continued to enjoy some of his most successful years as a professional musician. My uncle is gracious enough to let me borrow his Explorer from time to time. It’s great looking down at my wrist and having that family connection to my uncle Rick. Feeling like I stole Rachael Ray’s Rolex when I’m wearing it is priceless.

Is it easy to tell time? Yes.

Could I #watchfast it? Yes.

5 Things That I Love

    1. Such a clean dial
    2. Super legibility
    3. Refreshing 36mm case size
    4. Classic steel “Oyster” bracelet
    5. Understated elegance

5 Things That I Hate

    1. Doesn’t make me feel like an “Explorer”
    2. It epitomizes the pre-owned Rolex “bubble”
    3. Can feel small at 36mm
    4. Hollow endlinks
    5. The lack of weight to the bracelet

Featured Insights
 

• Model reference 14270
• 36mm x 44mm x 11mm case dimensions
• Steel Bracelet, 20mm lugs
• 904L Stainless steel case
• Flat Sapphire Crystal
• Super Luminova lume
• Cal. 3000 (in-house) movement
• Price $3,000-5,000 USD (pre-owned)

*layaway: first becoming popular during the Great Depression, layaway is a purchase agreement in which the seller reserves an item for a consumer until the consumer completes all the payments necessary to pay for that item, and only then hands over the item. In modern times, people prefer crippling credit card debt as an alternative.


Oris Aquis Lake Baikal Limited Edition

Siberia’s Lake Baikal, for those unfamiliar, is the world’s largest freshwater lake which has been under threat for some time due to pollution from both industry and the impact of tourism. Continuing their commitment to raising awareness about various issues threatening the world’s great bodies of water, Oris has released a new, “high performance” dive watch inspired by, and in commemoration of, efforts to preserve this treasured natural wonder. According to Oris’ website, this newest addition to the Oris Aquis collection was “made in partnership with the Lake Baikal Foundation, a research center working to preserve Siberia’s Lake Baikal.” The Oris Aquis Lake Baikal is the most recent in a series of limited-edition Aquis divers (this one, to 1,999 pieces to mark the year Russia passed a law protecting the lake) focused on such environmental issues, which include other models such as the Great Barrier Reef, Clean Ocean, and Blue Whale.

The Oris Aquis Lake Baikal, as other Aquis divers, is a substantial watch with a 43mm case size. Its design is equal parts rugged tool watch (ceramic bezel, bulky crown guards, SuperLumiNova indices) and luxury piece (domed sapphire crystal, gorgeous sunburst gradient dial, signed crown). The dial is really what shines here and what elevates the Lake Baikal from function-only to a handsome dress watch. The environmentally-conscious watches in the Aquis line all have dials that pay tribute to bodies of water. But, while the Clean Ocean or Blue Whale have deep blue dials to emulate the depths of the ocean, the Lake Baikal’s blue reflects the icy surface of the lake. It is a blue with depth but also a surface glow of silver and frosty white, a combo that makes the Lake Baikal stand out from the rest of the Aquis pack, in my opinion.

The caseback, as is the case with the other Aquis environmental watches, is also something to behold. Oris has done some neat things with these limited edition case backs including a recycled plastic medallion on the Clean Ocean. Here, Oris delivers what I think is perhaps the loveliest case back design of the series: an engraving portraying the star cracks in the ice covering the lake’s surface. The backs of these limited edition Oris watches are consistently an added treat and the Lake Baikal does not fall short in this respect.

Oris Aquis Lake Baikal Specs

  • 43mm case diameter
  • Domed sapphire crystal
  • Blue gradient sunburst dial
  • Multi-piece stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp and diver’s extension
  • 300m/30 bar water resistance
  • Oris 733 Movement, based on a Selita SW-200-1 / automatic winding / 38-hour power reserve
  • Price: 2,200 Swiss francs (or about $2,260 USD)

I hope that the environmental conditions of the earth’s lakes and oceans improve rather than regresses in the coming years, though this fight for the preservation of clean water has, in my opinion, produced some of the most inspired moments in Oris’ recent catalog.

Oris


New Steel Omega Speedmaster 321 "Ed White" Just Announced (ref. 311.30.40.30.01.001)

There was no big reveal at Baselworld or press event at the Kennedy Space Center. Omega softly announce the new Speedmaster Moonwatch in stainless steel with the legendary caliber 321 movement (ref. 311.30.40.30.01.001). This is really big news for watch enthusiasts and space geeks. I happen to be in both camps. The vintage Omega Speedmasters 321 calibers have been steadily climbing in price. Omega did a limited edition 321 in platinum at an outrageous price point in 2019 (not even the limited edition for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing had the Omega 321 Caliber). However, we still had no modern steel Speedmaster Moonwatch with the 321 moment.

The Speedmaster Professional is one of the most common luxury tool watches in the horological enthusiast space. Of course there are nuances in the details between reference numbers. Still, the modern version has been in production for so long that there is no shortage of them (new or used). How does Omega get the regular Speedmaster Professional owner to buy-in again?

Omega has delivered on what the Speedmaster community has been demanding for a while now. The big difference between the previous Omega 1863 Caliber and the new Omega 321 Caliber is that the 321 has a column wheel actuator for the chronograph. This is in contrast to the 1863 Caliber's cam-actuated chronograph function.

You can spot the difference easily because the top of the column wheel looks like the turret on a castle tower. Of course they will show it with a transparent case back. Can you spot it?

Purists say that there is less "jump" when engaging a column wheel chronograph complication. I say that it gives you a closer connection to the astronauts that originally used them. Classic Speedmaster features are combined with modern elements on the Speedmaster Moonwatch 321. The punch list reads like a roster for the all-star game. Here’s what you need to know.

New Steel Speedmaster 321 Specs

Featured Insights
 

• 39.7mm case
• Flat lugs
• Caliber 321 manual-wind movement
• Exposed pumpers
• Flat link 19 mm bracelet
• Exhibition caseback
• Sapphire Crystal
• Ceramic DON* bezel *”dot over ninety”
• Fauxtina Hands
• Stepped dial

Despite being a regular production piece, I don't see Omega opening the floodgates to make a ton of these. I am also predicting that the Speedmaster Caliber 321 reference 311.30.40.30.01.001 is going to be the first Omega regular production watch with a waiting list.

A hefty MSRP of over $14,100 USD (after the Swiss franc conversion) puts the Caliber 321 Moonwatch is in Daytona MSRP territory. However, the Daytona pairs with a tennis sweater and the Moonwatch pairs with an EVA suit. You tell me who the real badass is...

Image Credit: Omega


Sinn Announces New Tokyo Boutique

Sinn Announces New Tokyo Boutique

By: Michael Penate

For the first time ever, Sinn is opening its doors in Tokyo. This month, the brand announced that it would be opening SINN Depot, a shop located in Koen Dori, Shibuya, Tokyo. Here, enthusiasts will be able to browse through a selection of Sinn models, accessories, and specialty goods. The brand also mentioned that several Sinn historical watches will be on display. With so many cool watch spots to visit in Japan, it's nice to see a brand like Sinn joining the party, especially if you consider that Tokyo is quickly outpacing other cities in the realm of unstoppable watch enthusiasm.

The Sinn Shibuya Depot will likely provide a similar experience to what you'd find in their Frankfurt store. The best part is definitely having a spot where you can try watches on in person. Hopefully, it's successful. And you can bet that we will be adding this to our list of spots to visit when we finally make it out there. Congratulations to Sinn!

To learn more, visit Sinn Spezialuhren.

Image credit: SINN Depot, Shibuya


Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date

Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date

By: Michael Penate

Oris has just announced what is quite possibly the ultimate watch for bronze-loving lunatics. Today, the brand introduced the Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date, the latest version that's been added to the growing Big Crown Pointer Date family. Produced since 1938, this specific model comes with a bronze case, crown, bezel, and dial—a perfect setup if you're into patina and watches that age in a pretty unique way. But, with other bronze offerings within the collection, is this configuration really enough to attract new buyers?

Last year to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Pointer Date, Oris released a strikingly similar version of this watch (ref. 01 754 7741 3167-07 5 20 58BR) with a bronze case and a green dial. While I'm not the biggest fan of bronze on watches, I will say that the previous version seemed slightly more attractive, especially with that green dial. Like its predecessor, the Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date features a fully-bronze 40mm case with a classic, no-crown-guard design. We see the usual cathedral handset, a pointer date display, and a grippy, fluted bezel. It's truly a look that has grown on me over the years, but this bronze version is drawing me even closer to the plain stainless steel options.

Under the hood, Oris incorporated the Oris 754 automatic movement—a modified version of the Sellita SW 200-1. It's got a 38-hour power reserve, 26 jewels, and an operating frequency of 4Hz. Like many of Sellita's options, it'll probably serve the wearer well and the integrated pointer date format really modernizes the original design introduced in the 30s. The strap is made of brown chamois deer leather and comes with a matching bronze buckle.

Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date Specs:

  • 40mm Case Diameter
  • Dome Sapphire Crystal
  • Brown Chamois Deer Leather Strap
  • 50m Water Resistance
  • Oris 754
  • Price: 1,900 CHF

Finally, it's worth pointing out that the Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date is intended to commemorate the 90th birthday of Dr. Rolf Portmann—Oris' Honorary Chairman, and an individual responsible for much of the brand's modern-day success. It's quite the looker if you're really, really into bronze but I suspect that the reception could be divisive overall. Still, one can't help but admire all of the different iterations within this collection, and I look forward to seeing what Oris does next. The Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date is available now and you can learn more by visiting the official Oris website.

Oris


Ollech & Wajs OW C-1000

Ollech & Wajs OW C-1000

By: Michael Penate

If you ask me, one of the most intriguing brand revivals we've seen recently came from Ollech & Wajs. Although their history seems a little fuzzy, the brand released a ton of interesting and quirky tool watches that are ripe for the picking, if you consider the neverending popularity of vintage reissue watches. After introducing their new OW P-101 and OW P-104 models, Ollech & Wajs is now announcing the availability of the OW C-1000—a reissue of the Ollech & Wajs Caribbean 1000 from the 1960s.

The Carribean 1000 itself was a collaboration between Ollech & Wajs and the Jenny Watch Company back in 1946. And if you consider the 60s tool watch vibes found within the OW P-101 and OW P-104 models, it's no surprise that OW chose that very same platform as a starting point for the new OW C-1000. The first reissues brought forth their very own separate "pilot" style points, and this third installment makes for a 100% diving-inspired instrument.

To me, there's a little bit of Doxa, Jenny, and OW mixed into the watch's design. It's brushed top to bottom, features a fully-graduated rotating dive bezel, and boasts an impressive 1,000m of water resistance—something I was not expecting as I started digging through the spec sheet. Another design point that I'm loving is the set of triangular hour markers at 12, 3, and 9. Together with the 6 o'clock date window, they bring a nice degree of symmetry to the dial that goes well with the handset. However, I could've done without the additional "3300 ft" text just above the date window—it's just redundant and makes things feel a little more crowded toward the bottom of the dial.

Like the original Carribean 1000, the OW C-1000 comes with an ETA movement, the ETA 2824-2 automatic. You can also opt for a brushed beads-of-rice bracelet, or stick with the straightforward black nylon RAF strap. I think the 39.5mm case size will work fine with either option, but just know that this beefy boy is 15mm thick if you count the domed sapphire crystal.

Ollech & Wajs OW C-1000 Specs:

  • 39.5mm Diameter x 15mm Thickness x 49.5mm Lug-to-Lug
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Dome Sapphire Crystal
  • Nylon RAF Strap or Stainless Steel Beads-of-Rice
  • 1000m Water Resistance
  • ETA 2824-2 Automatic Movement
  • Price: 1,456 CHF - 1,596 CHF

As another cool and relatively affordable offering from Ollech & Wajs, I'm excited to see if this straightforward diver will help inject some much-needed momentum into the brand's recent revival. I've always loved their designs, but never really wanted to sink cash into the vintage models. It's available now and you can learn more by visiting the official Ollech & Wajs website.


Archimede SportTaucher Review – How Do You Say ‘Badass’ in German?

Archimede SportTaucher Review – How Do You Say ‘Badass’ in German?

By: Mark Signorelli

I know a badass watch when I see one. Some obvious examples? Tudor North Flag on bracelet, Mühle Glashütte S.A.R. Rescue Timer, Victorinox I.N.O.X. You get the idea. That leads me to the Archimede SportTaucher (Sport Diver in English) that is the subject of this review. I wasn’t expecting a badass watch until I held it in my hand. This piece is stout. I’m not sure if it could stop a bullet but if Wonder Woman were nearby, I’d ask her put the SportTaucher on and give it a try. If you’re looking for polished surfaces, chamfered edges, genteel bracelets... well, there are plenty of other choices out there.

On the other hand, if you are keen to find a non-homage dive watch with a superbly machined case, top-notch crown, thoroughly sensible dial, and beefy (but surprisingly comfortable) bracelet, you just hit the jackpot.

Case, Dial and Hands

The CNC-milled, stainless steel case of the SportTaucher is all substance and muscle. It’s chunky without being bulky and completely void of gimmicks. Still, there is some grace in how the crown guards flow out of the case and comfortably position the crown at 4 o’clock. Size wise, it doesn’t follow any of the downsizing or super-sizing trends and just goes straight up the middle with a 41.5mm case diameter and a length that is just shy of 50mm. In keeping with its water resistance of 300 meters, the case back is etched with the image of a deep-sea diving helmet.

Archimede would not reveal the dial material but, to my eye, it looks like injection-molded polymer. There is complexity in this dial that warrants further discussion. First, there is the chapter ring, which appears to be molded into the dial as opposed to being a separate piece. The integrated chapter ring offers a precision that prevents misalignment with the hour markers (are you listening Seiko?). Then there is the sunken center section of the dial, which offers a soft transition from the hour markers. This is the only concession to softness on the entire watch and it’s very pleasing to the eye.

The hour and minute hands are standard looking sword hands while the needle-shaped second hand is a glossy red to complement the five minute indicators on the chapter ring. The hour and minute hands as well as the hour markers and bezel pip are lumed well enough to last until morning. The fluorescent green lume on the hour and minute hands is noticeably brighter than the soft aqua used on the hour markers and pip.

I like the way that Archimede handles the date window on this watch. It’s at the 4 o’clock position and simply takes the place of the hour marker. This arrangement doesn’t interfere with any of the numeric hour markers and aligns directly with the crown.

Bezel and Crown

The screw-down crown of the Archimede SportTaucher is excellent and it's one of the best I have ever seen. It engages the threads with ease and its size is head-and-shoulders above the skimpy crowns that watch companies typically scrounge from the parts bin.

The 120-click dive bezel could use some additional precision. There is a small bit of vertical play as well as some back-play. On a positive note, the clicks are very positive, there is no binding and the bezel markings line up precisely with the corresponding markers on the dial.

The Bracelet

The stainless steel, five-link bracelet is solidly built and rather thick at 4mm. It looks like it should be a hair-puller but I didn’t experience any discomfort at all. With four micro-adjust positions, I was able to achieve a perfect fit. The clasp is partially milled, double locking and feels very secure.

A diver extension is provided as well. Overall, it’s a very masculine design and contributes to the SportTaucher’s durable character.

The Movement

The Archimede SportTaucher is powered by the Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic movement, which features a quickset date and a 38 hour power reserve. The SW200-1 has become somewhat of a workhorse with watch manufacturers, especially in light of a limited supply of comparable ETA movements. Sellita’s own specifications indicate an expected accuracy of +/- 20 seconds per day (although in my experience I would expect something more in the +/- 5-10 second range).

On the Wrist

This is a seriously robust watch that feels like it can take a beating. You won’t mistake it for a dress diver, because that's not the Archimede SportTaucher's purpose. This is a no-nonsense watch that can handle most of what you can throw at it. On bracelet, it’s very comfortable but you won’t forget that you’re wearing a piece of steel. If you want to lighten the load, the SportTaucher looks good on a variety of NATO straps.

Final Thoughts

Archimede is part of the Ickler family of watch brands, which also includes LIMES. Based in Pforzheim, Germany, Ickler has earned its reputation as a quality manufacturer of watch cases over a 95-year period. They handle the case design and manufacturing as well as assembly and quality control.

I was fascinated by the smorgasbord of options available on the Archimede website. In addition to the five-link bracelet, the SportTaucher can be ordered with leather or rubber straps as well as an attractive Milanaise mesh bracelet. Dial options include blue, white and black/orange. You can also specify a 12 hour bezel in addition to something not often seen, a 360 degree compass bezel. Lastly, PVD case finishing is available.

Archimede will gladly sell any of their watches directly to customers via their website. As of this writing, the SportTaucher I reviewed is listed for 890.76 Euros (excluding VAT). U.S. customers will need to factor in shipping costs as well as import duties but another option is to buy from Ickler’s sole U.S. retail dealer, Watchmann. From personal experience, Greg Stein at Watchmann offers excellent service and is very responsive and accessible by phone and email.

The SportTaucher line of watches is probably overshadowed by Archimede’s better-known Pilot and Outdoor collections. In the world of dive watches, however, I feel that the SportTaucher is a more enduring alternative to the homage aesthetic and trendy styling flourishes that have become commonplace. Being badass doesn’t hurt either.
 

Featured Insights
 

• 41.5mm x 49.7mm x 12mm
• 20mm lug width
• 300 meters of water resistance
• Flat sapphire crystal
• 120 click bezel (w/ aluminum insert)
• Screw down crown
• Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic movement
• Price: €1,060.00 incl. VAT (€890.76 excl. VAT)

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black

By Michael Penate

Today, Zodiac has announced a new addition to its growing Super Sea Wolf collection with a bit of a twist—if you consider what the catalog currently looks like. While we've been drawn to the collection's vintage sizing and styling in the past, this watch presents a slight departure and shakes things up for collectors. It's definitely not typical for the brand, and I'm curious to see if it will be well-received. So let's break it down—here's a quick look at the brand new Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black.

One of the most immediately recognizable style elements is the fully black-plated stainless steel case and bracelet. It's not something I've seen from Zodiac before and I'm sure the aggressive styling will pull in buyers that are looking for something outside of Zodiac's usual approach. This finishing—paired with a beefy 44mm case diameter—presents us with a sleek, modern variant that balances the otherwise vintage-focused styling of the Super Sea Wolf family. And as someone that usually stays away from blacked-out watches, I have to say that this one looks stellar in the press photos. I always loved Zodiac's use of a mineral crystal layer over the unidirectional dive bezel, and it appears that this watch also has that feature.

Featured Insights
 

• 44mm x 49mm x 13mm
• 20ATM Water Resistance
• 20mm Lug Width
• STP3-13 Automatic Movement
• Sapphire Crystal
• Black Sunray Dial
• Swiss LumiNova
• $1,395

A closer look at the black sunray dial reveals a fun design touch as well. The 'Sea Wolf Automatic' text is rendered in a cool, aqua color tone that matches the hefty paddle seconds hand. It makes for a nice pop of color within a fully monochromatic watch design. Other features include AR coating, bright lume on the hands+hour markers, and a screw-down crown. Finally, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Automatic Black comes with Fossil's very own STP3-13 Automatic Movement. A vast improvement over the earlier STP1-11, this version brings us an extra jewel for the upper barrel arbor, a longer power reserve, and the convenience of a swan neck regulator.

Overall, aside from the blacked-out styling and larger case size, I'm sure Zodiac fans can expect the usual Super Sea Wolf experience. The changes are minimal, but I hope that this version draws in some new fans for Zodiac, especially if the 40mm case size is something that held them back in the past.

Zodiac Watches


Seven Minutes In Heaven: The Monta Atlas

Seven Minutes In Heaven: The Monta Atlas

By Michael Penate

It's been a long time coming. Finally, after sitting on this for a bit, I'm ready to share some thoughts about the Monta Atlas GMT. Recently, work and life have managed to brutally pull me under—but when a great watch has to be written about, I do my best to share my review when I can. Monta is the product of a new era of microbrands pushing into uncharted territory with a controversial pivot toward four-digit price points. Naturally, it's still the kind of thing that strikes a nerve for several of our value-conscious audience members. But if there's one thing Monta has taught me, it's that you really can't pass final judgment until testing things out in person. Truthfully, I became a huge fan after spending time with it. And while brief, we're taking this opportunity to introduce a new segment of quick, to-the-point watch evaluations titled, Seven Minutes in Heaven. Let's get into it.

Think of the Monta Atlas as the anti-GMT, GMT. It makes no attempt at representing a romanticized piece of pilot kit, and doesn't lean on the strategy of wooing armchair aviators into an ill-informed, impulse buy. Instead, we get a watch that tells you the time and tosses in a second time zone as a bonus—that's really it. But it does this in what it is perhaps the cleanest way possible with some of the best levels of fit and finish you'll find in today's microbrand space. Inevitably, I found myself forced to break away from my GMT predilections and focus on what the Atlas was, instead of what I wanted it to be.

The Monta Atlas is 38.5mm wide, 10.2mm thick, and 47mm lug to lug. It takes the field watch vibes you'd get with the Monta Triumph and mixes them up with travel-ready functionality that will work for anyone from hardcore enthusiasts to casual watch buyers breaking that four-digit range. On-wrist, the proportions wear well and while I may be screaming into a personalized echo chamber, I love that Monta decided to keep everything within the sub-40mm confines. I've talked to guys with serious tree trunk wrists, and even they agree that the Atlas and Triumph models work for them.

Another stand-out feature on the Atlas—and all Monta watches—is the clasp. I don't know much about the patent or processes behind it, but it's the closest you'll get to the fit, finish, and performance of a six-digit reference Rolex clasp at this price point. Action is proud, solid, and secure—with a beautifully engraved Monta logo to spice things up. It's still an area I feel many brands overlook and I often refer to this as the golden standard for clasp construction outside of the Rolex family.

If you're a water resistance nerd, just know that it sports 150m (500ft) of water resistance... plenty. This feature is accompanied by a screw-down crown and a robust case and bracelet structure featuring a variety of brushed and polished surfaces. Pair that with a beautifully symmetrical dial clearly displaying two time zones, and you have one of the coolest packages available well under $2,000. Oh, and even though I've been traumatized by misaligned Sellita SW330 movements in the past, this one (with -5/+5 second a day regulation) hums along without issue. But truth be told, it's ugly as hell, mostly unfinished, and undeserving of the exhibition caseback it gets—really my only issue with this watch.

Ultimately I'd say that the Monta Atlas was a huge challenge for me. I spend way too much time fantasizing about 1675s, original Glycine Airman models, and Bulova Astronauts. Sure, they pull us back to a certain "golden age" of badasses wearing cool watches, but I'd personally love to see someone rocking an Atlas for the rest of his/her own life and imprinting every bit of adventure and experience on its stoic, brushed utilitarian case. It's no GMT Master II, but holy shit. Even after sitting on this review for months, I still find myself thinking that the Monta Atlas can be my final "flyer," no matter what.

The Monta Atlas GMT retails for $1,795 on the stainless steel bracelet and you can learn more by visiting Monta's official site.

MONTA Watch
 

Featured Insights
 

• 38.5mm x 47mm x 10.2mm
• 150 Meters Water Resistance
• Screw down crown
• Sellita SW330 / MONTA M-23 Caliber
• 42-hour power reserve
• Sapphire crystal
• 3 Dials: Black, Lacquer White, or Lacquer Blue
• Swiss LumiNova BGw9
• Price: $1,795