There is no doubt that, for me, the Zodiac Aerospace GMT was the clear star of the BaselWorld show this year. In fact, it was for a great many people, as evidenced by how quickly it sold out. IE, no loaners available for us media types to ogle over in person. Such is life of a popular model, I suppose. However, no sour grapes here, because we instead got to spend some time with another vintage-look watch from the brand, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression.

Now, I’m no student of the brand, but I think it’s safe to say that the Sea Wolf is one of the more iconic models for the brand. And even the name of this one – Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression – calls to mind the compression dive watch cases of, well, the 50s. Can’t say as that this is the construction here, but the look is definitely old-school cool. For starters, look at that handset and indices. Not only is the shape one we don’t see today, the luminous paint is an odd hue to our eyes these days. Now, I remember growing up (back in my day!) seeing all manner of glowing things in this particular shade of green. Today, we’re spoiled by the variety of luminous colors we can have. On this watch, I really dug the mint chip green.

Speaking of the handset on the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression, there’s another fun detail hiding there, for when the hands overlap. This is an intentional design, as they “fit” together so well to create a single unified shape, it can’t be an accident. These are the details that can really make a watch, and are the fun things that owners like to point out to other watch guys.

Another thing on the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression that I quickly became a fan of was the Jubilee bracelet. There’s just something about the 5-link, with brushed and polished surfaces, and the play of light on all those curves, that just really does it for me. It also makes for a bracelet that really wants to form to your wrist while keeping things breathable – and dressy. I will admit that there’s a bit of a weird interplay (read: it almost looks like it doesn’t fit) between the end links and the super-long lug horns, but that’s made up for by the hidden spring on the bracelet. You see, the clasp, while being a style I don’t normally see, still managed to hide an “extension” of sorts in there. It’s got some springy give, so you’ve got some wiggle room in the sizing as your wrist expands and contracts during the day. Not a shabby little addition, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more brands do the same.

Tucked into the case of the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression is another something we don’t see a lot of – the STP 1-11 automatic movement. At first, that sounds odd, but then one remembers that Fossil owns Zodiac, and it all makes sense. Want to know more about it? Well, head on over here. For the rest of us, you’re getting a Swiss movement that was accurate in my testing, and gets the job done (you know, accurately telling you the date and time).

For our review of the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression, we of course had the classic sunray-black dial with the black bezel. If that’s not your thing, they’ve also just recently introduced two new blue models (shown up above), with similar pricing, albeit with the different color scheme and a STP3-13 movement inside. We’ll probably see about getting that ice-blue bezel one in for some review time, as that looks cool and crisp. But back to the watch at hand. The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression can be yours for the cool price of $1,295 on the superb bracelet, or $1,095 on a rubber strap (which may also be superb, we just haven’t seen it). For my first go-round with a Zodiac watch, this was a fun one, and I’m looking forward to what they cook up next.

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression
  • Price: $1,295 as tested
  • Who’s it for? You want your old-school look put into modern reliability at an affordable luxury price point
  • Would I wear it? Indeed – though the blue bezel variant may take the crown in this lineup
  • What I’d change: The lug horns feel just a touch too long
  • The best thing about it: Gotta dig that mint chip lume hue

Tech Specs from Zodiac

  • Case size: 40 mm
  • Case thickness: 14 mm
  • Lug width: 20 mm
  • Movement: STP1-11 Automatic
  • Crystal: sapphire
  • Bezel: uni-directional, mineral crystal on top
  • Origin: Swiss Made
  • Packaging: Zodiac Black Box
  • Warranty: 2 Year International
  • Water resistant: 20 ATM