As dive watches go, there aren’t many that can claim a longer lineage than Zodiac’s Sea Wolf collection. Its 1953 release cemented its legacy as one of the world’s first dive watches, a story that continues to this day as the company develops the line with new releases that reference the past in intriguing ways. The latest example to surface is one we’re particularly excited to share with you. It’s the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin “Blue,” and it’s available now, exclusively from the HODINKEE Shop.
Zodiac’s Super Sea Wolf, in all its iterations, is a dive watch lover’s dream. It’s versatile, robust, reasonably priced, and good-looking – and it deserves serious credit for the role it played in developing the dive watch into one of watchmaking’s most prominent categories. For the latest Super Sea Wolf, we’ve worked closely with Zodiac to introduce a fun design that we think stands out quite a bit. It features a radiant blue dial, a dark blue unidirectional bezel, a three-link stainless steel bracelet, and an application of bold orange-glowing Super-LumiNova on the hour markers. It’s a sporty and modern take on one of the dive-watch genre’s truly classic designs.
Zodiac was one of the first brands to embrace bright colors on dive watches; it proved early on that a dive watch could be a malleable aesthetic canvas while still maintaining its strict, utilitarian mandate. Just check out some of the listings of vintage examples that have previously sold in the HODINKEE Shop – such as here and here – to see what we mean. On those watches, you’ll notice a variety of colors, but the two that consistently stand out are orange and blue.
Today’s new watch references Zodiac’s past through its use of color and original dial layout, but it’s presented in a thoroughly contemporary package. You have a striking blue dial set alongside white Super-LumiNova that turns a bright shade of orange at night. The use of lume in this way allows for a fun visual treat, bringing Zodiac’s historic colors of choice back to the forefront, without going overboard on the vintage inspiration. That means there’s no date window (just look at that dial symmetry!) and no faux-patina in sight.
It’s no secret that watches with blue dials have surged in popularity this year. But the new Super Sea Wolf goes beyond simply capturing the current moment in watch design, charting its own course with a cool blue-on-blue colorway featuring a sunburst dial finish that reverberates from the central axis of the watch and channels different colors whether in light or shadow. On your wrist indoors, the blue will read as deeper, darker, and ever-so-slightly more matte, but as soon as sunlight hits the dial, it comes alive in a major way, with the light radial brushed finish bringing out the watch’s dynamic personality.
The blue used on this version of the Super Sea Wolf has a friendly looking tone that is less a punchy Curaçao, and more of a bright cerulean, with plenty of visual action occurring through the dial finish and the reflection of light on the polished markers and hands. The 120-click bezel is topped with mineral glass that mimics the vintage look of Bakelite, but it also functions as a neat frame for the dial (protected by a sapphire crystal), with a slightly darker shade of blue that emphasizes the watch’s inherent versatility. One of our favorite small details is the marker on the bezel indicating the first 15 minutes of a dive, in which small inverted triangles dot every third minute.
The rest of the dial layout is similar to the Sea Wolf dive watches favored by early skin divers, with larger applied hour markers in the shape of inward-facing triangles at the cardinal points and slim rectangles with slivers of lume elsewhere. The Zodiac logo at 12 o’clock is also applied and polished, and the “Automatic” verbiage at six o’clock appears in script, just as it did on the Sea Wolf dive watches of the 1950, ’60s, and ’70s.
If you’ve followed along with Zodiac’s releases in recent years, or are a fan of vintage Super Sea Wolf examples at all, the overall form factor of the new Super Sea Wolf should look familiar to you. The case construction, with its round shape that connects to long, sharp lugs and a screw-down crown, leads directly to a three-link bracelet that highlights the Super Sea Wolf’s tool-watch pedigree. The case and bracelet are mostly matte with a satin finish, save for select polished elements on the closed caseback and the sides of the bracelet links.
At just 40 × 13mm, the new Super Sea Wolf has a vibrant character that far exceeds its dimensions. The slim case profile and the vintage look of the bracelet act as the perfect complement for the contemporary color of the Super Sea Wolf’s original dial arrangement. And, as anyone who has worn a modern Super Sea Wolf will attest, this is a comfortable, fun dive watch that achieves nearly perfect proportions in size and balance on the wrist. The case is also tested to meet 200 meters of water resistance without issue.
The Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin “Blue” breaks new ground in Zodiac’s dive-watch lineup by maintaining many of the Sea Wolf’s original design elements, but pairing them with a refreshing new dial finish and a bright blue-on-blue colorway. There aren’t many examples of the Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin available in Zodiac’s current catalog, and this is the only one to combine a mineral glass bezel insert (rather than bare steel) with a blue dial and a three-link stainless steel bracelet – that’s without even mentioning the presence of the orange-glowing Super-LumiNova.
With an approachable price tag of $ 1,395, the latest chapter in the Super Sea Wolf collection represents the same value proposition the watch has been known for since its earliest days. The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Skin 53 “Blue” is not a limited edition, but it is exclusively available in the HODINKEE Shop. You can learn more and purchase yours right now, right here.