- Titanium case and bracelet
- Water resistance – 300 meters
- Price upon release – $2495
- Released August 2022
- Movement – Sellita SW200-1 COSC Certified (date wheel active, see below)
A Watch Unto Itself
We could look at all of the competition this titanium Pro Diver Super Sea Wolf is up against, but I don’t think anyone would opt for a different titanium dive watch with a chronometer-grade movement if they were drawn to the way this watch looks. That is to say, there’s nothing like it out there – certainly not in titanium.
So bold are most of Zodiac’s Super Sea Wolf designs that there’s almost no point in comparing any of them to other retro-styled divers. And yet, this Super Sea Wolf Pro Diver is an excellent value relative to other similarly spec’d titanium dive watches. That’s true of pretty much all modern Zodiac Super Sea Wolfs in steel or titanium, which have been streaming prolifically from the company since the relaunch in 2015 and steadily improving along the way.
What this boils down to is that if you’re even remotely visually drawn to this watch and are looking for a titanium diver and have the money to spend, it’s something of a no-brainer. Let’s look at why.
Chronometer Grade Movement
Zodiac has been improving the movements in their modern Super Sea Wolf models through incremental upgrades over the past few years. Zodiac’s sister-company is the Fossil-owned Swiss Technology Productions, or STP, a movement factory in Switzerland. You can decide for yourself if that’s “in-house” or not, but we would (rather verbosely) call these non-proprietary sister-company movements.
The movement that previously powered these watches was the discontinued STP1-13, which included a swan-neck regulator, a device allowing for precision regulation (mine keeps +2secs/day reliably). Replacing the STP1-13 is the STP1-11, which is a direct replacement for the common Sellita SW200 / ETA2824, and which uses a standard lever regulator. The STP1-11 is what will run in most Super Sea Wolfs from around 2022 onward, but not this one just yet.
Inside this Pro Diver is a Sellita SW200 certified by Switzerland’s Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), which guarantees it will run within +6/-4 seconds per day and that the timepiece can carry the word “Chronometer’ on the dial.
I asked Zodiac’s representative why they went with a Sellita, and he transparently told me that STP hasn’t gotten the anti-magnetic characteristics up to snuff just yet, but that they are working on it. So, for now Zodiac’s Pro Divers will run a Sellita, but we can expect them to run STP1-11s with better a-magnetic characteristics down the road.
All this to say that Zodiac is taking good care to deliver high quality movements performing at chronometer specifications, and they’re being very honest about how they’re doing it. High marks for transparency and commitment to mechanical quality. We can’t ask for more, and at this price it’s especially impressive.
My one complaint is that the date wheel and the setting mechanism have not been modified (or deleted), even though there is no date window on the watch. That’s something some of us find a little odd, maybe even a little off-putting. But it’s functionally fine and relatively common among watches at this price point (Sinn for example does this quite a bit).
Light as a Feather
It’s not entirely uncommon for a professional dive watch to be titanium these days, and it’s a good choice because the light weight is rather lovely on wrist, whether you’re diving or just sporting around on dry land. I’d personally worn heavy steel clunkers my whole life until about a year ago, and when I got a titanium diver on my wrist I was floored to find how enjoyable it was to wear a light dive watch.
We’d be pretending that the light weight had some meaningful performance metric – the whole idea of judging a dive watch’s performance is absurd, as we should be judging dive computers, not mechanical watches. But for those of us who do wear dive watches while diving or otherwise, there is a sensual pleasure in the light weight. I’ve described it as the watch feeling more like a high-performance piece of kit, something less anachronistic than steel – as if the digital revolution never happened and mechanical dive watches had advanced as a relevant technology.
More simply put: the light watch feels super cool on wrist.
Fit and Finish
The execution of the case and bracelet here is exceptional. The brushing is lovely, and I’m a massive fan of how this bracelet feels wrapped around my wrist. Titanium has a nice dark, warm hue to it, which sets the watch apart from its steel counterparts released earlier this year. Tolerances are exceptionally tight throughout the bracelet, and the folding clasp is secure and easy enough to use (once you adjust to it, as it requires one side to be closed first).
There is no micro-adjustment, which I feel is maybe a little out of alignment with the term Pro. But for diving I usually swap to a strap anyways for various reasons. The clasp does have a clever dual spring mechanism that allows it to expand about 5mm when needed. I find this a nice feature that adds a touch of comfort during those water-retaining moments we all have late on a hot summer day.
And with that said, though this is a 42mm watch, it certainly doesn’t wear like one. More like a 40mm watch, which isn’t solely a matter of the light weight, I’m convinced, seeing that Zodiac’s 40mm Super Sea Wolfs wear more like 38mm. In my opinion, this comes down to the wide bezels on these models, which shrink the dial down to vintage-watch proportions. That and the sung-fitting case with smartly-angled lugs.
However you break it down, this is a super comfortable watch one can wear all day long.
Lots of Interesting Details
The images I’ve created should tell you all you need to know, but I want to point out a few details that struck me as especially interesting.
The rehaut is cut out, much like you’d find on the original larger Tudor Pelagos (but which is not present on the smaller Pelagos 39 of 2022). Having the markers set into those channels is rather fascinating, casting shadows here and there for a truly 3D experience. I find that the added sense of depth is a significant design features that distinguishes this dial.
To emulate the vintage Bakelite bezels of the Sea Wolfs of the 1950s, Zodiac sets a domed sapphire bezel insert over what is here a fully illuminated timing scale. The effect in the dark is overwhelmingly fun, and it tickles that little kid inside me who used to collect glow-in-the-dark objects from cereal boxes and who fell in love with dive watches at age 7 because they glowed. But during the day the color reads 1950s pale turquoise, and against the orange on the minute hand and rehaut, the colorway cleverly reminds one of some long lost 1950s Zodiac Sea Wolf.
No one I know doesn’t enjoy four lines of text on a dive watch at the 6-o’clock position, which we have here with another orange accent. It’s important, however, that there’s something to actually say in those four lines, and because this watch is a bonafide chronometer, there is enough to say.
Lastly, I just point to the case architecture, which is angular like an old Sea Wolf, which presented nearly all flat surfaces long before Grand Seiko did the same in 1960.
An Arrow Pointing to a Bright Future
Zodiac has had to live down some reputational disadvantages in the past few years. There’s being owned by Fossil, which isn’t exactly known as up to the horological standard that a heritage brand like Zodiac surely deserves. There have been a few (transparently acknowledged) quality issues (e.g. weak lume), especially in the early years of the Super Sea Wolf revival. And, perhaps, the seemingly endless proliferation of iterations gave the impression that Zodiac was more like Fossil than some die-hard watch nerds would have hoped.
Whether those associations stood between you and Zodiac, I’m fairly convinced that Zodiac is making a good faith effort to improve their watches mechanically and physically, and this Super Sea Wolf Pro Diver in titanium is as much evidence as I need to say that the brand is surely headed toward an even brighter future.