Hands-On: Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Ceramic
Zodiac has been on a hot streak lately, primarily thanks to its Super Sea Wolf line. Fun releases with bold colors are part of Zodiac’s heritage, but lately, words like “Watermelon” and “Aquamarine Dream” come to mind. While there is certainly a current colorway for everyone under the Super Sea Wolf umbrella, pushing the boundaries on materials is something altogether different. The Super Sea Wolf Ceramic uses color (or lack thereof) to its advantage, creating a stylish and fun experience on the wrist that is a different vibe from its more colorful brethren.
Setting an exciting precedent for the brand, this first ceramic model came to the market around the time when Zodiac introduced a limited edition with a meteorite dial. And all this was not too long after the first titanium model was introduced in the brand’s current lineup. Can you feel it? That’s the momentum that Zodiac is building up, which will undoubtedly drive the brand onwards and upwards in the coming years. And we’re all for it, as the recent track record has proven that custody of the brand is in good hands. Heritage models are executed in a tasteful and exciting way. Prices are kept within the sub-$3,000 sweet spot, which many other brands seem to be pushing past. Furthermore, ambitions seem to know no bounds. That said, let’s check out the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf in ceramic!
Reflections of a collector
First impressions matter. That is something that isn’t lost on many of us. The overall feeling you get the first time you put on a watch will stick with you. I have owned a black ceramic watch in the past. While it was a favorite of mine for a while, I found myself giving it less and less wrist time. I was curious as to what impression the Super Sea Wolf in black ceramic would leave on me.
Out of the box, the ceramic Super Sea Wolf makes quite the first impression. The polished black outer case (more on that in a minute) and bezel are well-finished, catching and throwing light off every exterior surface. While this is a neat party trick, it does make the watch exceedingly difficult to photograph. You will most likely see my reflection in a few of the photos for this article!
Revisiting my initial concerns, I am now convinced that polished ceramic is the way to go. The polished surfaces make the watch feel higher-end than a full matte treatment on the ceramic would. Weirdly, it makes the watch feel metallic when in fact, the material you are touching is not metal. It is a neat trick that this watch pulls off well.
Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Ceramic — Less is more
The Super Sea Wolf is not devoid of color, nor is the dial sterile by any means. The color palette on the dial is quite well thought out. Some might cringe at the thought of a blue sunray dial finish on a watch with a black case, but the execution is key. The deep blue that was chosen either goes dark (almost black) or bright navy blue, which itself is a rather dark color. The minute track is a deep gray. This is useful in that you can see the minute track, but it is an excellent choice of a complementary color. Anything brighter would have been too much.
The handset is the standard one from the Super Sea Wolf line, utilizing rectangular hour and minute hands filled with large plots of lume. Again, Zodiac went for a minimalist look by making the color of the minute hand match the dial. This makes it look like the minute hand’s lume is floating over the dial. It is a cool look, for sure. The hour hand is a steel color that has a slight polish to it. This helps reflect light at most angles and makes it more visible.
My favorite feature of the dial furniture is the hour markers. They are done in the standard Super Sea Wolf rectangular shape with a warm white tone to the lume. The border of the applied plots is done in black. This blends in with the deep blue dial and has the effect of making them float over the dial. In some ways, the plots and the minute hand remind me of the Zodiac Astrographic with the floating hands. Whether this was done intentionally or not, the overall appearance of the floating hand and markers is my favorite touch.
As I alluded to earlier, the case’s exterior is polished ceramic. It is very well executed and gives the watch a strong wrist presence. Ceramic watches can look too “plasticky” at times, but the polished case leans more metallic. The real concern with ceramic cases is the brittleness of the material. While dropping a metal watch is concerning, no one thinks that chunks of the case could break off. This can be a concern with ceramic, but Zodiac has it covered.
The case construction is something new for Zodiac. This Super Sea Wolf actually has two cases. The inner case is black steel, giving additional strength to the watch. The exterior portion of the case is ceramic. By combining the strength of the inner steel case and the scratch resistance of the outer ceramic case, Zodiac has aimed for a middle ground that plays to the strength of both materials. It also helps keep the price in check, as making a case out of full ceramic can be quite expensive.
The 40mm Super Sea Wolf case also feels familiar on my 17.75cm (7″) wrist. The size of the case will work well for most folks. While the lugs of the Super Sea Wolf case are a bit longer than those of other 40mm watches, in this application on a Tropic-style rubber strap, there are no issues as there is plenty of clearance for the supple strap to wrap securely around your wrist.
Zodiac is a brand that strives for excellent craftsmanship with a rebellious spirit. In most cases, that is achieved through the use of bright colors in its tool watches. In this case, it is done using a unique construction technique that marries the strength of steel with the scratch resistance of ceramic. While we have already touched on the case components, we have yet to discuss the movement.
Beating inside the aforementioned case is the Fossil Group’s STP1-11 movement. This movement offers 38 hours of power reserve, hacking, hand-winding, and a date at 3 o’clock. This same movement is found throughout the Super Sea Wolf range. In this application, the movement is also chronometer-certified, a nice touch on what aims to be a halo piece for the Super Sea Wolf line.
While I had my trepidations about testing an all-black cased watch, given my history, I was surprised at how much I kept reaching for the Super Sea Wolf. It is supremely comfortable on the wrist and has a profile that slides easily under a cuff. Given that it is now decidedly sleeved season in southern Ohio, that last bit is much appreciated. I am also finding this watch to be more versatile than I had imagined. The blue dial and case polishing make it more of a daily wearer than I expected, which was a welcome surprise. The Super Sea Wolf in ceramic is comfortable under an Oxford shirt and with athleisure wear. I don’t believe it could be someone’s only watch, but it would definitely hog some wrist time within a small watch rotation.
With a retail price of $1,695, the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf in black ceramic is a compelling package. I found the watch to be much more versatile than I originally thought. The aesthetics are very pleasing if you can get over the idea that black and blue don’t work well together because they absolutely do. The hybrid case construction adds to the watch’s robustness, allowing it to live up to its tool-watch vibe. It has gotten more than its fair share of wrist time, and I don’t mind it one bit!
What do you think? Could this black and blue watch make for a versatile change of pace in your collection? Let us know in the comments below.