Zelos: Experimental Swiss Auto Chronograph
Zelos has been a microbrand whose designs stand out from its peers. The latest Experimental series (ZX) continues this culture by introducing 2 new concepts that have never been done before.
The ZX series based its design philosophies on the X-plane project of the 1960s which pushed the boundaries of aviation technology. Famous examples of this project includes the X-1, the first supersonic aircraft and the X-15, the fastest manned aircraft.
Like the X-Plane project, we aim to push the boundaries of watchmaking with the use of Titanium Damascus and a limited edition titanium dial made from the SR-71 Blackbird.
The stubby, angular lugs of the ZX timepiece are reminiscent of the X-15’s airframe design. The short lug length (49mm) are what makes a timepiece comfortable to wear for any wrist size, despite the seemingly large 43mm diameter.
Materials were also an important consideration in designing this timepiece. Titanium was also a major material used in high performance aircraft and we wanted to use this for a case. It offers a wearer increased comfort due to its light weight without any loss in strength. We also chose to brush and polish the titanium case, offering an elegant look to titanium instead of its usual matte sandblasted finish. Ceramic bezels are being offered on certain models due to its high hardness as it tends to encounter the most abuse. One-of-a-kind Titanium Damascus cases and SR-71 dials are also offered, do scroll down for more information about these amazing materials.
We wanted to offer a timepiece that will be different for each and every piece. Marine grade bronze is a metal commonly used for ship propellers due to its corrosion resistance. An oxide layer, called a patina, forms a protective skin over time to protect the metal. This patina individualises each timepiece, creating pieces completely unique to you. What starts out as a shiny rose-gold, ages with the atmosphere into a rustic brown.
Meteorite is also offered on a dial, making your watch one-of-a-kind. This amazing metal is 4.5 billion years old with a striking design unlike any other material. Each and every meteorite dial has a different pattern, otherwise known as the Widmanstatten Pattern. This is formed over millions of years of slow cooling, and cannot be reproduced synthetically. We use material from the Muonionalusta meteorite which is found in Sweden and landed over a million years ago.
ZX-8 SR-71 Titanium Dial Edition
The legendary SR-71 Blackbird. It holds the record for being the fastest jet aircraft in the world and it has never been shot down, simply outrunning any other aircraft or missile threats. It was able to cruise at over 3 times the speed of sound and this in turn generated extremely high temperatures. To solve this, titanium was used extensively throughout the entire aircraft.
We are excited to announce the ZX-8 Limited Edition with an actual mission flown SR-71 Titanium dial. The dial has the original finish from the actual part and we have deliberately left all the marks, scratches and leftover paint on the dial. Hence, each and every dial will be different. The titanium for this dial is CNC cut from a ‘turkey feather’ of an SR-71 and it was changed during regular maintenance. This was obtained from Daniel Freeman, Supervisor and Chief of Metals Technology for the 9th Reconnaissance Wing. Through his career he has worked on the SR-71 Blackbird, U-2 Dragonlady, KC-135Q Stratotanker, and T-38 Talon aircraft.
Creating a dial from such incredible material proved extremely difficult. The titanium was a Grade 6 alloy, much tougher than the usual brass that most dials are made from. We had to CNC cut the dials to size using carbide cutters, incurring much more cost and time as compared to stamping a dial from a brass blank. The next issue was getting the dial down to a required thickness of 0.4mm instead of its original 0.7mm. We wanted to preserve the original finish of the titanium, hence grinding it on only one side caused an uneven surface which was not ideal for a watch dial. After numerous and expensive failed attempts, we finally created the first SR-71 Titanium dial.
Titanium Damascus – The first in the world
We are proud to introduce the very FIRST watch case made from Titanium damascus. This amazing material is made from two different titanium alloys which are forged together under tremendous heat and pressure. Once this material is forged and machined to our highest tolerances, it is heated to approximately 400°C to bring out the brilliant colors. This layered effect and colors vary slightly across all watch cases.
Ti-Damascus is extremely expensive due to the amount of work that goes into forging it. Machining the material also involves high tool wear compared to regular titanium due to the alternating alloys and varying hardness.
Size: 43mm Diameter. 16mm Height.
Water Resistance: 100m.
Watch case: CUSN8 Marine Bronze or Titanium Case – Mirror polished edges and Brushed Sides.
Ceramic Bezel (Selected models only): Zirconium Oxide 1500 Vickers hardness.
Movement: Swiss ETA 7750 Elabore Grade with Custom Decorated Rotor or Seiko VK67 Mechaquartz.
Crystal: Domed Sapphire Crystal with inner AR coating. Sapphire crystal caseback.
Dial: Multi Layered filled with BGW9 lume.
Strap: Horween Leather
Warranty: 1 Year.
Prices start from $780USD for the Valjoux 7750 Automatics. Click HERE to preorder yours now on Kickstarter.