First Look: Zodiac x Topper Fine Jewelers Launch Three Limited-Edition Sea Wolfs

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Zodiac has been all about exceeding expectations lately. As the top of the line brand for Fossil Group, it has been revitalized and returned to its mechanical and stylistic roots, but there’s still some residual struggle to gain the trust and consideration among more closed-minded enthusiast circles. Their newest limited-edition creations, however, should be enough to convince even the most skeptical holdouts that the brand is a genuine contender.

One of three limited-edition Sea Wolfs, Ref. ZO9208, endearingly nicknamed the “White Wolf.”

The three new additions to the vintage-styled Sea Wolf diver line, each inspired by a classic Sea Wolf reference from the ‘60s and early ‘70s, were designed in conjunction with Topper Jewelers and legendary rock drummer, Eric Singer, who’s provided the rhythmic backbone to bands like Alice Cooper and the current lineup of KISS. Singer is far from some halfhearted celebrity endorsement—he’s been a fan of the brand for some time now, even suggesting to Fossil’s brass that they should make vintage-styled divers way back in 2000. After Singer purchased a pre-owned watch and some Zodiacs for his personal collection through the jeweler, Topper chief Rob Caplan approached him to help create a handful of limited edition Topper exclusives for brands like Oris and Zodiac.

Some of Topper’s past fantastic collaborations.

“The drummer is the timekeeper of the band,” stated Caplan. “Watches and drummers have in common the same need for endurance, stamina, and attention to detail.” Singer himself did much of the digging to select the historical Sea Wolf references Topper would emulate, noting that “research for these designs is so important, it’s almost like going to court and presenting your case to the judge.”

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However, Singer, Topper, and Zodiac weren’t content with simply copying the past, with each of the three releases pulling ideas from the archives, but ultimately executing them to modern standards. This includes features like mineral glass for the bezel insert (the historical references featured bakelite bezels) as well as pinpoint-accurate finishing across the 40-millimeter cases. Most impressively, this also includes getting each of the in-house STP3 13-3 automatic movements chronometer-certified through COSC, which isn’t too common at this price point.

Author’s note: the Z09208 in the images is an early preproduction prototype, so some details, including lume color and the seconds hand, will be changed in the final model.

The first of these three releases is the Ref. ZO9208 Super Sea Wolf, endearingly nicknamed the “White Wolf.” It is the most reserved and versatile of the group. In a first for modern Zodiac, the White Wolf blends together the instantly recognizable triangular flag-index dial of the Sea Wolf Skin series with the bakelite-look bezel and sturdier case of the Sea Wolf Compression. At first glance, this seems like a pretty simple combination, but this itself is no mean feat; just for this limited run, all new tooling and manufacturing was needed for these dials, as the normal Skin dial would be too big for the case. Beyond that, the real genius of the White Wolf is in the details.

The mineral glass-topped bakelite-style bezel has showed up on several current Sea Wolf models, and the original ‘60s reference featured light-blue bakelite. For the White Wolf, Singer, Topper, and Zodiac looked at the tendency for the bezels on the originals to fade to a stark off-white, and built outward from there. The luminous paint on the no-date dial is then color-matched to this faded white, as well as matching to the tip of the needle seconds hand. It’s a cleaner, more austere look overall, and a clever way to handle the idea of false patina without resorting to clichés like faded dials or khaki lume.

Topper’s Rob Caplan.
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The other two references, ZO9271 and ZO9273, are a bit more straightforward. Collectively referred to as the “Zodiac Rally” pieces, these two take the current shovel-hand Super Sea Wolf layout and add funky checkered-flag bezels and bold colorways to commemorate one of the rarest and most desirable of the original Sea Wolf references.

Ref. ZO9271 is the simpler of the two, with its black/yellow bezel along with matching yellow accent text and minutes index, allowing the punch of color to set the overall tone without feeling garish.

Ref. ZO9273 (which wasn’t available for preview at launch) takes a more ornate and refined approach. The checkered bezel here is white and a deep navy blue, while the dial is a rich blue sunburst with an outward degradé effect, gradually darkening to a match for the navy of the bezel. This more upscale finish is highlighted with applied logos and text across the dial for a final bit of flash. Both of these also feature a bespoke shovel-style seconds hand to match the handset of the originals, finished with Topper’s signature, a red tip.

Eric Singer.

The unveiling of these limited editions took place at Topper’s high-end boutique in Burlingame, California with a host of Topper and Zodiac execs, Topper VIP customers, local enthusiasts, and Eric Singer himself all equally excited to release these new limited pieces to the world. The event itself was relaxed, friendly, and eminently approachable, with Singer and the Zodiac team swapping jokes, stories, and genuine conversation with everyone in attendance. It’s a testament to Singer’s real investment and passion for the project that he attended the unveiling at all: as KISS ramps up preparations for their final “End of the Road” tour, time for Singer and his bandmates is in short supply, but it was easy to see watching him work the room that there was nowhere he’d rather be. The crowd’s energy was similarly lively, and a refreshing change up from some of the industry’s more rigid, buttoned-down affairs.

All three limited editions, now available for pre-order through Topper Jewelers.

If you’re in the market for one of these limited edition Sea Wolf divers for yourself, you’ll have to act fast. Each of the three versions will be limited to only 82 pieces, and at a price of $1,495 for a brilliantly finished, vintage-styled, 200-meter diver with an in-house COSC chronometer movement, it’s not a hard sell. With this new trio of Sea Wolf divers, Zodiac, Topper and Eric Singer have proven yet again that this modern incarnation of Zodiac is the real McCoy, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Zodiac via Topper Jewelers

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.
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