Hands-On: the Zelos Spearfish Dual Time

If a tide pool at a waterpark represented the world of micro/independent watches, some brands would be the kids who sit at the edge, waiting for a wave to bowl them over, others would be the dad that overcompensates by proving he can swim all the way out to the source only before losing his trunks, and then there’s Zelos…the person who showed up in their custom Speedo and polarized purple goggles doing laps around the perimeter. If you want a quality diver, finished brilliantly, made with interesting materials, eye-popping dials, all for around $500, Zelos has you covered. However, there is another Zelos. One that lights up a cigar, slips out of their lounge sandals, and makes their way into a meticulously curated tranquility pool…but still with the purple polarized goggles. This Zelos comes around a couple times a year, playing with high-end Swiss movements and interesting complications. 

The first “tranquility pool” Zelos of the year recently hit the market. They took the case from their popular Spearfish line and released the Spearfish Dual Time. Three of the five watches in the line are made of titanium and come on titanium bracelets; the remaining two have cases made from forged carbon and come on a canvas leather strap. I had the pleasure of trying out the Moonscape forged carbon model for a little over a week, and while I do have some complicated thoughts on the model itself, what is indisputable is that you’re getting lavish materials and an elaborate movement, for a price that subverts most, if not all, the competition. 


Hands-On: the Zelos Spearfish Dual Time

Carbon fiber
Swiss Sellita SW300 with TT651 Module. Grande Date, GMT and 24hr Subdial, Custom rotor
Canvas with PVD buckle
Water Resistance
100 meters
40 x 47mm
Lug Width
Screw down

As this was my first prolonged experience wearing a case made from carbon fiber, I immediately noticed how light the Dual Time is. Coming in at only 56 grams (on a strap – the watch head is 41 grams by itsef), it feels almost non-existent on the wrist. If you’re one of those folks that associates heft with quality, you’ll have a difficult time with this one. I, on the other hand, appreciate it when brands can create a watch that is so comfortable that I only notice it when I want to, before turning my attention to something else and the watch becomes part of me again. Aiding in this wearability are the case dimensions, coming in it at 40mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, and 12.6mm thick (including the boxed sapphire crystal), this watch is not small, but it’s also not a chonkster. The carbon case is also quite fun to look at, with its dark gray swirls on an almost totally blacked out background. 

The dark backdrop of the case sets the stage for the diva ready to pull the spotlight and hit those high notes. This is only kind of an analogy as the dial does bear a striking resemblance to ::open_mouth:: emoji. A friend pointed it out to me, and now I can’t unsee it. Silliness aside, this dial is quite serious. Underneath the sapphire crystal is another layer of glass that skeletonizes the watch and allows us to see the top of the unique movement housed within. That movement is a Sellita SW300 base with a Technotime TT651 module on top. This module allows for the dual time complication that we can see at 6 o’clock, and the big date function which would be the two numbered disks situated between the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock positions. 

The dual time subdial is a blast. It features a rotating globe disk behind a set of smaller hour and minute hands. If you bring the crown out to the second position and rotate clockwise, you can actuate the dual time hour hand, while your main home time remains in place. The globe disk will rotate proportionately to indicate the day/night in your selected time zone. All of this is brightly and beautifully lumed despite the small surface area, especially on the small dual time hands. In fact, the lume on the entire watch is top notch, as is the way with Zelos.

Zelos is also tops when it comes to their use of fun dial materials, specifically with their cult following for aventurine dials. I think it was a missed opportunity deciding on the skeleton here. As the movement is increasingly more “rough around the edges” the closer you get. I suspect they did this mostly to see those grand date wheels, which are the source of my greatest and only real contention with the watch. The numerals inside the date window are never aligned. Each day is always slightly off. And in hopes that maybe it was just the watch I tried on, I went to look at other examples online, and it seems to look the same on each example I found. If this is something that wouldn’t bother you, that’s fantastic, but it’s something I wanted to make sure was clear, so you all can decide if a slight misalignment is a sacrifice you’re willing to make to the horological gods. 

If you do pick up a forged carbon dual time, you will however sacrifice one of Zelos’s killer bracelets; although, the canvas leather strap that comes with this model is comfortable, offers a snug fit, and doesn’t need to be broken in. It would’ve been nice if the buckle and tang were also made of the carbon material. I admittedly have no idea how difficult that is to do, but I think it would’ve been worth the customer paying a little more for matching hardware. The current black PVD buckle and tang are a close enough match at a glance, and certainly preferred over brushed or polished steel.

Not all brands can successfully hop from the overcrowded tide pool of affordability, to sip Mai Tais in the curated ripples of tranquility. Zelos seems to do this with ease, with both affordable and high-end pieces dispatching unmatched value for watches that dare to be different. Through the years they’ve delivered great quality and customer service in a wide range of entry-level watches, and having established that trust, it’s easy to see why they’re able to bring that customer confidence with them when they take a leap to go upmarket. Zelos

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Chris Antzoulis is a published poet and comic book writer who over-romanticizes watches. Ever since his mom walked him through a department store at the budding age of six and he spotted that black quartz watch with a hologram of Darth Vader’s face on the crystal, he knew he was lost to the dark side of horology. He is currently eye-balling the next watch contenders now caught in his tractor beam.