For a few years now, Zodiac has been fairly aggressive in carving out a niche for the Super Sea Wolf as the go-to option for a fun, colorful, and collectible dive watch in the competitive landscape that exists in the under $2,000 price range. Their formula is a winning one for a few reasons. First, the Super Sea Wolf platform is incredibly versatile. It’s robust enough for real dive use if that’s what you need it for, but these Zodiacs are sized conservatively at 40mm for easy everyday wear. And as a blank canvas, they take on color beautifully. Zodiac has released a truly dizzying array of colorways, giving watch enthusiasts plenty of options, and hardcore collectors a mission in acquiring as many as they can. Now, for the first time, Zodiac is offering a Super Sea Wolf in ceramic.
Ceramic was once a rare material in watchmaking. It’s notoriously difficult to fabricate, and while it’s scratch resistant and holds a color tone over time better than other materials, there are trade-offs that historically make it a tricky proposition for watchmaking applications. For example, if you drop a steel watch onto a hard surface from a decent height, the case might pick up a scratch or a dent. Do the same with one made from ceramic, which is typically more brittle than metal, and you just might see a lug break right off, or crack the case down the middle. This is the fear, anyway, and while in real world situations it’s exceedingly rare, it remains a possibility, and a potential horror story lingering in the back of the mind of watch enthusiasts.
The truth is, there have been significant advancements in the production of ceramic materials for watchmaking, and many brands are crafting durable and affordable watches made out of the material. Zodiac’s new Super Sea Wolf effectively makes use of a ceramic outer case that acts as a shell over an inner steel case. That keeps the price down compared to watches made of solid ceramic (retail pricing is set at $1,695) while still allowing for all the aesthetic benefits of the material. Anyone who has handled a watch with ceramic components (either the case or, more commonly, a bezel) knows that there’s a depth to the color (black, in this case) that’s not possible with steel or aluminum, so a ceramic watch and bezel combination presents very differently on the wrist and has an entirely fresh character. Plus, it’s virtually impossible to scratch. All apologies to lovers of patina and seeing the wear and tear, but this is a big bonus for many who choose to wear a ceramic watch.
The jet black case and bezel of the new Super Sea Wolf Ceramic are paired with a deep blue dial with a sunburst finish emanating from the center. Dial accents are in a crisp white for maximum contrast and legibility, which includes the text announcing the watch as a chronometer and its 200 meter depth rating, the Zodiac wordmark and logo, as well as the applied and lume filled hour markers. There’s also a light gray minute track around the dial’s perimeter for additional legibility and precision.
The overall visual impact of the watch is as stealthy as you’d expect. That’s kind of what you’ll always get out of a black watch like this, and for those of us who are into it (I wrote about how I’ve come around to black watches here) the Super Sea Wolf Ceramic is very nicely executed. What I’m really curious about, though, is what this release might signal for the future. Zodiac, as we know, is not afraid of color, and letting the design team have their way with colored ceramic cases sounds like a lot of fun to me.
The new Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Ceramic is available now through the Zodiac website. More information here.