Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Zodiac Calame Sport Automatique Chronograph ZO-2003

My watch today is my only Zodiac so far. I have considered buying a number of vintage ones, but as with many vintage divers the prices have skyrocketed in the last few years. The release of the Zodiac movie probably didn't help matters either. This Zodiac chronograph was released about five years ago, and I believe it was one of the first new models released after Zodiac was purchased by Fossil. I originally thought this model was pre-Fossil because it is so much nicer and more expensive than Zodiac's more recent offerings. It seems that the brand has been brought a bit downmarket recently because the current collections are mostly quartz and seem to turn up more frequently in department stores than specialty or jewelry stores. I really like this watch and was very happy it was available when I was ready to buy it. I was looking for a chronograph that was dressier than my two Hamiltons and this one fit because it's a little smaller (40mm without the crown) and looks really good on a leather strap, which tends to dress up any watch normally on a stainless band. I also really liked the dial design which I think is clean and relatively original. The movement in this one is not a Valjoux chronograph movement (like my other automatic chronographs) but an ETA 2824 with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. This kind of movement is typically found on higher-end watches (Breitling, Bulgari, Jaeger-LeCoultre, etc.) and is essentially a regular automatic movement with the chronograph module on top. This makes the watch slightly thicker than normal, but the action of the chronograph pushers is much less clunky than those on the Valjoux movements. Because the two movements are not as integrated as an all-in-one chronograph movement, this watch has 51 jewels, about double the number of jewels in a normal automatic. The only downside to this arrangement is the date is placed far behind the dial, and even with the magnifier in the date window, it is sometimes hard to read. This is actually the watch I wore when I got married, and I think I made an excellent choice, so I don't mind that it will probably be in my collection forever.

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