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Zodiac Sea-Chron Reintroduces Heritage Diving Chronograph with Modern Updates

Zodiac Sea-Chron

Just the other week we were musing on the fact that vintage Sea Wolf divers are having a resurgence and now Zodiac have taken a look at their back catalogue to inspire their latest timepiece. Specifically, they’ve created a modern reinterpretation of the Zodiac Sea-Chron, a watch that first came to be back in the 1960s. It’s a chronograph variant of the Sea Wolf, fusing diving aesthetics with a sporty complication.

The Sea-Chron features a 42mm case in stainless steel with a 16.5mm thickness and 200m water resistance rating. That diameter is pretty normal for a dive watch but that thickness is notably large, sitting high on the wrist. Looking beyond the size, you can see the Sea Wolf DNA in its design through the round shape, long lugs and knurled bezel. However, compared with the Sea Wolf Chronographs of the 70s, such as the 4576 (featured in one of the retro advertisements pictured in our vintage Sea Wolf article above), it has a much cleaner aesthetic. That’s largely thanks to better integration of the unidirectional rotating bezel into the design and taller pushers that are more proportionate to the case.

Zodiac Sea-Chron

Although, while the case may be different, the reason I mention the vintage 4576 in particular is because the dial of the modern Sea-Chron is virtually identical. A tricompax reverse panda design with short, rectangular indexes and a peripheral tachymeter. Naturally there has been a slight refinement with the modern version featuring enhanced legibility courtesy of a white tachymeter and black minute track where the 4576 had those colours inverted.

Zodiac Sea-Chron
Zodiac Sea-Chron

It’s worth noting that there’s a second version of the Sea-Chron being produced with a blue and black colourway. This second version leans into the aquatic history of the Sea Wolf as a diving watch more heavily, despite being a chronograph. I prefer the reverse panda for its sporty vibe, but I can’t deny that the snailed finishing of the black subdials of the blue edition is attractive.

Zodiac Sea-Chron

Beneath the surface of both colourways is the calibre Sellita 510 b, an automatic movement with a 62-hour power reserve. That’s a really good reserve compared with the more common Sellita calibres that tend to have power reserves in the region of 38-42 hours. It features hours, minutes, chronograph seconds, small seconds, a 12-hour timer and a 30-minute timer, the standard array of functions for a tricompax chronograph.

Zodiac Sea-Chron

Zodiac Sea-Chron

Considering that there are a lot of vintage revival diving watches out there, this is one of the nicest I’ve seen in a while – particularly in the subcategory of dive watch chronographs. The combination of the sporty chrono functions with the influence of heritage Sea Wolf design and two attractive colourways is a winning formula. And at a price of $2,495 (approx. £1,975) it’s reasonably accessible too and that’s despite being the most expensive watch Zodiac currently produce.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Zodiac Sea-Chron
  • Ref: ZO3604 (black dial), ZO3605 (blue dial)
  • Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 16.5mm thickness, brushed and polished stainless steel case, black sunray dial and white subdials (ZO3604) or blue sunray dial and black subdials (ZO3605), Super-LumiNova hands and markers, screw back caseback
  • Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
  • Movement: Calibre Sellita 510 b, Swiss automatic, 27 jewels
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 62h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
  • Strap: 5-link stainless steel bracelet
  • Price/availability: US$2,495 (approx. £1,975)

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.