Zodiac is back with two very attractive new Super Sea Wolf models, now of the world time variety. The world time complication lets the wearer track not just the time in two different time zones, which is available on any given GMT watch (although, it’s worth pointing out, that these Zodiacs also have GMT complications), but also the time throughout the planet. I suppose that, at the time of this writing in 2021, there is some debate as to whether a world time complication, or even the GMT complication, has much merit, given the not-insubstantial limitations on global travel. While the notion that world time complications are superfluous, at least at this moment, has merit, I have two issues with it.
The first, the more pragmatic of the two, is that most of us are still doing business on a global basis, whether this is over a video call or in-person is a bit besides the point. You might then suggest that you could simply look up the time at the destination on the internet or via an application, but this is generally true through your smartphone whether or not you’re working from a local office or crossing the pond. That brings me to the second point, which is that it doesn’t matter; we attempt to find rational justification for our love of things like perpetual calendars and moon phase complications where none need exist. It is simply enough to like it. If we were all perfect pragmatists, the weird and wonderful world of mechanical watchmaking would cease to exist altogether, long ago entirely replaced by quartz watches. So that’s my advice; don’t overthink it. You either think this watch looks great or you don’t, and whether or not you literally need a world time complication, much less a mechanical watch in general, is besides the point.
Assuming you agree with my reasoning, there’s good news, because both of these models look terrific. They each appear both simultaneously vintage and modern, at home as much in 1975 as in 2021. This model, the ZO9409, has a great looking dark silver sunburst dial and a largely grayscale appearance. That is, of course, except for the GMT hand, which is in a slightly darker, more desaturated red that fits perfectly. The relevance of complications as ornamentation gets too little discussion, I think, in watch circles; the addition of the GMT hand here gave Zodiac’s designers a chance to use a bright accent color and make what might have been a washed-out model into something eye-catching. Indeed, this is the reason that we used a GMT movement (the 9R66) in our SBGE249; I knew I wanted to have blued accents, and the additional GMT hand gave me another place to use them. Likewise, this watch is made more attractive for the complication regardless of whether you ever use it.
While the ZO9409 was subdued, the ZO9410 makes a rather bold statement, thanks to that matching red world time bezel. As you might have suspected, that bezel rotates, and by aligning your home city with your GMT hand (assuming, of course, that your GMT hand is set to your home time), you can derive the time pretty much anywhere in the world. It’s a deeply analog solution to a relatively complex problem, which on the one hand requires a bit more user involvement, but on the other gives the watch that distinctive world time look, thanks to the bezel. This makes it instantly recognizable as a watch aimed at world travelers, and, at least on this bright red model, probably makes it a bit of a conversation piece to the uninitiated.
The steel case is a rather ideally-sized 40mm, although they could afford to go a dash larger if they wanted. Interestingly, it retains its dive watch credentials, apparently still rated for 200 meters. As a result, this is an extremely versatile watch, both in function and style.
Unsurprising, however, is the price, which remains a very approachable $1,795 for both models. Zodiac is always so good from a value perspective, and this carries through to their limited editions. That brings me to one of the only disappointments in the model, at least for its price point, and that’s their production run. It seems that just 500 of each will be produced, which is a rather low number for such an accessible model. I don’t blink when I see those kinds of numbers on $10,000 watches, but it feels like Zodiac could move a lot more of these. Such is the way of the world, I suppose, as everyone, including TLW, moves to limited editions. As per which one I would get, while I genuinely love both, I’d lean towards the more subdued ZO9409 model, if only for its versatility, but my first instinct was actually for the red version, so it’s a close call for me. Zodiac is just so good at nailing that fine line between vintage and contemporary; they’re very difficult watches to date at a glance.