|Industry||Watch movement & case manufacturing|
|Headquarters||Le Locle, Switzerland|
Zodiac Watches is a brand of Swiss watches manufactured by Fossil, Inc..
In 1882, Ariste Calame founded a workshop for the production of special watches in Le Locle, Switzerland. The original name of the company was Ariste Calame and would later become Zodiac. The name "Zodiac" was used early but was not registered until 1908. The founder's son, Louis Ariste Calame, was sent to watchmaking school, and then began to participate in the business in 1895, and took over the business that year.
The first flat pocket watch was launched to the public in 1928, and used the unique Zodiac calibre 1617 movement. In 1930 the brand designed and produced the first automatic sports watch, and then produced the popular Zodiac Autographic. The Autographic was self-winding with a power reserve gauge, an unbreakable crystal, and a radium dial, and was also water and shock resistant. In 1953 Zodiac introduced the Sea Wolf as the world's first purpose-built "dive watch" manufactured and marketed to the masses. To date, the original Sea Wolf, and its successor, the early-1970s Super Sea Wolf, are widely considered two of the most iconic commercial dive watches in history.
With a patented crown/stem system and improved case back design, Super Sea Wolf's water pressure rating increased from its predecessor's 200-meter rating to 750 meters. When the 750-meter-rated Super Sea Wolf was introduced in the early 1970s, the U.S. Navy SEALs adopted it, as Zodiac announced in magazine ads of the day.
Financial troubles and the Fossil Inc. acquisition
In 1990 Willy Gad Monnier, formerly of TAG Heuer purchased the Zodiac brand, however this company, Montres Zodiac SA, went bankrupt in November 1997. In September 1998 Genender International, Inc. purchased the Zodiac inventory including their trademarks and registrations and other assets. Genender discontinued all of the "Point" series models, the Swiss Formulas, the Sea Wolf, and most automatic watches and all of the Zodiac automatic chronographs. The only two 1990s models kept were the Super Sea Wolf and the Marine Life, both of which were updated with new metal bands.
On October 1, 2001 Fossil Inc. acquired the worldwide rights to the Zodiac brand name for approximately $4.7 million for use in connection with watches, clocks and other timekeeping devices.
In April 2002, the new Zodiac line was introduced at the BaselWorld watch show in Switzerland, with the notable absence of any Sea Wolf model for the first time in 50 years.
In February 2010, Fossil Inc. launched the ZMX (Zodiac Mission Extreme) line to reflect a new segment of sports and outdoor enthusiasts. The much larger case sizes (44mm and up) and caoutchouc rubber straps denoted the bulk of watch lines, focused on automotive racing (ZMX Racer), aviation (ZMX Aviator), diving (ZMX Oceanaire) and exploration (ZMX Adventurer).
February 2015 marked the return of the brand's iconic Sea Wolf model, reissuing "vintage-inspired" versions of the 1954 model in two editions, "Skin Diver" and "Diver." Since the depth rating on the new version of the Sea Wolf are the same as the original (200 meters/660 feet), the technical advancements come primarily in the form of the watch's automatic movement, the Fossil Group manufactured STP 1-11 (Swiss Technology Production 1-11); housing 26 jewels with 44-hour power reserve.
The Zodiac watch cross-circle symbol was the same symbol used by a serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s. The Zodiac killer coined his name in a series of taunting letters he sent to the press which he signed using the Zodiac watch symbol.
The popular Zodiac Sea Wolf model was featured in the 2007 film Zodiac, which was directed by David Fincher and was based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. In both the book and the film, a Zodiac Sea Wolf was worn by murder suspect Arthur Leigh Allen (actor John Carroll Lynch in the film).
- Article: Dive Watch History
- Company Synopsis
- Company Synopsis
- Article: Zodiac Sea Wolf
- Watch Watch Signs of the Zodiac By Keith Flamer, Senior Editor -- JCK Online, 8/1/1998
- "QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 For the quarterly period ended: October 6, 2001: FOSSIL, INC."
- " History of Zodiac Watches, Official ZodiacWatches.com"
- " Sea Wolf Relaunch, Review by Hodinkee.com"
- " WatchTime Magazine, ARTICLE: Fossil's Swiss Mission"
- The Zodiac Sea Wolf: Inspiration for a Serial Killer
- WornandWound.com, Watches on the Screen: Zodiac
- Graysmith, Robert. 1986. Zodiac St. Martin's Press ISBN 0-312-89895-9