Author Topic: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?  (Read 1282 times)

Offline matsky

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Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« on: April 04, 2017, 03:48:05 AM »
Hey guys,

So this is my first post here (although I've been lurking for a few months) so I hope I do this right.

I bought this little no-date Sea Wolf a few weeks back off eBay. I was wondering if there's anything you can tell me about it? I've just used the seller's eBay photos here, as they're better than I can take (the last photo is mine though).

I believe it's an earlier model, as it just says SWISS which I believe signifies it uses radium lume, not tritium (which, correct me if I'm wrong, they swapped over to circa 1964, dating it to earlier than that). It does not have the solid lumed hands, though, so unless they're replacements, dates it to maybe late 50s/early 60s?

The guy I bought it from in Canada (really nice guy, seemed very knowledgeable about Sea Wolves) had serviced it last year and polished the crystal. I searched the serial number (1390683) and found it for sale on eBay in the USA back in March 2016 in what looked like the as-found condition, the crystal was heavily scratched and it wasn't running properly (I'll post the pics in the next post). So he did a really good job with it, it holds a good charge, runs on average between 10-20 seconds slow per day, but it varies so balances out well, and cleaned the crystal (he says it's the original, so they must have only been light scratches as it's crystal-clear now). He left the case and dial alone, which I love, as I'm a fan of patina.

Speaking of the dial, I've not physically seen another Sea Wolf, and I was expecting the white dial to be a flat white (obviously aside from the yellowing from age) but, this one at least, is actually a metallic, silvery colour, like you see on dress watches from the time. Is that the case for all white-dialed Sea Wolves, or was this colour another option, or simply something that occurred through age? Also, the metal indices appear bronze in colour. Did they release them like this, or would they have been steel and just yellowed with age (or the radium burning them)? The hands are pretty heavily oxidised, although the tip of the hour and minute hand (I think you can just see it in the second-from-last photo) seems clean, like maybe someone started to clean it, or the crust broke off, or maybe it just didn't oxidise for whatever reason. Anyway, I don't know, it's barely noticeable and may be in my imagination.

Anyway, I'd just love to let you have a look and borrow your expertise if I may.

Cheers,
Matsky

Offline matsky

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Re: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2017, 03:53:44 AM »
Here are the photos from the earlier sale. The seller claimed it "came from the estate of the original owner, a retired United States Navy UDT member.  It has sat unused for more than 40 years." I wonder if that isn't just a sales pitch though as it seems too convenient given that thing about it being their "official watch" even though as I understand it that advert was a bit misleading (it was a veteran association, not an official part of the military). But, hey, maybe it's true. If only this watch could talk...

Offline YuriyV

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Re: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2017, 08:49:15 AM »
As on me, the first SW looks correct.
Although dial and hands are moisture damaged (it is not patina).

Offline matsky

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Re: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2017, 09:20:52 AM »
As on me, the first SW looks correct.
Although dial and hands are moisture damaged (it is not patina).

Thanks for the reply! Sorry, but what do you mean by "As on me, the first SW looks correct."?

Oh, I didn't know that was water damage. Is it surprising that the movement looks so clean and runs so well? Could it have been swapped out? I'm not a watchmaker, but I was always under the impression that water ingression usually renders movements unrepairable? The earlier sale did mention the movement "looks great but does not run reliably nor does it keep accurate time and the hands cannot be manually set.  However, the movement does run.  With the watch face down and gently spun the seconds hand moves and the hour and minute hands keep time."

I think I'm still gonna enjoy the look of the dial, however. Maybe I can imagine it was damaged while diving haha, that is a cool story.

Offline YuriyV

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Re: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2017, 09:45:38 AM »
According to above pictures, I thought they are two different watches. I see difference in bezels. Crystals are different as well.
Damage like that could be done by moist air. And movement could remain not rusty. Although arbors could lost their mirror like finish. So I'd like to see a time diagram of the movement. Especially its amplitude reading.

Offline matsky

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Re: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 09:59:31 AM »
The case on these are definitely the same (serial number matches) and the dial/hands are the same. I can match scratches/damage on both bezels (particularly the scratches to the right of 30 and the scratch at the 8 minute marker), so I'm 99.9% sure it's the same bezel (he's just added some black material to the triangle). Crystal may well be replaced, and I can't comment on the movement.

Offline jon p

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Re: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 01:25:45 PM »
dial "patina" on a silver dial can also be SUN DAMAGE. I have seen these completely brown and the seller called it a "tropical dial!!" LOL! anyway, the dial is actually silver, not white. hands are correct, black with veins. bezel IS CORRECT ,triangle bezel pointer originally a light mint green lume. they fell out easily, mine did. original factory bracelet is the jubilee style.  this IS  a mid to late 1960s seawolf. I own a black dial with date I bought NEW in the army PX at ft benning , Georgia in may 1968. I still have it, had a mild restoration and service done on it 2 years ago. beware, even after a service these are NO LONGER DIVE WATCHES, don't even think about it!!you WILL BE SORRY. enjoy your SW. :sm3

Offline matsky

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Re: Can anyone tell me about my Zodiac Sea Wolf?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2017, 02:23:12 PM »
Thanks jon p! Yeah, I absolutely love it so far, it performs like a dream! Awesome bit of info you shared about buying it at the PX! I find myself wondering if this dial discolouration couldn't have been caused by the humidity or sun of Vietnam... if only this watch could talk!

 

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