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Author Topic: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store  (Read 311 times)

Offline NDLaw

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Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« on: July 13, 2019, 07:15:54 PM »
Hi all --

I know this is going to not be as useful without pictures, but I am not going to be able to go back for pictures until tomorrow.  Until then, I figured I would see what I could find out!

I was perusing a local antique store and saw an interesting Zodiac watch. The watch was a squarish shape, brass colored.  The watch dial simply said "Zodiac" along the top, and "Automatic" (or maybe automatique?) along the bottom.  It had a date window and a red second hand.  Along the side of the case, in between the lugs, was a star emblem in a box and two words that for the life of me I could not read even under magnification.  The case back had what looked to be a scales of justice emblem, the zodiac watch symbol, among other things I forgot to note.  The bracelet was a similar brass color (that matched the watch) and had an almost speigel like quality to it, but very tight/not as flexible.   This watch screams late 60s, early-to-mid 70s style to me.

I have never seen a zodiac watch that looked quite like this.  They were asking $90 for it.  It ran, but obviously god knows when it was last serviced.  The crown wound the watch and changed the date as it should.

Does my admittedly general, imperfect description ring any bells as to the kind of watch it could be?  Do these 70s-era Zodiacs have any collector interest such that $90 is a decent price?  I will add pictures as soon as I can!  Thanks for any and all info!

Offline NDLaw

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2019, 02:44:31 AM »
Looking on eBay, I have found a watch that looks identical to the one in the antique store (including an identical band).  The item # is 153547410363

One thing that gave me pause when I viewed it in the store was the relative shallowness of the etching on the case back.

Any input would be appreciated!

Offline Butch

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2019, 07:30:22 AM »
Yes, that is from the late 60's or early 70s, definitely the mod style of the day. It is gold plated. $90 is a good price, especially if it has the Zodiac band. Remember, you will need a service before wearing it!

The shallowness of the engraving may be due to previous polishing during services. It is what it is. Share pics if you get it.

I see you are new here!  :welc

Thank you for reading the rules and posting in the appropriate place!
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 07:58:40 AM by Butch »
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Offline NDLaw

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2019, 10:24:55 PM »
Hi, thanks for the welcome!  I have been lurking for a bit; my vintage watches to date have been Hamiltons, but I have wanted a vintage Zodiac that showed their sometimes "unique" style.  If this one is original/correct, this may do it!  I did end up picking it up for $90 this morning.  The issues I have identified so far:

(1) The little pins that hold the bracelet to the lugs were pretty bent, so I just removed the bracelet pending repair/replacement of those pins.  I may end up replacing the bracelet entirely with a black leather strap.

(2) The bracelet does not close.  I am not sure if there is a part missing from the clasp or if the little prongs that hold it shut are just bent out of shape.

(3) The back shows signs of wear/scuffs.  As you can see in the picture, there are scuffs and "splotches" -- the splotches are from where I removed what appeared to be remnants of the protective sticker that would have been on the back.  While I kind of regret removing the sticker remains (now that I see it left marks), I think it actually looked worse with the broken up sticker on the back.  I am still surprised at the lightness of the engraving compared to the other vintage zodiac case backs I have seen on this site and on ebay.  I don't think it is the result of any polishing on the back -- I found a similar case on a Zodiac watch with a similar "style" on ebay, item #: 272278638735  My (uneducated) suspicion is that these were not a higher end Zodiac and thus did not warrant a nicer caseback?

(4) The crown is unsigned -- Do you think this is a replacement?

Other interesting things to note:

(1) The caseback has a number 616-74.  Googling "Zodiac watch" 616 did not yield anything.  Can you guys make anything of these numbers?

(2) On the left side of the case, opposite the crown, is the very tiny writing I alluded to in the original post.  When I got the watch home, under high magnification, I realized one of the words was "10 microns."  There is also a star in a box of some kind and another word that is hard for me to read, but may say "Larue."

I have not been able to open the watch as I lack the tool needed.  Tomorrow I will take it to my watchmaker and ask him to service it and open it.  After I get it fixed up, I will, hopefully, have a nice-original Zodiac wearer....  At worst, I took a $90 flier.  I have seen new vintage watch collectors get burned for far, far worse!

Thanks for any insights you may have!

Offline NDLaw

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2019, 10:31:31 PM »
Bracelet pictures:

Offline NDLaw

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2019, 10:32:19 PM »
And showing where the bracelet won't clasp close:

Offline Butch

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2019, 08:40:32 AM »
You got a great deal.  All the things you mention a watchmaker should be able to remedy, so that is good news. Here are some other thoughts.

Crown has been replaced, should be signed.
Microns refers to the gold plating thickness.
616-74 - Shrug. The case number should be on the inside of the back, if not then this is that I would think. Don't get hung up on the case back. Different models had different ones. This was a dress watch, not a cheaper model. Same movements as in the other models for that year. As a matter of fact, the day/date models were newer, better, higher priced than the date only models!

Some of the catalogs have pricing in them. Google Zodiac and it normally just leads you here to this site.

Ya done good kid!




« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 08:48:06 AM by Butch »
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Offline YuriyV

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2019, 11:51:48 AM »
1. Bracelet issue most likely caused by clasp deformations. Could be fixed;
2. Movement should be AS 2066;
3. This Zodiac model is from mid 1970s. Probably ref number on the case back points to 1974. No dependable information available. In mid 1970 Zodiac begun to outsource parts from various suppliers and did not follow their numbering rules.
4. Inner surface of the case back is not marked. See my sister model below. It has 616-75.
5. Crown is not original. Should be signed. Mine has not original as well;
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 11:53:43 AM by YuriyV »

Offline Butch

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2019, 01:21:23 PM »
Thanks Yury. What is the serial number on yours?

ND, you can find yours between the lugs under the 6 normally. What is the serial number on yours?
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Offline YuriyV

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2019, 03:17:07 PM »
Sorry, the watch was sold. Photos taken from my archive.

Offline Butch

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2019, 03:21:36 PM »
It happens.
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Offline NDLaw

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2019, 06:00:50 PM »
For the life of me, I can see absolutely no serial number on the case, between the lugs or anywhere else, even under magnification (see pictures).

Do you guys have any possible sources for a model-correct crown?  I find it interesting that this model watch on ebay right now *seems* to have the same crown!

Yury - your watch had the same yellowish-sticker like thing that this one did.  Except mine was all beat up so I removed it.  I wonder if I should have kept it on!  Also, thank you for the pictures of your former watch!  It validates my intuition that this guy would not look bad with a leather strap!

One last question:  There are a few very light scuffs(?) on the satin-ized finish.  Any suggestions on whether/how to clean/polish it?

Offline Butch

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Re: Zodiac watch seen in local antique store
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2019, 06:26:34 PM »
I got nothing to offer here.
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