Vintage Zodiacs

Zodiac Talk => General Zodiac Discussion => Topic started by: tobias on August 12, 2017, 09:47:07 PM

Title: Took a chance on this Zodiac
Post by: tobias on August 12, 2017, 09:47:07 PM
Stumbled upon this Zodiac and got it for less than what the Hamilton equivalents normally fetch. Pandas seem to command a premium.

(http://i67.tinypic.com/4lhasdf6yu.jpg)
(http://i67.tinypic.com/4lh634gsyu.jpg)
(http://i67.tinypic.com/34lh6yasdu.jpg)

Between the lugs it says "gold filled". This case is not gold-anything. I'm also curious of the blue dial registers. Not sure if these have aged similarly to how some black Rolex aluminum bezels take on a bluish hue because I can't find any photo of this particular watch from Zodiac, Heuer, etc with blue registers.

Interested to hear your thoughts.
Title: Re: Took a chance on this Zodiac chrono (photo heavy)
Post by: tobias on August 12, 2017, 09:52:59 PM
Looks like my linked photos are a bit large for this forum layout. If you click anywhere in my post text, you can use your left and right arrow keys to scroll horizontally.
Title: Re: Took a chance on this Zodiac chrono (photo heavy)
Post by: Butch on August 13, 2017, 07:33:28 AM
Welcome aboard! Perhaps UV will weigh in, he has an extensive chrono collection.
Title: Re: Took a chance on this Zodiac chrono (photo heavy)
Post by: Ultra-Vintage on August 13, 2017, 03:15:33 PM
Hi Tobias.  As you have pointed out, there are certainly a lot of things going on with this one. 

To answer your first question, yes, Zodiac did have models using this case style that were gold plated.  I have one that has a silver dial with sunken sub-registers and gold hands/markers in my collection that I am quite fond of.  Your case, as marked, was a gold plated case that someone has heavily polished and re-chromed.  I have seen this before, and it happens because the gold plated cases are still pariahs to many collectors but the chrome cases have found a small bit of acceptance especially on models like these that they price has increased several times over in the last decade.

The second point that I will make is that though it is hard to diagnose just from pictures, I believe your Zodiac dial has been refinished at some point.  Although it is a better refinish than most (we see chronograph refinishes on Ebay everyday that the hash marks look like paint plops and worse), it is still not an original dial.  A few of the things I see:

1. The background white "finish" is not correct, and is not like the originals
2. Little too much variation in thickness of lines/intervals
3. Too much wave in seperation of sub-registers from dial
4. Markers were heavily polished down at the time of refinish
5. Lume sloppy
6. Zodiac smudged
7. Fine lines slightly distorted/leaning, not perfectly straight at certain points around the dial
8. Register Hands obviously painted to match dial, roughly

So while it started as a Zodiac gold plated model, likely with a silver or gold dial, it has been transformed into what you have pictured.  It is still a very wearable watch, the only suggestion I would have is to be careful in regards to moisture as those pushers and possibly crown are likely not water resistant whatsoever.
Title: Re: Took a chance on this Zodiac chrono (photo heavy)
Post by: Ultra-Vintage on August 13, 2017, 08:17:46 PM
I also forgot to mention Tobias, that the www.zodiaccatalogs.com/ (http://www.zodiaccatalogs.com/) site has the original Zodiac company catalogs and materials that can not only help with identification of chronograph models (and other models across the whole product line), but also helps you pin down years of manufacture  :sm3
Title: Re: Took a chance on this Zodiac chrono (photo heavy)
Post by: tobias on August 13, 2017, 11:00:12 PM
Thanks UV. If you have a pic of this watch in goldtone, it would be cool to see it. Hands look original to me. The registers being slightly out-of-round is pretty common on these dials. At an angle under intense indoor light, the dial and registers have a consistent lacquered texture (see here (https://i.imgur.com/Oz1b2UR19d.jpg)).
Title: Re: Took a chance on this Zodiac chrono (photo heavy)
Post by: Ultra-Vintage on August 14, 2017, 11:22:24 AM
The hour/minute/central chronograph hand appear original, the ones that I was referring to as being re-painted to match the dial are the register hands.

Here is one of the similar Zodiacs that I have, I pulled the pic from my Instagram.  I did not see the gold plated model in my finished watches, but do not remember tearing it down for resto, so I would have to dig to find it I guess.