Vintage Zodiacs

Zodiac Talk => I saw this Zodiac on the Internet... => Topic started by: YuriyV on December 26, 2019, 06:23:37 PM

Title: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: YuriyV on December 26, 2019, 06:23:37 PM

Thoughts? Regardless obvious redial.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Butch on December 27, 2019, 12:40:38 AM
Gone now.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: YuriyV on December 27, 2019, 09:34:30 AM
Here is the direct link (
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Ultra-Vintage on December 27, 2019, 07:43:22 PM
Saw that one before it disappeared.  Seemed like an art project to me, refinished Seawolf dial in a GMT case, with a "rally" bezel.  I know a lot of people like the rally bezels, and try to scoop up any they find, but they were never my thing.  Never seemed like a visual "fit" for the Seawolfs for me, more at home on other watches in the 70s.  I would have only been interested in that watch as a pile of parts......
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: YuriyV on December 28, 2019, 07:50:54 AM
The seller claimed the watch was bought in 1966. Probably obliterated memory fact? Earliest acrylic bezel model known to me is dated 1968.
Definitely the watch was mangled. Just wondering if Dauphine hands/dial markers were a valid option for Rally bezel.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Ultra-Vintage on December 28, 2019, 05:57:28 PM
They were not options as far as I know, but dealers/jewelers would do anything to get a watch sold. His original watch may have been 1966, but as he beat it up and parts were replaced/refinished/added you get what he offered for sale = parts watch
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Butch on December 29, 2019, 08:52:21 AM
Those bezels came out in the late 70's.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: YuriyV on December 30, 2019, 09:28:34 AM
This ad dated 1972
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Butch on December 30, 2019, 09:38:30 AM
This is interesting. Please tell me the magazine name, volume number, and month/yr so I can find a copy. If true, it begs the question why these watches were not listed in the 1971 and 1975 catalogs, doesn't it? I have often wondered why these bezels are not shown in any of the catalogs I have collected over the years.

Here is an example of collecting ads for research purposes. I try to buy the full page or the entire magazine for research purposes so that I get this info.

As an aside, I once had about 10 of these that I bought NOS from a parts house back in the 90's. Had I known then people were going to go crazy about these I would have saved them!
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: YuriyV on December 30, 2019, 10:55:14 AM
It is not on top of my head. At the moment I'm on vacation and don't have access to my records.
But the ad is listed in my "Collecting vintage Zodiac watches book" under number 409. And there is a reference table, containing where it was published, including issue name, date and page.

Indeed, analyzing old ads is a great source of information. It is why I buy whole issues to preserve context. Nova days this hobby named industrial archaeology. It is exactly what we do:
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Butch on December 30, 2019, 11:29:09 AM
No worries, when you get back is great. Have fun!
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Ultra-Vintage on December 30, 2019, 01:19:07 PM
I guess my question is, and honestly has always been, are these bezels actually officially Zodiac?  Are they pictured in any Zodiac documents?  Sure, we have seen them out there on Seawolfs over the years, but are the actually Zodiac?  Or were they made by a third party as a solution to a known problem (Zodiacs losing their bezels), as an aftermarket accessory?  I had not seen the ad Yuri posted before, but it is a jewelry store ad, not an official Zodiac document.  These bezels have always screamed Seiko to me, not Zodiac, so knowing that they were actual Zodiac would be a place to start in my opinion.  The loose ones I acquired over the years, came from general parts suppliers that operated in the late 70s and 80s, not places that were actually Zodiac dealers and had parts accounts.  So, just curious  :confused
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Cobber on January 02, 2020, 12:59:29 PM
Interesting conversation.  Does anybody know what other watch companies used the same model case (EPSA?) for their "dive" watches.  The rally bezels always appeared to me to have the exact same build design based on the side view/profile as the more traditional acrylic ones.  I'm curious at what point does it make sense to make an after market bezel for a flawed design with the same acrylic fault and design spec as the one they're replacing.  Unless of course it's done for purely aesthetic purposes or ease of replacement.  Either of these scenarios make more sense when viewed in the context of the time and local watchmakers were in far more abundance.

Personally, I believe most the vintage Rallys we've seen came from Zodiac spec'd with the checkered bezel.  However, that advertisement Yuri produced and the eBay listing are the first ones I've ever seen with the dauphine hands and really make me start to think about this.  Story and dates of the listing just don't add up however and then throw in the Aerospace case back for good measure.  The listing really becomes a tangled mess if not totally out of the realm of possibility.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Butch on January 03, 2020, 07:51:03 AM
I have given this a lot of thought over the past week as that is all one can do today. The ones I had I believe were made by the same company that made the regular bezels for Zodiac. They were in a box of Zodiac parts. As a matter of fact, the first time I went there to buy parts I bought all the regular bezels they had and left the colorful ones behind. (I refuse to use the popular word for them, today's collectors come up with the stupidest names for watches. Panda!  ??? ) About 3 years later I went back and bought some more parts and they threw them in to seal the deal.

From this point on down, the rest is speculation on my part. Zodiac may have seen and bought them. Maybe even had them made for a model consideration. I do not doubt their authenticity. I think ultimately Swiss Zodiac decided not to make a salable model with that bezel and may have simply released them into the wild through their parts department. Then jewelers could get them as spare parts and make local changes to models for sale. As I have said many times in the past, a jeweler would do anything to make a sale. Swap a band or bezel between models, sure. Especially as they knew they could return the other watch to original condition for sale later through their parts department. So that in itself, would make them genuine Zodiacs, in my opinion. I mean, if Trauner and Sons could buy JB Champion bands for the Swiss Zodiacs for sale in North America, why can't a jeweler do that between models or with spare parts?

As the VZ Team Members are aware, I have collected a whole lot of literature over the years and nowhere in any of them shows a watch with those colorful bezels. I will maintain my belief that there was never a Swiss Zodiac model sold with those bezels until I come across an official piece of Zodiac documentation with them pictured and described.

One final point here, Trauner had WIDE latitude on what they could do with Zodiacs here in North America. After all, they had Zodiac create the Clebar brand for them for sale here (Genender told me that Monnier told him that). THAT was a big revenue boost for Zodiac. Trauner was probably their largest single contributor to the Zodiac bottom line. Who knows, perhaps the Trauner buyer saw these bezels on a trip to Switzerland and thought they would sell here in the US given our long fascination with cars. Or maybe he just thought the stoned hippies would find them to be trippy.

I still say that they were original parts, just not Swiss models for sale. And my opinion is just that as an informed collector, it does not invalidate another's beliefs. I always try to clarify the things I say are my informed opinion. The older I get the less I feel I need to always be right, informed beliefs are good enough for me. So much of the Zodiac history has been lost that any research done by anyone should be appreciated by all collectors of the Brand. UV and YuriyV are certainly included in this thought for their contributions.

Note added: Looking at pages 8 & 9 in the 1975 catalog shows a new departure for the Sea Wolf with TWO different types of models, 3 in each. Perhaps this was the direction they went in when they decided not to use the colorful bezels? Just a thought.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Cobber on January 03, 2020, 11:41:19 AM
Hey Butch, thanks for taking the time to put that thoughtful and sensical thesis together.
Given the number of the vintage checkered models we see (very few) and the lack of documentation originating from Zodiac, I suspect you're right.  But who knows, one day an official Zodiac ad may pop up.

However, I would like to add one thing or perhaps clarify.  If these were official Zodiacs (albeit local distributor modified ones) I would hazard they were sold new to the original customer with the modification since the vast majority have the square hands.  If they were simply used to replace damaged or lost bezels then I suspect the majority of examples we see today would have the daulphine hands since those are much more in abundance than the later square hand versions.  Then again, it could be chalked up to natural selection.  Perhaps people just didn't like the way they looked on the daulphine hand variety.  I certainly don't but I do like the way the look on the later models.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Butch on January 03, 2020, 12:04:55 PM
If Zodiac documentation does pop up, and I get my hands on it, I will be happy to change my opinion.

I don't recall (just old I guess) if the colorful bezels used the springs. If not, then they would fit on older models and the spare parts thesis makes sense, or modification for an original owner, for the veined hand models. There was an acrylic bezel that did not use the spring that came out after the plated bezels were ceased. They too evidently kept popping off so Zodiac probably must have then decided to add the spring to the bezel. Then they went to the totally redesigned models in the 1975 catalog.

Speaking of that, in full disclosure, that 75 catalog is named that as the jeweler wrote 1975 on the cover. (Check it out!). So was that Jan. 75 or Dec. 75? Is it really a 1974 catalog or a 1976 catalog? Ah well, like we used to say, close enough for government work. It is a reference.

Here's a new thought that just occurred to me. Why haven't we seen a similar colorful bezels for the GMT? Maybe because of the hour markers made it too difficult to read or too crowded? Who knows? Just funny that they changed the GMT bezels from metal to acrylic at the same time as the Sea Wolf, one would think that they would have updated the GMT bezel with this new design as well at the same time.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Cobber on January 03, 2020, 12:43:08 PM
Price list in back says effective Jun 1 1975.  Must have been a fairly current.  I doubt the jeweler had every catalog watch in stock.
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: YuriyV on January 12, 2020, 05:36:10 PM
I'm sure, they were produced by same supplier/manufacturer (using same materials, technology and equipment) as other standard Zodiac acrylic bezels.
Hope we will find out some day if they were issued by Zodiac or not. At the moment 7 varieties known. At least 2 other must exist.
Keep digging!
Title: Re: Rally Sea Wolf
Post by: Butch on January 12, 2020, 06:12:23 PM
Like you, I await some Zodiac documentation to show these were actual models and not maybe some spare unwanted parts sold to jewelers.