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Author Topic: The 'Batwatch' - Zodiac Olympos from the 1960s  (Read 5530 times)

Offline Tomcat1960

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The 'Batwatch' - Zodiac Olympos from the 1960s
« on: July 07, 2015, 08:55:54 am »
The Batwatch - Zodiac 'Olympos'

Who can recall Bruce Wayne? The justice-spleen billionnaire who (besides managing his billion-dollar-wealth) spent the nights on the roofs and in the streets of his hometown, Gotham City, disguised as a bat and hunting down the true villains of his age - the 'Joker', the 'Riddler' or the 'Penguin', to name but a few. (Bankers, lawyers, chemists and rocket scientists were deemed decent professionals in decent occupations by the people of this gleefully optimistic era. Largely, that is.)

As said, Bruce Wayne was pretty well off. And he had studied applied sciences, probably at Harvard. Both these features enabled him to make the equipment for his rascal-hunting to his own design ... aaah, which prosecutor would
not dream this dream?

Thus it came to pass that he designed quite a lot of leading edge technology for his personal ride, the 'Batmobile', ...

Source: Public Domain

... which came with a turbo-nuclear drive, armour, a chainsaw to slice up roadblocks elegantly (rather than just break through as his adversaries did), and, of course, the trunk-based missile launcher (which was licensed later by a certain 'Q' on behalf of Her Majesty's Secret Service who deployed it in a white Lotus Esprit so 007 could take out flying scoundrels quite comfortably, from his driver's seat.) 

The 'Batcycle's' sidecar housed a go-cart ...

Source (clockwise from upper right): (public domain), with kind permission of Eric Seltzer, public domain

... for Wayne's juvenile partner, Robin, to launch combined attacks together with Batman, like a dinghy would when released from a lifeboat.

Talking about boats: Mr. Wayne built a boat, too, with several fiery surprises, ...

Source: courtesy of The Daily Mail, public domain

... and multiple aircraft, like the 'Batcopter' ...

... or the 'Batplane':

Source: courtesy of

All this for manhunt on behalf of an awed public.

Just one question remained unanswered over 120 episodes and six or seven movies: what timepiece did Batman use? Had detail-obsessed and technology-loving Bruce Wayne left this question of all questions to the vagaries of the watch trade indeed?

Of course not. With an assured sense of style he designed the
Batwatch around a micro fuel cell producing enough enery not just for the movement, but also for a small, but powerful laser and a Gangster radar to find out the whereabouts of Batman's most deadly enemies. All this he packaged in a case shaped at least as abstract as the additions to his different vehicles. Why this noteworthy watch never was taken note of in the TV reports on Batman's achievements (only the uninitiated talk about 'The serial') - who knows? Maybe the technology was too advanced, after all, and would have given room to speculation and awkward questions about Roswell and Area 51 (where Wayne Industries runs extensive proving grounds). 

A demilitarized version of the watch, however, was licensed by Wayne Industries in the early 1960s to Zodiac, the Swiss manufacturer of unusual watches who had made a name of himself with the beautiful 'Sea Wolf' diving watch and who had equipped the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways - the one you usually set your watches by) with 'Autographic' precision watches.

Thus Zodiac, too, was able to enter the 'mystery dial' segment of the watch market.

* * *

Everything cobbled together above is, of course, nonsense :-) In the early Sixties 'Mystery Dials' continued the trend towards unusual time displays which had been started by the 'cocktail watches' in the Fifties. What the designer thought or felt when he shaped the original 'coffin' case, we may never learn ... user 'ChronoMATT' writes on '' about the stunning resemblance the case has with the blanket fish (or 'manta', manta birostris). Or, maybe, he just liked Batman comics ;-)

Anyway, we know (as stated in this advert) ...

... that the watch was launched for the first time in 1963, and that the brand 'Zodiac Olympos' was registered in the following year. Zodiac marketed it as 'watch of the future', ...

Image courtesy of Watchlords

... 'years ahead in engineering and styling' and of 'incredible accuracy'. The case measures 38 mm (max width) by 42 mm (length), with the actual case, taking the movement, quite tiny at 32 mm. The watch is very thin, too: less than 9 mm makes it probably one of the thinnest automatic watches of its time.

The incredible accuracy is taken care of by a cal. 70 fine-tuned by a swan's neck adjustment:

Image courtesy of

... and it is unbelievably precise in my new watch. (As far as I can judge now, it's keeping time exactly.)

And it leaves a good impression with the observer in any other respect, too, beginning with its sharp, crisp edges ...

... and the like-new crown ...

... down to the genuine 18 mm (NSA-) bracelet with its sprung genuine clasp:


Despite its unusual shape it holds back on the wrist ... after all, 32 mm is not big :-p

But I find the hour disc to be the greatest feature of the watch (apart of the unusual case, that is). It's silver-coated metal and its sunburst makes for incredibly beautiful plays of light with the blurred reflections of things the dial looks at:

Thanks for commenting on this feature ;-)

Best regards

The following sources came in handy when writing this feature:

« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 01:13:07 pm by Tomcat1960 »
After all's been said and done, there's a lot more said than done...

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Offline evghenii

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Re: The 'Batwatch' - Zodiac Olympos from the 1960s
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 03:43:07 pm »
Cool watch and cool revue! One of my target in future)
Thank you Tomcat! :coolsmiley2

Offline incountry

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Re: The 'Batwatch' - Zodiac Olympos from the 1960s
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 06:03:34 pm »
Thanks for the great piece of fiction interspersed with non-fiction Tomcat!  Your Olympos looks beautiful.   :twothumbsup

Offline Ultra-Vintage

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Re: The 'Batwatch' - Zodiac Olympos from the 1960s
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 09:44:08 am »
Very Cool Feature Tomcat!  I have always liked the unique styling of the Olympos.  A very under-appreciated model, no other company made anything like it.

Offline Tomcat1960

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Re: The 'Batwatch' - Zodiac Olympos from the 1960s
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 01:22:01 pm »
Thank you very much, Gentlemen!

Evghenii, I wish you all the luck with finding one. Don't wait too long - good examples are vanishing fast these days. (The most you find have been polished to death  :()

@ Ultra-Vintage: you're right - but then again, Zodiac had quite some designs never made by someone else. Think of the various Astrographic models, or of the original Sea Wolf - who else had a diver with such hands?  ;D

After all's been said and done, there's a lot more said than done...

"Miracles?", he asked. "Forget about miracles. Those who walk on water just know where the stepstones are."

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Offline Cobber

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Re: The 'Batwatch' - Zodiac Olympos from the 1960s
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 12:18:14 am »
Great post,
The Olympos doesnt get enough love in my opinion. Personally I've been on an Aerospace Jet kick for the last month or so but this has got me itching to pull out the Olympos.
From what I understand, it was the dial that was considered avant-garde. However, it's all about the case for me. I've got the gold plated one with the floating hour hand but in my searching for the stainless cousin I'm open to just about any dial variation.


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