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Author Topic: Help dating this watch.  (Read 646 times)

Offline Berlinwatchguy

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Help dating this watch.
« on: January 24, 2021, 08:26:28 am »
Hi all. My first Zodiac watch.

9ct Gold Kingline 36600.  Inscription on the back is dating it at 1978, which sounds too late to me and the only other markings are the usual gold ones on the inside of the caseback. The movement number is 6 digits long and starts with a 2. Its a Zodiac 88 movement and is perfectly running with amazing accuracy and the quick date change working. Movement looks to have been cleaned recently. I bought it at auction a few weeks ago. Love it......any ideas of the date of this watch would be greatly appreciated...I am guessing 1970, but without any case markings its hard to tell.  Chris

Offline Butch

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 09:02:59 am »
Hi! Welcome to the forum. That model is in the 1975 catalog. If you are unsure of the service history you really should have it serviced.

https://www.vintagezodiacs.com/watchrepair.php
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Offline Grossisten

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2021, 09:16:54 am »
Hi,

I own what I assume is the predecessor to this watch. It is from the early seventies. The notable difference is in the print on the dial - yours has a more modern version than mine. I've noted this shift in the font on many models in the same period, so I think it makes sense that it is "younger" than you think it should be.

Offline YuriyV

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2021, 10:36:21 am »
Unusual for Zodiac screw in case back.

Offline Butch

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2021, 11:09:49 am »
Unusual for Zodiac screw in case back.

True, but I just attributed that to the gold case. Surprised it was only 9K and makes me think it was a European (esp. UK) model as in the US you normally only see 14K and 18K cases. It is all that is offered in the Trauner catalogs for North America.
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Offline YuriyV

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2021, 05:21:03 pm »
Yes, according to hallmarks, the case was marked in London assay office.
Just wondering if the watch was encased in UK.

Offline Butch

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2021, 07:02:50 pm »
Good question! I have seen MANY 9K Zodiacs over the years, most from the UK.

Years ago, maybe the 1940s, here in the US there was a huge tax on Swiss watches so companies like Bulova, Gruen, etc. imported the ebache's and cased them here to side step the tax. Can you say Star Watch Case Company?
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Offline Cobber

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2021, 11:24:45 am »
I have basically the same model and have posted about it here.
When I first received it;
https://www.vintagezodiacs.com/zforums/index.php?topic=3240.msg13884#msg13884

 & after I had it serviced by BWG/UV and had a beads of rice bracelet fitted to it;
https://www.vintagezodiacs.com/zforums/index.php?topic=3279.msg14120#msg14120

I sent some photos to David Boettcher (owner of the vintagewatchstraps.com website).  He's a bit of an expert regarding British market watches and I received a nice write up back from him explaining all the markings.  I'll try and attach it as a pdf.   

It's my understanding a number of watchmakers utilized British watch case makers due to a premium duty placed on gold and perhaps other precious metals.  In this instance the case maker is DS&S (more on that in the PDF).  They made cases for many companies, among them Rolex.  I've tried finding more info on this but really haven't had much luck.

My date code "B" is for '76-'77.  Your code is "C".  If simple logic prevails that would place your watch as a '77-'78.  However, I really don't know and logic doesn't necessarily always carry the day.


Offline Cobber

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2021, 11:39:26 am »
Something else just occurred to me.  This is the third or fourth time I've seen one of these Kinglines with an English case maker.
Is it just coincidence they all seem to date to roughly the same period which coincides with the introduction of the new generation Kingline with a wildly different case design?  Perhaps it has less to do with import tariffs and more to do with using up unused parts in a measured and responsible matter?

Offline Butch

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2021, 01:06:39 pm »
Well this fella got more information than most! Thanks for the help Team!
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Offline Grossisten

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2021, 05:08:54 pm »
I can add that my mum (why bring her in you may ask, well she worked with Zodiac for 20 years....) recently stressed that Zodiac NEVER made watches in less than 18kt. Well obviously they did as this watch proves, and she had only her experience in the Danish market to base her assumption on, but this highlights that Zodiac approached different markets in different ways and not all models were available everywhere.

Offline Butch

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2021, 06:57:18 pm »
I knew about the US tariffs in the 40's on complete Swiss watches, I did not know about the UK tariffs on gold cases, and the Trauner catalogs for North America clearly shows 14K and 18K watches. Zodiac in Switzerland cut many deals with distributors in many countries/regions (that is how I got the Spanish catalogs) and they were small enough to accommodate just about anything the distributors wanted, for a price. What your mother said does not surprise me in the least and I would tend to believe her that Zodiac proper only used 18K for their sales.

Zodiac, while small, always considered themselves to be a top of the line brand. Somewhere around here I have a dealer brochure that tells and shows Zodiac dealers how to competitively sell against Omega.
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Offline Berlinwatchguy

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2021, 07:30:02 pm »
Thanks to all. A lot of useful information.... :twothumbsup

Offline Grossisten

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2021, 04:46:39 pm »
It would be very interesting to read that dealer brochure at one point, Butch.

Zodiac was a leading mid-size brand. I think you History article mentions this. Quality wise they saw themselves in the top among consumer brands, luxury segments excluded (at one point they adopted the tagline "montres de precision/precision watches" in a parallel to how Omega branded themselves) with a focus on reliable yet innovative technology. Personally I would have labelled them "affordable luxury" as pricing was another important parameter. They were not cheap - but they were not expensive either. This is why the suited the Danish market so well for a long time.

Offline Butch

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Re: Help dating this watch.
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2021, 06:05:41 pm »
I agree with all. Just looking through their catalogs at the ladies watches shows one that. They did make precision instruments. I am very sure they were proud of their brand and the prestige it brought to the family.
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