In 1882, Ariste Calame founded a workshop for the production of watches in Le Locle Switzerland. The original name of the company was Ariste Calame and would later become Zodiac. The name Zodiac was not registered until 1908. The founder’s son, Louis Ariste Calame, was sent to watchmaking school and took over the company in 1895.
The first flat pocket watch, launched in 1928, used the Zodiac calibre 1617 movement.
In 1930, the brand designed and produced the first automatic sports watch and the popular Zodiac Autographic. The Autographic was self-winding with a power reserve gauge, an unbreakable crystal and a radium dial and was water- and shock-resistant.
In 1953, Zodiac introduced the Sea Wolf as the first purpose-built “dive watch” manufactured and marketed to the masses. To date, the original Sea Wolf and its successor, the early 1970s Super Sea Wolf, are considered two of the most iconic commercial dive watches.
With a patented crown/stem system and improved case back design, Super Sea Wolf’s water pressure rating increased from a 200-meter rating to 750 meters. The 750-meter-rated Super Sea Wolf was introduced in the early 1970s and was used by the U.S. Navy SEALs.
The Zodiac Aerospace is a popular vantage Zodiac model that takes after the original Sea Wolf’s design. It was released in 1960 and is a GMT watch with a red GMT hand and 24 hours indicated on its two-color bezel.
On October 1, 2001, Fossil Inc. acquired the worldwide rights to the Zodiac brand name for approximately $4.7 million for use in watches, clocks, and other timekeeping devices.
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CHARLEY PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Charley didn’t see her shadow last week, which means spring is just around the corner. But first, a nap.