Few legacy watch brands have had a return to form like Zodiac. Not that it ever went away, but after the brand name was acquired by Fossil in 2001 there were some fits and starts as Zodiac sought a middle ground between pleasing old school collectors and going with market trends—larger faces and chunky, heavy designs.
With the newly reissued Astrographic, Zodiac has gone back in time to assert its historical cred in style, reproducing a timepiece that would have been at home in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or on the wrist of a real astronaut heading to the Moon.
In addition to its stylish curves, the stainless steel Astrographic's mysterious dial design is akin to a magic trick. At first glance in 2019, you might assume it's a digital watch with an LED screen tricked out to look kind of analog.
Truth is, you're looking at a clever set of turning disks powered by an automatic movement. Nothing digital about it.
The illusion of floating hands was inspired by the movements of satellites, and to bring this reissue into the 21st century, the second hand has been turned into a red dot to symbolize the next step in man's conquest of space—the Red Planet, Mars.
The Limited Edition Astrographic Automatic comes beautifully presented in a muted black box with sharp retro art and a bonus iron-on mission patch bearing a space-age design, the iconic Zodiac crosshairs, and the model name.
Per Zodiac, here are the basic details of the Astrographic's function and design:
- Case size: 40 mm x 43 mm
- Case thickness: 10 mm
- Lug width: 18 mm
- Movement: Automatic
- Origin: Swiss Made
- Packaging: Zodiac Black Box and Mission Patch
- Warranty: 2 Year International
- Water-resistant: 10 ATM
It's a timely reboot in more ways than one—there's been a general trend in "vintage-style," smaller watches in 2019, according to Fashion Beans, and the modest Astrographic case size hits a sweet spot there as well. On the wrist, it's just big enough to feel substantial and solid but the elegant design makes it perfect for accessorizing a more formal, business-like look.
The Astrographic line didn't actually go away between 1969 and 2019—it evolved over time to a set of elegant automatics with Apple Watch-shaped cases ranging in price from $1,295 to a very limited-edition model that goes for $1,995.
As for these 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Astrographic Automatic Gold-Tone and Stainless-Steel editions, Zodiac created just 182 pieces per colorway.
They go for $1,295 on Zodiac's site but are sold out there. If you want to get into the true original, vintage Astrographics are available for as little as $550.
But you can, however, hunt down the new models elsewhere for up to $1,495.