Zelos for the third time

And actually for the fourth time, because in addition to the 2 versions of the Mako model, for some time I also had Zelos Hammerhead, which I didn’t describe in the review. About the subject of today’s review I partly mentioned here https://2gwatchblog.com/pl/zelos-mako-bronze-meteorite-recenzja/, although it is quite a stretchy statement because then I described 2 other versions of this model.
The entire ZX series is a tribute to the incredible U.S. Air Force aircrafts such as the North American X-15 and SR-71 Blackbird.
The North American X-15 was the fastest manned aircraft in history (reached 7274 km / h) and set a altitude record of 108 km, which was broken only after 40 years.

Officially, the name of the fastest aircraft bears SR-71 Blackbird that reaches the speed of 3,540 km / h. This is due to the fact that the X-15 was a test aircraft that only made 199 flights and was never put into active service and the SR-71 served in the US and CIA air forces for several years.

Although the numbers are impressive, to even more realize what speeds we are talking about, I will add that flying with its record speed X-15 would circle the entire globe in 5.5 hours and the section from eastern to western Poland would take a little over 5 minutes. Of course, these are only worries, because the amount of fuel taken on the X-15 allowed him to cover a distance of only 450km.
I am writing about this due to the fact that the design of the watch has many accents referring to the X-15 (one version has a dial made of titanium nozzle feathers of the SR-71 engines), as you will see in the following part of the review.

Mecha-quartz – what is it at all?

To understand this, you first need to know how the quartz movement with the chronograph function works, and how mechanical.
To put it simply …

Quartz chronograph – the standard quartz movement with the chronograph function is controlled by several stepper motors (minimum 2) – one driving the main hands and additional driving the other hands of the chronograph (1 on the protruding stem from the dial). When the chronograph pusher is pressed, an additional electric pulse is passed to the additional motors passing from the battery through the quartz to the engine and the chronograph countdown begins. When stopping and resetting the chronograph, the hands must make a clockwise turn to the starting position. The buttons in such a chronograph work electronically and work the same as pressing a button on a computer keyboard – it send an electrical signal to the processor, or just like a watch to a quartz system.

Mechanical chronograph – in a mechanical chronograph the stopwatch hands are driven by gears transferring energy supplied from the same source as the main hands, i.e. from the spring. When the chronograph button is pressed, the part inside the mechanism will move mechanically which allows the drive to be moved to more hands. Therefore, the buttons in the chronograph walk with a characteristic click and greater resistance. In addition, when the stopwatch pointer is reset immediately, it also mechanically moves to the start position (depending on which position it is in at the moment – either forward or backward).

In contrast, the Mecha-quartz movement combines the action of a quartz watch with the action of a stopwatch known from mechanical watches. The main hands are driven by a stepper motor to which energy is supplied from the battery passing through quartz, but the same engine also drives the chronograph hands through a mechanical gear. This means that the buttons in such a chronograph work in the same way as on a watch with a mechanical movement and the stopwatch hand instead of one movement per second, makes them 5.

ok, that all for the movements, I invite you to read the review 😊

Box

This is already a classic; Zelos’s boxes are always the same, regardless of the model, a wooden case slipped into a cardboard box, in which there is a portable case for several watches. This way of packing is so safe for the watch that the boxes do not need to have any additional protection during transport – no need for bubble wrap or other shock absorbers 😊 The case contained a watch, an additional strap, bracelet and warranty. The bracelet is not part of the standard set, unfortunately you have to buy it separately.

Case

The case is 43mm wide, 49mm lug to lug and 16mm thick – so it’s very thick, thicker than necessary, because this thickness of the case was needed to fit the Valjoux 7750 mechanism in it. Apparently, there were no separate cases for Seiko mecha-quartz in which is equipped  my copy. It’s made of titanium, so its shade is slightly different than standard stainless steel cases. That’s good, many parts of these incredibly technically advanced aircrafts were made of titanium, and I like the color of this metal much more than steel. The material used for production is of course reflected in the weight of the watch – it’s much lighter than it might seem by its size. You have to get used to the beginning because the first impression is that the watch is plastic or empty inside. Low weight, however, has a good effect on wearing comfort.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the text, the watch has many references to the X-15 aircraft, one of them is the futuristic shape of the case which has many different folds and gives the impression of being sharp, angular and round at the same time. Elshan Tang, who owns the Zelos brand, had to try very hard to design the case of this watch to achieve such an effect. The shape of the casereminds me of sports cars from the 70s’ … Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari from those years, etc. The vast majority of the case is matte, only the smallest surfaces like the side of the bezel and the narrow part of the lugs that falls towards the bracelet are polished. Metal processing, like always from Zelos, is at a very high level, the polished surfaces do not differ in appearance from steel with the same treatment.

The crown and chronograph pushers, however, do a real job when it comes to the vibe of the watch. The shape of the crown resembles a rocket engine nozzle, while the pushers are oblong and resemble ailerons, which in combination with each other looks like the rear of the X-15 from above. In short – there is fire! The crown is screw down – probably due to 100m water resistance, which the watch has.
The hape of the Lugs with a spacing of 22mm refer to the wings of this plane and like the entire case have something special in them.



Titanium seems to perfectly meet my requirements for the severity of the metal, and this watch is also almost all matte, which also fits my tastes.

Movement

The heart of the watch is the Seiko VK67 movement – it is a mecha-quartz movement. What is the difference between such a mechanism and an ordinary quartz chronograph I wrote at the beginning. Thanks to this movement, the watch has 3 additional subdials on the dial – one counts down the seconds of the standard time, the other two indicate the minutes and hours of the stopwatch after starting it. In this arrangement, the large second hand counts the stopwatch seconds after starting it, and when it’s turned off – it just stands still. I thought that in this case the fact that it is a quartz watch will not bother me because the usual ticking of the second hand is not so visible on such a small subdial and at the time of starting the chronograph a large hand flows at a frequency of 5 per second. It turned out that my passion for mechanical movements is not just about the second hand. The movement is too … dead and silent. There is no sound or feeling of the rotor inside the case. The upside is that I don’t have to worry about the level of the spring tension, because the quartz watch works regardless of whether I wear it or not.

Dial

The dial is made of a meteorite. I already had a model in my collection with a dial made of this raw material, and interestingly it was also Zelos. However, this was not a decisive factor in purchasing this chronograph, but about it right away … As I just mentioned, a dial made of a meteorite; has graphite subdials with a circular corrugations, the edges of which are covered by blue rings. The subdials are located in the left half of the dial, the right one has the Zelos logo and the blue inscription “chronograph” which due to the texture of the dial is hardly legible.

The subdials frames match the indexes and hands. The blue, very high indices inside filled with luma looks just insane. When you look at your watch straight, together with the hands and sub-dial frames, they gain intensity and beautifully shimmer. It was these blue indices that were the factors that decided to buy this watch … I have a weakness for indices in a color other than silver and gold- such watches are definitely the most common and models with indices in a different color, do not know why, they are rare.

On the outer part of the dial there is an additional, lower level which is filled with white BGW-9 luminescent mass with drawn minute indices. On the lower level of the dial, hourly indexes partly overlap. It is easy to guess that the effect is amazing and perfectly complements the futuristic design of the watch. Even more outside was placed a border rising upwards with the tachymeter markings – the principle of using such a scale was described when reviewing the TC-9 Lunarscope watch:
” The telemetry scale in the watch allows to determine the distance from a given event with the help of light and sound that we see and hear . If you start the chronograph in a time when we see the light of lightning and stop when you hear the thunder- a seconds hand will point at which the distance from the place where we are is struck by lightning.”


The blue hands are rocket-shaped and, like the indices, are of great quality. Inside they are filled with white BGW-9 luminescent mass. These are the most interesting hands I’ve ever seen on my watch, and they fit perfectly into the entire project.

From above, the watch is closed by slightly doomed sapphire glass with internal anti-reflection. This is the first doomed glass that I don’t like … and all because of the degree to which it is doomed – too much that it has flat qualities and not enough to lookdoomed and it looks somehow artificial. Just flat glass would be more suitable for this watch.

Because the dial has a lot of elements filled with luminescent mass glowing in blue, the watch looks interesting in the dark. Luma shines brightly but as it’s with the blue color is not as durable as green – time on the watch can be read until the morning, but the coolest effect ends quickly and in a short time from strongly glowing it becomes visible only in almost complete darkness.

Case back

The case back, just like the case, is made of titanium, is screwed on and has an pressed X-15 shape in the middle. The embossed surface is brushed and the embossing is very convex – the place where the pilot’s cabin is located will have 2mm more than the embossing background. When I take off my watch after a few hours of wearing, the trace of the plane is imprinted on my hand … fortunately it does not affect in any way on the comfort of wearing the watch. I love case backs like this! I always appreciate producers who apply even such detail on the back of the watch.

Bracelet, straps

I read the opinion on foreign forums that the design of the bracelet is a dragon scale … although I associate the whole watch with a modern plane. The important thing is that it just looks great. It fits perfectly with the material of which it was made – titanium, I think that if it was steel there would be no such effect. It’s interesting how it adheres to the case – a full endlink holds between the lugs at a specific angle, in addition it is rounded in the upper part towards the bottom … It’s hard to describe, it’s best to see it in the photo.

Although the lugs are not somehow too short, due to this specific endlink, putting on a bracelet on this watch was a real hassle. The bracelet sits very tightly at the case, the bracelet in Zelos Mako was tight as well, but here the additional difficulty was the sharp angle at which the endlink was placed.
The links of the bracelet are fastened together with screws, they are easily unscrewed, so shortening it was no longer such a problem as fixing it.

The bracelet is 22mm wide (as much as the case between the lugs) and unfortunately does not narrow towards the clasp. It’s a pity, in my opinion tapering bracelets look better and are more comfortable than those with a constant width. Here, in addition to the fact that it is 22mm, the clasp is also very wide and additionally takes some comfort. And it’s to fasten that I have the only real complaints when it comes to this watch … the clasp is too wide. If you look at the wrist first at the case and then turn the wrist so that you can see the clasp, then its disproportionate width immediately catches the eye. And it didn’t have to be this way, I had a lot of watches with a bracelet in which the clasp had practically the same width as the bracelet. The second problem of the clasp is the fact that it has a fast closing mechanism that doesn’t close … I don’t know why it was used in this fastener at all, there is nothing to be deluded that someone will dive with this watch. In fact, this is not a closing mechanism, but just a gap between 2 parts of the clasp that catches the eye each time I look at the wrist from below. It would be much more useful for micro regulation, which is not in this clasp!

The set includes 2 straps: black and brown. Zelos, after lousy straps from the first models, started working with the well-known American manufacturer of straps – Horween Leather – and they definitely did it for good. The straps are of good quality, unfortunately in my opinion they do not fit this watch very much, it is much better on the bracelet, so on my hand they were not even used.

Summary

The watch has been well designed, it cannot be denied individuality in any way, as with any Zelos. Everything fits together perfectly and if it wasn’t for the lack of narrowing of the bracelet and the underdeveloped clasp, the watch would be virtually flawless. However, the price may be a problem; for the quartz version with a meteorite dial you have to pay about 3,000 PLN, while the version with an automatic movement costs almost 6,000 PLN …

At this price, however, we get a lot – a well-made watch with a titanium case and bracelet, a dial made of a meteorite, a unique, interesting design … In fact, if someone likes this watch, then there will be no replacements. Zelos ZX does not pretend anything and is not a secondary edition of the usual patterns.

Konrad

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