The former Swiss watchmaking brand Zodiac, which is currently owned by the American-based Fossil, has revealed another timepiece of dubious concept. The new Zodiac ZMX 03 chronograph delivers a puzzling combination of a deliberately oversized body with a deceptively rugged look, which is not supported by either increased water resistance or extra shock or magnetic protection. Also, for a fashion gadget powered by a mundane, throwaway-type quartz mechanism, the price tag that it wears seems unreasonably, even ridiculously high.
Looking like a strange product of crossbreeding between a diver’s and a driver’s watch, the new Zodiac ZMX-03 one eye chronograph still tries to justify its price with a more ‘expensive’ look and a list of nice features, the latter including a scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. Other ‘nice’ touches include a solid case back cover with an engraved Zodiac logo and a comfortable black rubber strap.
As usual in this segment, the ZMX 03 is powered by a Swiss-made Ronda STARTECH quartz movement with a big date, central chronograph second hand, and a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Trying to look as sporty as possible (and also utilizing lots of vacant real estate), the gadget also features a pair of oversized Arabic numerals and extra-wide hour and minute hand with the latter colored in a shade of orange.
However, while trying to make the dial more useful, guys from Zodiac seem to overdo it a little. Although the huge case that awkwardly combines satin-finished stainless steel and black rubber measure an impressive 50 millimeters in diameter, there is still not enough air on the black dial.
The huge hands together with an unnecessarily huge bezel flange and the pair of numerals of gargantuan proportions make the dial look as small as a needle’s eye, not a porthole that it actually is.
Its main problem, though, is that you can’t really tell its purpose.
As you can see, the American-born timekeeper with the sacred “Swiss Made” lettering at the bottom of its dial has all the DNA parts of a diving watch: it sports a thick black rubber strap, as well as rubberized crowns and push-pieces, and its larger than life hour and minute hands are easily read however bad the lighting conditions are.
On the other hand, the “diver” is rated for only 110 meters and it lacks the usual diving bezel, which is in this case (for a reason that lies beyond my understanding) is equipped with a tachymeter scale that, let us be honest here, simply looks ridiculous when combined with other elements of design.
The same goes with the chronograph sub-dial that looks like the third nipple on a male’s breast: it doesn’t serve any useful function and looks awkward, too.
The verdict? Well, it is not a diver’s watch and, with such a simple chronograph and too awkward design, it is not a driver’s watch either. And it doesn’t look rugged enough to wear it in a gym, considering its hefty price of $695.
So, what was the point of this strange watch?
Build Quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 2/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
Zodiac ZMX 03 specification
Price range: $695 (MSRP)
Movement: Ronda STARTECH quartz caliber, Swiss Made
Complications: Big date, chronograph
Power reserve: A couple of years
Case material: Stainless steel and rubber
Diameter: 50.00 mm
Water resistance: 110 meters
Strap: Black caoutchouc rubber
Crystal: Sapphire crystal