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In the 1960s and 1970s, the fashion was for sporty chronographs in sturdy cases. Some of the most renowned racers and teams of the day regularly seen sporting Heuer’s iconic Carrera, Monza and Autavia models. However, then, as now, their price points were out of reach of many average enthusiasts, giving rise to what we now refer to as the “Poor Man’s Heuers.”
In addition to their own efforts, Heuer manufactured pieces to be sold at a more affordable price through large retailers like Sears & Roebuck and Zales, under names like Tradition or Baylor. However, other brands also reproduced the look and the feel of Heuer's iconic designs. Sporting the very same Valjoux movements and iconic looks of their Heuer-branded cousins (but at a fraction of the price), these pieces present an exceptional value to the vintage enthusiast.
Considered on its own, Zodiac distinguished itself from its earliest days with some technical feats. They produced flat pocket watches in the 1920s, some of the industry's earliest automatic watches in the 1930s, and power-reserve complications in the 1940s. Today, though, Zodiac is most known for these "Poor Man's Heuers."
These watches have picked up quite a bit of traction in recent years, as collectors realize the value of these stunning and sporty watches. However, they’re perhaps undeserving of the moniker, because their solid cases and dependable movements are the same as those used by Heuer. This one is in excellent condition, with a nicely-sized 36mm case and a beautiful reverse panda dial. Inside beats a venerable Valjoux 7733 hand-wound chronograph movement, giving this watch good looks that are backed up by reliable guts.
A Carrera by any other name at a fraction of the price, a panda-dialed Zodiac chronograph is the epitome of a vintage value proposition.
Chrome case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Valjoux Caliber 7733 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1960s.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing or plating deterioration. Case does have some slight signs of wear, particularly on the top left lug. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and no signs of major discoloration or hand drag. Luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands have aged to a fine even patina over time. Unsigned crown. Zodiac-signed case back shows some signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 19mm black leather rally style strap and two 19mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle