Zodiac Aerospace Jet a nice surprise (AWW 20)
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  1. #1
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    Zodiac Aerospace Jet a nice surprise (AWW 20)

    Specifications

    Name: Zodiac Hermetic Aerospace Jet
    Movement: Zodiac 721, manual wind, hack set, Swiss Made, 17 jewels, 18,000 bph
    Time display: 24 hour, minute, sweep seconds
    Date: no
    Case: solid stainless steel with snap case back
    Size: 33 mm diameter without crown, 36 mm with crown, lug to lug 40 mm
    Height: 9 mm
    Face: black, white even hour numbers, 24 on top, red odd hour markers, white minute markers
    Text on dial: [Zodiac logo], Zodiac, Hermetic, Aerospace Jet, T Swiss T
    Text on back: [Zodiac logo], Zodiac, antimagnetic, water-resistant, [fish logo], shock-resistant, Swiss Made
    Hands and markers: silver lumed hour and minute hands, narrow silver seconds hand, lumed even hour markers
    Water-resistance: water resistant
    Crown: main at 3
    Crystal: domed mineral crystal
    Lug: 18 mm
    Bracelet: leather strap with buckle


    Foreword

    This is small anniversary edition of AWW – Afka’s Weekly Watch – number 20. Today we have here popular and loved Zodiac 24h Jet, which is known as “Aerospace Jet” or “Jet Astronaut”. I decided to look at Zodiac today because some days ago djspite published gorgeous pictures of his 24h collection and said

    Quote Originally Posted by djspite View Post
    I think the biggest "surprise" like out of the bunch is that Zodiac .. it's a very sharp looking watch (if a bit small).
    I fully agree with djspite.

    You can find these Jets often in ebay and the prices are usually between USD 200 and 500 depending on condition. I got mine for USD 285 (incl shipping).

    Comments

    In the official Zodiac history one of the company’s milestones is:

    The Aerospace Jet, a true 24h watch, was introduced in 1962.
    Jet is the only true 24h watch by Zodiac I’ve seen. If you are interested in Zodiac watches then valuable resource is vintagezodiacs.com, containing own forum for Zodiac fans.

    In Vintage Zodiacs picture gallery you can see, that in the 60s this 24h watch was introduced without any model name on the dial at all. Later the watch got name “Jet Aerospace”. And after a while the watch was renamed to “Aerospace Jet”.

    Vintagezodiacs.com owner Butch commented:

    My guess for something like this is that there was some sort of brand infringement issue raised to them forcing Zodiac to change the name. Companies normally do no mess with an established brand. Just a guess mind you.
    I have to add, that another popular watch by Zodiac named aerospace – Aerospace GMT – is absolutely different model than Aerospace Jet. Aerospace GMT is 12h watch with 4th 24h GMT hand and equipped with automatic movement.

    When and why the name was changed is not documented anywhere. My guess is that name change happened in 1968. This is based on two documented Zodiac Jet purchases, bot recommended to read.

    1. Aerospace Jet was already available in 1968 - Les Annonces de La Cote des Montres : Montre Zodiac Aerospace Jet de 1968 - Annonce N 83690
    2. Jet Aeronaut was still available in 1969 - Jet Aeronaut (24 Hour)

    Zodiac Jet was also a popular military watch during the Vietnam era and 3rd recommended reading is here - Zodiac Jet Aeronaut in military museum.

    So as you see, this lovely watch exists in 3 generations – noname, Jet Aeronaut and Aerospace Jet – and in all generations you had a black or white dial option. Noname Jets are the very rare, and then comes Jet Aeronaut and Aerospace Jet is the last and most common.

    My watch had marks on the crystal (not a big deal with acrylic crystal) and unfortunately on the case back too. There is a nice zodiac fish on the case back, which was almost ruined. Vintage Zodiac models had zodiac signs on the case back (I’ve seen on different Zodiac models scales and fish).



    On the case back is written that it is antimagnetic, water resistant, shock-resistant and Swiss Made. On the inner side of case back stands: Acier inoxydable, Zodiac W. Ltd., Le Locle Swiss, 758. (acier inoxydable = stainless steel)

    Small Le Locle (about 10,000 inhabitants) where Zodiac was located is Swiss watchmaking industry birthplace and UNESCO world heritage site (because of watchmaking, of course).

    Interesting, that this watch has snap case back. “Hermetic” on the dial indicates, that this is a reliable water protected watch. The Zodiac’s specialty was water resistant snap case backs. Even famous SeaWolf used by Navy Seals had snap case back.

    I thought that for sure after 40 years the water resistance is gone, and I decided to go to watchmaker and test the residual water resistance. I was right. The first testing machine indicated that the water resistance is gone. There was some very little “hermetic” left, but below any reasonable threshold.

    The result was expected and because of time we didn’t test this Zodiac on another waterproof tester to examine exactly which part of the watch is not waterproof anymore – crystal, case back or crown. This was first time for me to see these waterproof testers and I was learning something new again. These testing machines are like watches. You can buy one for about USD 200 (China Made), or if you need a “Rolex Waterproof Tester” then USD 1,500-2,500. And you can even find some vintage waterproof testers in auctions. Interesting, are vintage waterproof testers waterproof?

    The movement has following signatures:
    Seventeen 17 jewels
    Zodiac Ltd
    721 ( Zodiac 721 is actually FHF 72 made for Zodiac)
    Unadjusted
    Swiss
    KXF (US import code for Zodiac and Clebar)
    [FHF logo] 72 (signed under the balance)

    The movement is still very stable and keeping time accurately. (Note: this movement with the same 721 number was also available as 12h movement.)

    It is hard to explain, why it is so, but this watch is very nice to wear. I have several military-type 24h watches from 60s and 70s and for sure Zodiac is one I’m wearing most.

    Summary


    This watch is not as famous as some other Zodiac’s like SeaWolf, SST (split second timing) and Astrographic, but still very nice small watch. Jets are easy to find, and if you have patience you can get it for a good price. Wear it, but don’t swim J

    Last edited by Afka; June 16th, 2013 at 21:16.
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  2. #2
    heb
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    Re: Zodiac Aerospace Jet a nice surprise (AWW 20)

    Nice example of a vintage Zodiac. I remember Zodiac having very nice watches up until about the mid-70's and the quartz crisis. There was the iconic Sea Wolf, if I remember the name correctly, some attractive aviation pieces and even beautiful dress style chronometers.

    heb

  3. #3
    Moderator 24 hour watches forum l3wy's Avatar
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    Re: Zodiac Aerospace Jet a nice surprise (AWW 20)

    Such a simple gorgeous dial. 2nd only to my Elgin in readability and much prettier :) It's funny that two of my smaller watches are the quickest to read at a glance.

    You don't see the white dial version very often, although I did find a few pictures on google.

    Anyway, a great looking watch :), very versatile... can definitely pull it off as a dress watch with a nice strap, or something you can wear for everyday... with a less nice strap or nato :)

    There was someone selling a black dialed on with bracelet on mwrforum.net earlier this month, no idea if it's still actually available.

  4. #4
    Moderator 24 hour watches forum l3wy's Avatar
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    Re: Zodiac Aerospace Jet a nice surprise (AWW 20)

    Wearing mine today.. put it on an odd looking Hirsh strap.. I think it's supposed to look like carbon fiber... bought it (the strap) as part of a lot someone was selling and it's mostly just been sitting in a drawer. Not sure if I really like it on this strap.. but it's slightly better than the nato I had it on .. need to find another black strap with red stitching :)

    Great looking watch :)

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  5. #5
    Member jmh86325's Avatar
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    Re: Zodiac Aerospace Jet a nice surprise (AWW 20)

    Quote Originally Posted by djspite View Post

    There was someone selling a black dialed on with bracelet on mwrforum.net earlier this month, no idea if it's still actually available.
    That would be me...no interest was shown, so because I'm on a grail hunt...had to put it on the Bay (ends on 6/23)...this is one of three I've sold and the far best example I have ever had...pictures speak for themselves IMG_3881 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    Last edited by jmh86325; June 20th, 2013 at 04:32.
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