Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

Thread: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

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  1. #1
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    Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    I'm not really much of a watch person but recently found a ladies vintage watch for a mere $3.00 Cdn and figured it would be good to wear when I'm out and about.

    I noticed it had a new watch strap and, upon inspection, saw that it was from a jewelry store called Simms Jewelers and that it was stamped 'genuine java lizard'. Hmmmm... this was a curious thing because the watch is old and the face is really beat up so why would there be a new strap put onto it.

    I googled Zodiac 'Automatic' gold ladies watch and didn't find much and gave up searching. Then, yesterday, I accidently dropped it on the floor (oops) and the back popped off. Since it was off, I grabbed my 10x loop and took a peek. And decided to take some photos as well.

    I'm attaching photos here with all the details... 17 jewel, inside stamp with 18k 0.750, as well as some hand-scribed numbers that I suppose were for insurance purposes (?). I'm pretty sure the images are clear enough to make out all the details.

    The watch is keeping excellent time and since I suspect it's of fair quality, I'm wondering how easy it would be to have the face replaced. Thanks for any information you can provide. The face of the watch is not as bad as the photo. Not foggy at all, just very scratched and scratches not so visible when reading the time.
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    Last edited by Beansgood; December 7th, 2010 at 21:31. Reason: small addition

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    You have a solid gold case watch... probably from the 60's. Just the gold is worth about ten to twenty times what you paid for it. The hand scribed numbers are watchmaker codes indicating which repair job this watch was. The crystal can be easily replaced. The dial itself looks fine and, if changed, will devalue the watch.

    Zodiac is still around. They made many nice watches and this is one of them! Nice find! If you are going to wear it much, when you are getting the crystal replaced, get a service and water resistance test... This will assure the watch will continue to tick in time for many years.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  3. #3
    Member Niccolo's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    I only have some generic information. It's an 18 karat watch (18k) and the hand inscribed numbers inside the watch case were make by a watchmaker when he serviced it. If you want keep the watch you should get it serviced now, because old oil dries up and the wear and tear increases alot. As for the dial, if you change it you will hurt the watch's originality and value. Also from the photos I think it's the crystal that's scratched, not the dial. The crystal can easily be polished.
    Cataratas do Iguaçu, Brazil => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9KyiwSscdo

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  5. #4
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Niccolo View Post
    I only have some generic information. It's an 18 karat watch (18k) and the hand inscribed numbers inside the watch case were make by a watchmaker when he serviced it. If you want keep the watch you should get it serviced now, because old oil dries up and the wear and tear increases alot. As for the dial, if you change it you will hurt the watch's originality and value. Also from the photos I think it's the crystal that's scratched, not the dial. The crystal can easily be polished.
    Whoo hoo! SCORE! I live in a rural East Coast (Canadian) area. Moved cross country from the city life to the country life. I have a passion for vintage things. There is a place I frequent that sells all manner of things... the staff don't have a clue on collectibles or their worth. Not that it matters to me the worth. I love to find 'treasures' for pittance. (ie: I recently purchased a 120 gram .925 silver choker of 21 strands of gradating snake chain for $1.50!!) I will look into getting the crystal either polished or replaced. My hubs is convinced it's plastic. I can't wait to tell him that it's not a piece of junk. Thank you, thank you for the information both of you!

  6. #5
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    If I'm reading it correctly, it's a Caliber 46: bidfun-db Zodiac_46: Zodiac 46 (ETA 2550R)

    The crystal is likely a plastic/acrylic, and can either be polished out or replaced without issue. You may find that the dial itself is fine, and that you're just seeing the scratches of the crystal reflected on the dial.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  7. #6
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    If I'm reading it correctly, it's a Caliber 46: bidfun-db Zodiac_46: Zodiac 46 (ETA 2550R)

    The crystal is likely a plastic/acrylic, and can either be polished out or replaced without issue. You may find that the dial itself is fine, and that you're just seeing the scratches of the crystal reflected on the dial.
    Thanks for that. My apologies on my lack of proper terms when referring to the 'face'. As I stated in my opening comment, not really a watch person so, to me, I was meaning the crystal when I said face.

    My hubs told me it was a cheap watch because the crystal was plastic. It made me all the more curious because someone went to the trouble to put a quality strap on it and I had a feeling about the gold. I think it will be worthwhile for me to get the crystal replaced and the watch serviced.

    I have looked closely with my loop at the caliber number and it's definitely a 48 which is not referenced in your provided link.
    Last edited by Beansgood; December 8th, 2010 at 17:07. Reason: added information

  8. #7
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    I can't find any reference to the Zodiac 48 - but the Zodiac 49 is given as an Eta 2365 (in Bestfit): bidfun-db ETA_2365: ETA 2365. Which is 1959 - 1967. So the chances are yours is early to mid 1960's.

    Acrylic crystals were standard for many years. Sapphire crystals weren't really introduced to watches till around the 80s. I have read that Rolex first used a sapphire crystal in 1970 (corroboration or correction welcome)- but they were not standard, even on high price watches, till much later.

    Lotsa Zodiacs here: Vintage Zodiacs
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  9. #8
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    The problem with glass or sapphire is that you can't create cup shapes with them, only domes. Plastics have been used for ages (pre 1900, I believe), although modern plastics are much harder, and more scratch resistant. My Tissot pocketwatch came with a "Hesalite" crystal, which is form of plexiglass.

    Sapphire crystals are of a mixed value. They're a lot more expensive, and while they're harder to scratch, you'd be surprised at how many modern items contain bits that are harder. A common example is stucco walls. Bang your expensive watch against one of those, and you'll end up with a scratch. They're also fairly brittle, and will shatter if you hit them just the right way. Not that you should be smacking your watch around anyway, but accidents happen.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  10. #9
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    The number on the back of the watch, ending with 63... it is possible that the date of the watch is 1963? I have no idea what those numbers represent. Sorry if it's a stupid question. I think the only 'stupid' question is the one not asked.

    I am a vintage junkie so learning the history of a piece is part of my love for collecting (although I'm not collecting watches...yet). The hunt and getting an item for a very low price is addictive. Now, I just have too much stuff.

  11. #10
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for information on a vintage Zodiac watch

    I don't think there is a list of Zodiac serial numbers on the web. And the current owners of the brand have nothing to do with the original brand and can't tell you for sure. You could be right though.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

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