The Zelos Aurora is not the Singaporean brand’s first field watch, but this is an all-new case design and a new model collection. Built from Grade 2 Titanium, with a hard coating, Miyota 9039 Movement with an antimagnetic cage, a choice of quite a few dial colors and materials, and comes in two sizes as well, 42mm as shown here but also a smaller size at 38mm. As usual, Zelos has produced an amazing-looking watch, fully spec’d out, for a launch price of $429. Unfortuanly, at the time of this review article, the day the watch went live for purchase, most of the variations are already sold out. This Black Granite dial is still available though in 42mm and there is an Ice Blue in 38mm. All others are already showing as sold out, which is quite frankly crazy.
So if you are someone that was anticipating this release and have seen some of the reviews already, including our video review that went live on Saturday, the sample or pre-production pieces that went out to reviewers early, are not exactly the watch you will receive. I found this out after the entire video review was done, and I do apologize, but I was not told this information ahead of time. So, this example does not have the hard coating on it, the sandwich makers should be a little larger on the production pieces and yes as you can see on the case back, this states a Miytota 9015 movement, but it is a Miyota 9039. That one I knew, but apparently there will be an exhibition case back, that one I have not confirmed, but information on this sample model was just not provided as it should have been.
But, the Zelos Aurora customers receive in 4-5 weeks, should still look pretty similar to this model, and though I thought that the scratch resistance wasn’t that good on the case and bracelet, and I was a little flippant when doing photography on video on the aluminum box, thinking it wouldn’t scratch, I still think what I said in the video holds true. A hard coating is still not scratch-proof and will eventually scratch, but should help keep it looking better longer, but this is a $429 watch, not a $2500 Tegimented Sinn, so just know what you are buying.
Okay, enough with all that. So what are you getting with the Zelos Aurora? As I said, this is an all-new case design for Zelos, all brushed Grade 2 titanium, very rugged looking, and very appropriate for a field-style watch. And even though is not a dive watch, you still get 200m of water resistance, a fantastic screw-down crown that stops on a dime when screwing back down, as well as a Faraday cage to help protect the movement from magnetic fields. With all the computers, phones, and other electronics, we have these days that have magnets in them, it is nice to see this in field watch, especially for this price.
The overall design of the Zelos Aurora has been giving me Sinn Vibes, especially the 556 model. Now, I said vibes, not an homage or anything like that, but if you look at the case, especially head on, the crown and crown guards, and combine it with the H-link bracelet, this could be a good alternative for the Sinn, though these dials are a little more out there than what Sinn offers. I chose this black granite dial, which is exactly what it sounds like, it looks like black gravel on your dial, and when the light hits it right, you can see little white and silver specs in it, just like you would with actual gravel.
The dial is also a nice combination of applied and sandwich markers, something a few brands are doing these days, but I do like how Zelos implemented it. The applied indices are your cardinal points, and then you have those cutouts to see the lume dial underneath, and even though this dial is a little out there, it is still a very clean and uncluttered dial, and with the 9039 movements, you do not have a date either, keeping it even cleaner and of course symmetrical.
That dial though, as fun and different as it might be, and then the ones like the Mosaic MOP, are definitely not what I THINK of when I think of a field watch, especially one with a very subdued case and bracelet such as this. I love the case design, I love the lightweight feel (though due to the Faraday cage, this is heavier than most titanium pieces at 150 grams). But Zelos doesn’t like to be average or normal, and has been doing different dial colors and textures and materials for years now, and has become part of their signature. That said, I would love to see a matte black, grey, or olive green dial in future versions. But, that’s me.
On the wrist, the H link bracelet is very comfortable, and a style I absolutely love. This is a large bracelet as well, so this 42mm (I can not comment on the 38mm), is a large bracelet, and I had to remove 4 links (via screws) to fit on my 7 1/2 inch wrist. Now in fairness, all wrists, no matter the size, are shaped differently, so you may get by with 3 links if you have the same size wrist, but either way, there is a new adjustable clasp on this Zelos Aurora. Much like Christopher Ward’s new bracelets, there is a hidden push button inside the dual finish clasp, that allows you to adjust on the fly, though you will have to take the watch off to adjust it, as the extension pretty much locks in place while on your wrist, as it should. The extension mimics the clasp though, and not the links of the bracelet, so it does look a little wonky, but still a nice feature to have.
7 1/2 inch or 19.05cm wrist size
So like I said, apparently there will be an exhibition case back on production models, but I sure hope not. Now, I could be wrong on this, again, the info was not what it should be, but I have seen it out there, that this may be the case. And with these watches selling out so fast, by the time you are reading this, it may not even matter, but I do quite like the case back on these pre-production examples.
Lume is very good, and while it is technically dual lume, the blue on the chapter ring numbers really does fade very fast, so this is not a blue and green light show if you were wondering. That said, you will be able to see the time in the dark for quite a few hours, and of course, for that extra little fun touch, the crown is lume again, you know, in case you need to set the time in the dark and you forget what part of the watch the crown is located on.
As others have been saying, including Elshan himself, this Zelos Aurora really is a spec monster, and all it includes for the launch price of $449 is just insane. While myself and others did not get to check out the actual production models or should I say, properly spec’d samples, and I hope that the hardened models don’t pick up little scratches as quickly as this one, I can’t deny this is a wonderful watch for the price. With them selling out so quickly, hopefully, there will be future versions sometime next year, and I hope, at least, for some more tame dial colors and textures. We will just have to wait and see.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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