Zelos HammerHead Specifications
- 316L Stainless Steel
- Ceramic Bezel Insert
- 44mm case diameter
- 49mm lug to lug
- 17mm height including domed sapphire crystal
- 22mm lug width
- 1000m water resistant
- Seiko NH35 automatic movement
Pre-order price $399-$459 USD base models (up to $300 higher after pre-order)
Micro-brand dive watches these days can sometimes be a dime a dozen in appearance. Simply put outside of the branding many times there just isn’t much difference or uniqueness. Now, just because many dive watches utilize the same type of designs watch guys see every day doesn’t mean those micro-brand dive watches are bad, rather they are sometimes just a bit stale. How many of you desire something that doesn’t look like every other dive watch on the market? I know I’m constantly looking for something even just slightly different. It is always refreshing and a pleasure to discuss a new release from a micro-brand watch company especially when it doesn’t look like every other watch or dive style watch on the market. Some of my colleagues have had numerous opportunities to see first-hand the quality coming out of Zelos Watches. For me, until now I was just like everyone else reading our articles and getting a very good overall impression of the brand.
Zelos is releasing a new model named the Hammerhead which is currently available at a great pre-order price of $399 USD for stainless and $459 USD bronze. These prices are for the base dial models only. The Hammerhead model falls in line with what I was mentioning at the very beginning as it presents a rather unique case design while ensuring consumers will receive similar great specifications found on many micro-brand dive watches. Everyone needs to keep in mind the prices are going to be significantly higher at some point. The pre-order price for any of the models is outstanding especially the bronze models. Models with the meteorite dials are priced slightly higher during the pre-order phase. I say right now all are a great value which I’m certain you will feel the same after reading and watching my video on one of the base model PROTOTYPES.
I’ve reviewed prototypes before and normally it is very clear I’m looking at a prototype. Outside of the case blemishes and sterile case back I almost wouldn’t think I was looking at a prototype if I hadn’t been told. The owner of Zelos advised me up front that the areas that will see marked improvement once the production models are released are that the bezel will be much more firm, the lume will be improved (oh my), buckle difference and some other minor non-watch related extras.
Let’s start out by looking at the case. See anything different? I sure do. It isn’t the typical off the shelf cookie cutter type case! Thank goodness and how refreshing. The case reminds me somewhat of a turtle shell with all the different angles and variations in color/finishing. The closest I’ve seen on the market to a case with this style of an angular design are certain models release by VDB. The big differences are the Zelos is quite comfortable and will not break the bank. Typically, I’m not a fan of high polished cases or components at all. Nothing marks up quicker than a high polished case and unless you are really good at removing the blemish, you are just stuck with them. However, the case being split 50/50 high polished/brushed, has a certain aesthetic appeal, don’t you think?
I’ve had a few people ask about the crown placement and the snub lugs in relation to the overall comfort when wearing the watch. I will tell you exactly what I have told anyone that has asked about those aspects. The watch is extremely comfortable, period. The crown is extremely over-sized and placement anywhere else on the case might cause for some wrist discomfort. The current position sits perfectly around the break of the wrist and it looks outstanding regardless. So what about the snub lugs? If you like lugs that hang over the edge of the wrist, then simply put you will probably not like the Hammerhead. The design allows for the watch to sit as it should on the flat surface of your wrist. Of course, I have a 7 ¾ inch wrist so results may vary based on wrist size. Last but not least, sitting atop the case is a nice thick bezel. I’m not going to spend much time at all on the bezel outside of noting two specific areas. The thickness will allow for easy grasping and rotation. It is also slathered with lume for all those lume junkies out there. Quite simply a solid bezel as it is and once it is tightened up come production models, thumbs up!
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I do not like domed sapphire crystals. Personal preference as some may really like them. I don’t like them just because taking photographs and videos can be troublesome, but also because they distort the dial at certain angles. I guess they can provide some justice for smaller dials making them not appear so small, so maybe that is an added benefit. I would just simply prefer a plain flat sapphire crystal on almost any watch.
Do you want some lume? Well, never fear the Hammerhead prototype is loaded with it. The lume on the crown face is cool though somewhat gimmicky. The C3 Superluminova and BGW9 lume on the dial is absolutely stunning even on the prototype. These luminous areas are supposed to be improved by the time the production models land, OH MY!! Besides the slathering of lume all over the dial and bezel which I have to admit I’m really drawn to this time, I am pleased with the clean uncluttered dial as only the Zelos logo and water resistance are present. All the dial options are going to look fantastic especially the meteorite dials. I hope to see one of those in person.
Powering the Hammerhead is the Seiko NH35 automatic movement. The Seiko NH35 has become quite a popular movement over the last few years especially with the shortage and wait time for obtaining the even more popular Miyota 9015. While I prefer the Miyota 9015, I have found the NH35 to be rather reliable even though I like the smoother sweep of the Miyota 9015 or a nice Swiss automatic. The NH35 also helps in keeping the overall cost down for consumers so we all just need to deal with the fact we are going to see this movement used more and more going forward.
The last few features I will cover briefly are the bracelet and the outstanding canvas strap. Who are the bracelet guys? Can’t see your hands but I’m not much of a bracelet guy any longer personally. Outside of the outstanding bracelets found on Breitling and certain Fortis watches the ratcheting clasp bracelet might be the best. The ratcheting micro-adjustments quite simply makes it super easy to obtain that precise fit on the wrist, as well as, allowing for slight adjustments without having to use a tool. Kudos on the bracelet Zelos! Who are the strap guys? Can’t see your hands either…..LOL. Some of you that know me understand my love for custom straps. I have owned a wide variety of custom straps over the years ranging from $50 to $300 which includes some canvas straps. The canvas strap provided with the Hammerhead prototype rivals any canvas strap I have ever owned. I’m not saying it is better but strap guys will not be one bit disappointed. Top quality feel, leather backed and great stitch work are a few of the quality features you will get with the provided canvas strap. I’m not certain if the bronze models will have a bracelet option or not but my guess would be no and that those will come with just a rubber and canvas strap. Of course, if you are not a bracelet or canvas strap fan just slap a 22mm Isofrane dive strap on the Hammerhead and off you go. The Hammerhead is going to be an outstanding strap watch so change them out constantly.
First time I have ever laid eyes on a Zelos watch up close and personal and I want to applaud Zelos for producing such a high quality watch at such an affordable price. Outstanding prototype!! The Hammerhead will be packed with tons of quality specifications ranging from the solid Seiko automatic movement, unique case design, sapphire crystal, great looking dial options, massive amounts of lume and so on. If Zelos keeps producing quality watches at this sort of price point, they will be a go to micro-brand watch company for years to come. I highly recommend checking out this particular watch model. I would like to thank the Zelos Watches for providing their precious prototype.