Earlier this week, Elshan Tang's Zelos Watches launched pre-sales for the Hammerhead, an aggressively styled, automatic diver's watch with some truly exceptional options. I have not laid hands on one, but having reviewed the Zelos Helmsman, Chroma, and Abyss, I've got a good feel for the company's quality, and no reservations about recommending them. The Hammerhead looks like yet another winner.
Micro brands seem to take one of two approaches when building their model lines. The first treats each watch as a unique piece, experimenting with different styles and creating a great variety of looks. The second approaches each new watch as an extension of an overarching theme, incorporating similar design cues throughout the line that will identify each was being part of the brand. Elshan is clearly traveling the second route, for even as he experiments with new architecture and materials, the results are unmistakably Zelos.
Like other Zelos divers, the Hammerhead has a large, chunky case with a sculpted form, but where other models have used round cases with scalloped or cut away sides, this one is a substantial cushion with multiple facets creating an elongated octagonal shape. It measures 44mm wide, 49mm long, and a towering 17.5mm tall to the top of its domed, anti-reflective sapphire crystal. A fat, deeply grooved, screw-down crown occupies the 4 o'clock position. It promises to be a commanding piece. Water resistance is an impressive 1000m. Interestingly for such a deep diver, there is no helium release valve (HRV), and I think this is a good thing as they are only necessary for commercial saturation diving. Their popularity on most dive watches as of late has more to do with fashion than function. The movement is the tried and true Seiko NH35 automatic (24 jewels, 21.6k bph).
In typical Zelos style, the dial is a two layered affair, with a brushed sunray effect on the primary layer and tall applied hour markers. The outer layer carries the minute track and is entirely coated in BGW9 lume. Its semi-skeletonized hands, engraved bezel, and hour markers are C3 SuperLuminova, as is the signed crown – a feature first seen on the new NTH. Is this a new micro brand trend? I certainly hope so. It is a mighty cool detail.
The Hammerhead is available in a brushed stainless steel or bronze case. Stainless versions come standard on a 22mm chiseled link bracelet secured with a push-button clasp with a wetsuit extension, while the bronze ships on a rubber strap. Both feature a 120-click unidirectional timing bezel with a square-toothed edge.
Now, as we get into the colors and options, things get really interesting. Both steel and bronze versions are offered with a ceramic bezel insert (Zirconium Oxide, by the way, with a hardness rating of about 1500 Vickers). The bronze models also offer an all bronze bezel. The steel case can be had with a bezel of stunning Damascus steel, created by a process of folding and forging that forms an intense wood grain like pattern through the metal.
You may choose from blue, black or grey dials, but the truly adventurous might opt for meteorite. Yes, the kind that falls from the sky. This one is from the Muonionalusta meteorite in Sweden known for its unique Widmanstatten Patterns, formed over millions of years of slow cooling.
Zelos is staging pre-orders in batches of 20. As each batch sells out the price will increase by $30. The Hammerhead is currently going for $430, or $599 for the Meteorite and Damascus specials. For information, or to order your own, visit ZelosWatches.com.
Photos courtesy of Zelos Watches