Zodiac 605

dmg1969

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So, I inherited one of my Dad's watches when he passed away recently. It is a Zodiac triple-date moonphase. As far as I can tell, the model number is a 605 and it has a 12S movement. According to the information on his computer, he bought while in the Navy in '49 or early 50s. I'm not sure if he bought it from a shipmate or in port somewhere.

I am trying to learn more about this particular model of watch and have only come across a photo of one other identical to it online...in the Gallery on vintagezodiacs.com. However, the site admin says some of the images were uploaded years ago, so it is unknown whose watch it was. The main differencesfrom similar watches are that, on this watch, the odd numerals are replaced by dot markers, the word Zodiac appears under the day of week and month indicators and a different forum member said that the numerals are lumed (luminous)

Have any of you run across this particular watch?

Zodiac 2.jpg 20210308_193315.jpg 20210308_192238.jpg 20210308_193233.jpg
 

roughbarked

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605 seems odd. The Zodiac 1100 was powered by the ETA 1100 movement pictured.

The Zodiac 605 was powered by the FHF 605, which being a ladies size watch and having no calendar mechanism.

Looking at your images I see that the 605 you got was from the case back and the real claiber number is the 128 in the rectangle on the train bridge.
Now Zodiac did have a general tendency to use the caliber number from the maker of the movement as seen above.
Though clearly the movement is from the ETA 1080 series.
On further investigation the ETA 1287 may have had the calender module attached on some versions?

Why not look under the balance wheel for the stampings that ETA should have put there.

If you go to Ranfft and type Zodiac into the search panel, you will observe what I am referring to.
 
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dmg1969

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605 seems odd. The Zodiac 1100 was powered by the ETA 1100 movement pictured.

The Zodiac 605 was powered by the FHF 605, which being a ladies size watch and having no calendar mechanism.

Looking at your images I see that the 605 you got was from the case back and the real claiber number is the 128 in the rectangle on the train bridge.
Now Zodiac did have a general tendency to use the caliber number from the maker of the movement as seen above.
Though clearly the movement is from the ETA 1080 series.
On further investigation the ETA 1287 may have had the calender module attached on some versions?

Why not look under the balance wheel for the stampings that ETA should have put there.

If you go to Ranfft and type Zodiac into the search panel, you will observe what I am referring to.
Thanks for the reply and information, roughbarked. Should those markings be something that I can see with a jeweler's loupe without removing anything. I would be comfortable doing anything more than removing the case back like I already did.

Dave
 

glenhead

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Yup, the base movement is an ETA 1100. One of my customers has one of these. His says "1100" in the rectangle; other than that the movements are the same. All the calendar functions are stacked on top of the 1100 movement in the module you can see in the bottom picture of the link that Dave provided in post #3. It's a pretty nifty solution to add a lot of complications to an otherwise simple movement. I can't find any discussion about where the 128 comes from.

Here's a shot of my customer's watch. He bought it in the mid 1960s when he was on deployment in Viet Nam. You can see the blobs of luminous goo at the markers. I would have added a picture of the movement, but mine are all out of focus - I first worked on this one very early in my career.

tdmp_front.jpg

Here's a horribly-out-of-focus shot of the movement. My camera apparently decided my thumb was more important. You can see that the layout is identical to yours and the one on Dr. Ranfft's site.

tdmp_mvt.jpg

This is one of those watches that will drive a watchmaker completely batty. The clearances on the hands are insanely close, and even a tiny bit of drift in all the wheels will make the hands catch on each other, the markers, or the dial. Other than that, after my usual job of an overhaul it runs beautifully. Neat watch! It'll make a great keepsake.

Glen
 

dmg1969

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Thanks for the replies. I'm still baffled as to why I can only find one other example that is exactly like this one. I just found one other that is very similar, but the numerals (particularly the 4) are different. The 4 on the one I just found is rounded whereas the 4 on mine is squared. Other than that, it has the dots in place of the odd numerals and has the same movement marked 12S.

So, is this truly an ETA 1100 movement and, if so, why is it marked 12S? Was that done at Zodiac's request? I looked with a loupe last night and didn't see anything. I'm going to take another look today as I found a website that indicates that I may have been looking in the wrong location.
 

glenhead

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Good grief, that does say 12S, not 128. My bad.

That's a 12 ligne movement, sometimes shown as 12''' (that's with three apostrophes). That's the diameter of the movement. An S for the movement size (common in American pocket watches) is a different measure. 12''' = 4/0S = 27.07mm = 1.07 inches. As a comparison, a 12S pocket watch movement (aka 17-3/4''') is 40mm/1.6 inches in diameter.

My bet is that Zodiac custom-ordered the 1100 from ETA with the 12S designation for use with the calendar module. My customer's later version of the watch hints that Zodiac quit paying for the custom engraving at some point and left it at 1100.

There's another version of the TDMP that has an auto-winding movement. It's based on another movement. While it's still a really cool watch, it's much thicker. In my opinion yours is more elegant.

Glen
 

John Arrowood

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Could it be that Zodiac had a contract with military post/base exchanges to furnish watches for purchase by military personnel and made a few hundred watches that were different from their usual products? Somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain I think I saw that watches sold in military exchanges were different from the usual products. The military personnel would have been a large market since nearly every male who wasn't deferred from it was drafted or enlisted in a branch of the services. I know from personal experience that at age 22 I got my notice to appear at the local draft board for physical examination before enlistment.
 

dmg1969

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Glen, don't feel bad. I was searching for 128 in the beginning of all of this research too. Somewhere along the line, someone mentioned a 12S movement and I took a closer look and felt like I had spent hours of wasted time.

John, I guess that would be a possibility. His photos indicated that he bought it while on board ship in '49 but it didnt specify if it was at the ship store, on base or in port somewhere.

Thanks both.
 

roughbarked

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Good grief, that does say 12S, not 128. My bad.

That's a 12 ligne movement, sometimes shown as 12''' (that's with three apostrophes). That's the diameter of the movement. An S for the movement size (common in American pocket watches) is a different measure. 12''' = 4/0S = 27.07mm = 1.07 inches. As a comparison, a 12S pocket watch movement (aka 17-3/4''') is 40mm/1.6 inches in diameter.

My bet is that Zodiac custom-ordered the 1100 from ETA with the 12S designation for use with the calendar module. My customer's later version of the watch hints that Zodiac quit paying for the custom engraving at some point and left it at 1100.

There's another version of the TDMP that has an auto-winding movement. It's based on another movement. While it's still a really cool watch, it's much thicker. In my opinion yours is more elegant.

Glen
12S eh. Had me fooled too Glen. ;)
What you also had to say about hand clearance.
Now don't get me wrong, I believe the ETA 1080 series was one of the nicest watches around and it was used by Rolex in their Tudor range.
However it had a weakness and that was no jewel on the bottom plate for the centre wheel. This would have shown up in these calendar watches and would over time require a jewel to be fitted there. A job I have done several times. So if you ever see one with a jewel fitted there, it could be one of my repairs.
 

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