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The Zelos Experimental (ZX) Series is our very first Automatic Chronograph. Having produced and delivered thousands of watches to satisfied customers, we wanted to offer something beyond our usual lineup.
The ZX series draws inspiration from the X-Plane Project which pushed the boundaries of aviation technology. Famous examples of this project includes the X-1, the first supersonic aircraft and the X-15, the fastest manned aircraft.
Like the X-Plane project, we aim to push the boundaries of watchmaking with the use of Titanium Damascus and a limited edition titanium dial made from the SR-71 Blackbird.
We wanted the ZX series of chronographs to pay tribute to the X-Plane project. The first case drawings drew inspiration from the X-15. The stubby, angular lugs of the ZX timepiece are reminiscent of the X-15's wings. The short lug length of 49mm makes it comfortable to wear for any wrist size, despite the seemingly large 43mm diameter.
The dials were influenced by the chronographs of the 1960s when the X-15 project was conceived. These dials were given a modern twist with the use of applied indices and subdials. A 2-layer dial is created to offer a sandwich effect, and this lower layer is painted with BGW9 luminous paint. We aim to achieve the brightest glow possible through the use of BGW9 lume, with some models having fully lumed subdials as well.
The 'Rocket' shaped hands and 'Nozzle' crown are custom designed to complete the entire timepiece. These touches are what sets the ZX series apart from other timepieces.
Materials were also an important consideration when designing this timepiece. Titanium is an important material used in high performance aircraft and we wanted to use this for a case. It offers a wearer increased comfort due to its light weight without any loss in strength. We also chose to brush and polish the titanium case, resulting in an elegant look to titanium instead of its usual matte sandblasted finish. Ceramic bezels are available on certain models due to its high hardness as bezels tends to encounter the most abuse. A first for the industry is a Titanium Damascus case and an actual dial made from SR-71 titanium. Do scroll down for more information about these amazing materials.
We wanted to offer a timepiece that will be different for each and every piece. Marine grade bronze is a metal commonly used for ship propellers due to its corrosion resistance. An oxide layer, called a patina, forms a protective skin over time to protect the metal. This patina individualises each timepiece, creating pieces completely unique to you. What starts out as a shiny rose-gold, ages with the atmosphere into a rustic brown.
Meteorite is also offered on a dial, making your watch one-of-a-kind. This amazing metal is 4.5 billion years old with a striking design unlike any other material. Each and every meteorite dial has a different pattern, otherwise known as the Widmanstatten Pattern. This is formed over millions of years of slow cooling, and cannot be reproduced synthetically. We use material from the Muonionalusta meteorite which is found in Sweden and landed over a million years ago.
The legendary SR-71 Blackbird. It holds the record for being the fastest jet aircraft in the world and it has never been shot down, simply outrunning any other aircraft or missile threats. It was able to cruise at over 3 times the speed of sound and this in turn generated extremely high temperatures. To solve this, titanium was used extensively throughout the entire aircraft.
We are excited to announce the ZX-8 Limited Edition with an actual mission flown SR-71 Titanium dial. The dial has the original finish from the actual part and we have deliberately left all the marks, scratches and leftover paint on the dial. Hence, each and every dial will be different. The titanium for this dial is CNC cut from a 'turkey feather' of an SR-71 and it was changed during regular maintenance. This was obtained from Daniel Freeman, Supervisor and Chief of Metals Technology for the 9th Reconnaissance Wing. Through his career he has worked on the SR-71 Blackbird, U-2 Dragonlady, KC-135Q Stratotanker, and T-38 Talon aircraft.
Creating a dial from such incredible material proved extremely difficult. The titanium is a Grade 6 alloy, much tougher than the usual brass that most dials are made from. We had to CNC cut the dials to size using carbide cutters, incurring much more cost and time as compared to stamping a dial from a brass blank. The next issue was getting the dial down to a required thickness of 0.4mm instead of its original 0.7mm. We wanted to preserve the original finish of the titanium, hence grinding it on only one side caused an uneven surface which was not ideal for a watch dial. After numerous and expensive failed attempts, we finally created the first SR-71 Titanium dial.
We are proud to introduce the very FIRST watch case made from Titanium damascus. This amazing material is made from two different titanium alloys which are forged together under tremendous heat and pressure. Once this material is forged and machined to our highest tolerances, it is heated to approximately 400°C to bring out the brilliant colors. This layered effect and colors vary slightly across all watch cases.
Ti-Damascus is extremely expensive due to the amount of work that goes into forging it. Machining the material also involves high tool wear compared to regular titanium due to the alternating alloys and varying hardness.
The ZX Automatics are powered by the proven and reliable Swiss made Valjoux 7750 movement. The 7750 has seen decades of service in Swiss watches from the $1000-$10000 range. This will come in Elabore grade which offers a great view from the back.
We are also offering theZX series in a Seiko Mechaquartz movement. This is meant to make it more accessible in terms of price, as some might find a Swiss 7750 too rich for their budgets. A Mechaquartz movement runs off a Quartz crystal, but combines mechanical chronograph module. This means that the chrono second hand sweeps smoothly, along with a sharp reset function just like you would find in the 7750.
The ZX series deserves a strap to match, and we settled for only the best leathers.
Each strap is made from Horween Chromexel leather which offers plenty of 'pullup'. Horween is the oldest leather tannery in the USA and produces the best leathers using techniques dating back a 100 years. This leather will patina with use and will showcase plenty of character.
Size: 43mm Diameter. 16mm Height. 49mm Lug to Lug
Water Resistance: 100m.
Watch case: CUSN8 Marine Bronze or Titanium Case - Mirror polished edges and Brushed Sides.
Ceramic Bezel (Selected models only): Zirconium Oxide 1500 Vickers hardness.
Movement: Swiss ETA 7750 Elabore Grade or Seiko VK67 Mechaquartz.
Crystal: Domed Sapphire Crystal with inner AR coating. Sapphire crystal caseback.
Dial: Multi Layered filled with BGW9 lume.
Strap: Horween Leather
Warranty: 1 Year.
A- Swiss 7750 Automatic Movement
Q- Seiko Mechaquartz Movement
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Risks and challenges
Having completed many production runs of watches, we have anticipated any delays that might arise during production.
We have reliable suppliers who ensure that the watches delivered are of the best quality, although this sometimes come at the expense of time. However, this attention to quality is extremely important to us as other suppliers might be quicker to deliver an inferior product. We hope you guys agree with our beliefs!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)