I wonder if Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin understood the importance of his early scribblings in 1874. Twenty years later he must certainly have had some notion, as his ideas were patented first in Germany and then in the United States at the century’s close. So successful were his designs, that his surname would become a common noun applied to all rigid bodied airships. Zeppelins, used first commercially and then for war, eventually became associated with luxury air travel, once restrictions on German construction in the treaty of Versailles were lifted in the 1920s.
Transatlantic crossings and subsequent circumnavigations of the globe demonstrated the feat of engineering which was the zeppelin. And the ill-fated Hindenburg was the height of opulence, as well, with its grand public rooms, private state cabins, and two decks of broad esplanades.
POINTtec’s Zeppelin Watches aims to capture some of the old-world cachet with their new Atlantic Automatic GMT. Available in two colourways–the deep rich night-sky blue (featured here), and a sleek silver-dialed variation–the Atlantic GMT certainly makes an impression.
Immediately, you cannot help but be struck by the novelty at the centre of its dial–an enamelled disk featuring a realistic rendering of the Earth. While I wasn’t sure how I felt about this when I first opened the box, after spending several weeks with the Atlantic GMT, I can now say that I find the demi-globe, highlighting the northern hemisphere, quite charming. There is something of the classical age of exploration about it. The rest of the dial has the familiar trappings of a Flieger, but proffered in a slightly elevated fashion. Its stylized, Art Deco logo is very reminiscent of the zeppelin’s Golden Age. The polished and bevelled wedge hour indices which furnish the outer edge of the dial are a classy addition, and the printed 24-hour track on the inner dial is restrained and unpretentious.
The lumed, dauphine hands work well with the overall aesthetic, and I like the way the GMT hand is coloured at the tip, skirting the limit of the globe. The date window at three is fine, but it would be nice to see the wheel itself colour-matched. The elongated second hand, however, adds a touch of elegance.
The 42 mm case of the Atlantic GMT does wear large, as many Flieger-type designs do, but the impression is primarily a visual one. Its oversized, knurled crown lends a distinct presence, but ultimately it is the slim bezel and expansive real estate dedicated to the dial which commands attention. The beautiful dome formed by the K-1 mineral crystal also leaves an impact, matching, as it does, the curved and bevelled form of the dial beneath it.
The overall impression is one of novel sophistication with its predominant polished surfaces and fine detailing. Despite being a dressy inventive, the watch does offer 50m of water resistance.
On the flip side, we find a screw down, exhibition case back, exposing the star of the show–Citizen’s Miyota 9075. Aesthetically, there is not much about the calibre that stands out. The rotor is, for example, undecorated. But the Miyota featured here is Citizen’s answer to Seiko’s NH34, which kicked off the battle of the affordable GMT earlier last year. The surprise punch, however, comes by way of its functionality. The Miyota, unlike its “caller” competitor, has a jumping hour hand.
This traveller–or “flyer”–GMT is conventionally found in much more expensive timepieces. The benefit, of course, is the ease of setting its hour hand independently, allowing someone who is skipping back and forth across time zones to easily adjust the time. This confounds the setting of the date, unfortunately; however, for individuals who travel frequently, this is a much more practical application. The Zeppelin Atlantic GMT may well be the first watch on the market to feature this calibre–though, of course, a few others have now followed suit.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
22mm Lug Width
50m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Domed K-1 Safety Glass |
Enamel dial /w Painted Central Disk
Applied Polished Indices
|Movement||Miyota 9075 GMT|
42-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Calfskin Leather Strap|
/w Stainless Steel Hardware
Zeppelin Atlantic Automatic GMT
Much of Zeppelin’s collection is dominated by aircraft inspired timepieces. The Atlantic GMT is no different. Despite its classy inclinations, the watch resembles the dash board instruments found in early airplanes. As such, it exudes a functional beauty. Although POINTtec has been producing watches since the late 80s, the Zeppelin brand was not founded until 2002. It was meant to compliment the growing POINTtec stable with upscale offerings harkening back to the classical era of aviation. Like its sister brands–Bauhaus, Junkers, and Iron Annie–the Zeppelin line is produced in the Ruhla region of Germany.
It would be preferable to have the date wheel colour-matched, as mentioned above. However, a sapphire dome would also be a nice step up. Albeit attractive, the mineral glass will be more prone to signs of wear.
Shrouded as it is by a lovely glass dome, the Zeppelin Atlantic Automatic GMT cuts a striking figure. You can almost get lost in the midnight blue of its dial. And the polished accents throughout do well to catch the light. Nonetheless, it does remain a bit of a novelty with its enameled central disk, depicting a colourful rendition of the Atlantic. Overall it reminds me of an aviation compass with its dauphine handset and multiple indexes.
Beyond aesthetics, however, the movement at the heart of the Atlantic GMT is perhaps its ace-in-the-hole. The Miyota 9075 really brings the functionality of a traveller GMT to the masses.
The German-built watch certainly delivers when it comes to fine workmanship, as well. Despite my quibble concerning its mineral crystal, the materials and construction are top notch. You get a lot of watch for your $530USD.
For more information, please visit the brand website.
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