The Nooka Zoo is like the Nooka Zot‚Äôs sensible older brother. Sure, this watch likes to rebel, but it stays within the bounds of reason and propriety and offers a perfect role-model for other small-run, classic watches to strive towards emulating.
An improvement on the Seiko Nooka, also designed by Matthew Waldman, the Zoo is an odd, if eminently readable and usable, duck. Minutes appear in a long bar over the hour, AM/PM, and seconds indicators. The minutes are unfortunately unreadable at anything more than a slight angle but the rest of the displays are extremely readable.
Like the Zot, the Zoo suffers from shadows cast by its 50mmx50mm die-cut aluminum face. These shadows are less noticeable in the Zoo than the Zot, which is refreshing, and it is clear that the Zoo is perfect for those who only want a little paradigm-shifting design on their wrist, thank you very much, and can do with out the Zot‚Äôs avant-garde sassiness.
The band and buckle are extremely well made and the pushers, two on the right side and a recessed button for setting the time on the left, are extremely well fitted. The backlight, activated with the upper right pusher, is very useful and makes for an easy read in low light conditions. The data function is much easier to read, but less cool, than on the Zot, with the month appearing in the hour register and the day appearing in the seconds register.
Overall, the quality is quite good although, as we mentioned in our Zot review, the brushed metal face is susceptible to noticeable scratches. If you are looking for great, sensible design, however, and can‚Äôt bring yourself to learning to read time in an entirely different way, the Zoo is a perfect compromise and a beautiful watch.
The Zoo is available for $250 at www.nookawatch.com.
By John Biggs