There are many wristwatches, and sometimes they all blend together. The ZUM is a regulator watch – meaning, the hours and minutes hands aren’t centrally located. This one’s a little different – and if you don’t move fast, you’ll miss it.
OK, it’s not a true regulator; A true regulator lines up the sub dials vertically, so that you can see when the hands all align. The point of that is that you could adjust the timing of another watch by a regulator as a source of good time.
But that doesn’t matter. No one is adjusting clocks by this watch. Instead, you wear it because it’s different than all the watches you already own. You wear it because it appeals to your sense of fun. You wear it because it looks like a robot. You wear it because it’s modern quality with a design sense that feels like it comes from the late 60s.
The case is a rounded rectangle, a squircle, with two subdials for eyes near the top of the dial. The left eye is hours, and the right eye is minutes. The central seconds completes the face with the nose. The subdials are recessed, giving the dial some dimension and depth. “Automatic” is framed in a wide hexagon, conveniently located where you might expect a mouth.
I know, I call it a robot, but the inspiration was the dashboard for the Dashboard Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Legierung (W198), from 1955–56. It’s really difficult to make a car-inspired watch. This is a good effort at pulling it off.
The border of the dial for the seconds track is again that late 1960s theme: a racing, alternating series of seconds marks. The back of the movement is visible through a display window case back, showing the steering wheel-shaped rotor.
The movement is an NH38, a reliable Seiko. How do you get a 3 handed Seiko into a regulator movment? With a module. A module makes the movement slightly taller, and gives it the ability to locate the hands where ZUM wants them.
The crystal is sapphire. The case is sunray-brushed stainless steel. Leather straps in black or brown are perforated, just like you’d expect for a racing-inspired 1960s watch, recalling Italian driving gloves.
The ZUM R1 is available in Blue with silver subdials, Black with silver subdials, Black with black subdials, and Silver with black subdials. There’s also a blue dial with light gold subdials. Pledge $230, and you could wear one of these time machines, that travels back to the days of the late 1960s. Check it out at kickstarter.