Manufacturer: Zelos Watches | Preorder Price: $369 USD (RRP: $449 USD)
Probably the most popular Zelos watch since the company began in 2014 is the Mako diver line. I know I personally have owned quite a few… This new one is the third version and there has been a lot of changes over the v2. To be fair, the v2 was really just a tweak to the v1 as it was just given a 1mm larger crown. The v3 however, has had a multitude of changes done to it, including a totally different movement, a fully re-designed dial, larger indices, better lume as well as a much more refined and thinner case. Zelos also decided to offer a much wider range of dial finishes and colours.
As much as I tried to get this review done quickly, I don’t think anyone expected the v3 to sell out so quickly, and by that I mean, every single colour option, are all sold out. Zip, nadda, zero, gone, absolutely no v3 Mako’s are left available to buy from Zelos directly. I think this is the first time in Zelos’ history, that every single colour option of a single model has sold out during the pre-order stage. So, it looks like the only way you’ll get one is through the used market. Although, you might get a new one through Serious Watches once they have them in stock, but you’d better be quick, as their stock levels are usually limited! Anyhoo… back to the actual review of the Zelos Mako v3. Is it better than the previous v2?
- Dimensions: Diameter – 40.1mm, Thickness – 13.6mm, Lug to Lug – 46.5mm, Lug Width – 20mm
- Movement: Miyota 9015, Automatic, 28,800vph (4Hz), Hackable, Self Winding, 42hr Power Reserve
- Case Material: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel with Polished Accents
- Strap: Tropic Rubber, Signed Buckle, Vintage Horween Leather (Optional Stainless Steel Bracelet)
- Bracelet: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel, Solid Links & End-Links, Screw Pins, Custom Milled Clasp
- Crystal: Double Dome Sapphire, Multiple Underside Anti-Reflective Coatings
- Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Ceramic Insert, 2000v Hardness, Fully Lumed
- Water Resistance: 300m / 30ATM / 990ft
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® C3 X1 & BGW9
- Crown: Screw Down, Signed, Lumed Caseback: Screw Down, Stamped Logo
- Warranty: 1 Year Where to Buy: Zelos Watches | Serious Watches
- Options: Stainless Steel Bracelet (+$49) | Colour/Finish – Meteorite, Midnight Blue, Frost, Teal, Ice, Antique Green
Zelos no longer utilise Kickstarter when releasing a new model, opting to take preorders on their own website with only a 2 – 3 week average wait time before you get the email stating that your watch has been been despatched. Zelos is based in Singapore and was founded by Elshan Tang, who, having been fascinated by mechanical timepieces for many years, building one was the next logical step. I believe that great timepiece design should not be confined to just expensive luxury brands. Shown below are just a very small example of some previously released Zelos timepieces, with plenty more on the way..."
Case & Crown
The case of the Mako v3 has a diameter of 40.1mm. The lug to lug is 46.5mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at 13.6mm. Without taking the sapphire crystal into consideration the watch has a thickness of only 11.3mm. The entire case, caseback, bezel, crown and the optional bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the watch is mostly brushed but with rather sexy chamfered polished accents that run along the side of the case, over and towards the center of the crown guard and down over the ends of the lugs. I’ve got to say, I love this as it looks absolutely fantastic and gives the Mako v3 a very premium look & feel over the previous version.
The Mako v3 has a water resistance rating of 300m, thanks to the screw down caseback & crown. This is down from the 500m water resistance of the v2. This isn’t a bad thing, as with less WR you’ll also get a slimmer case. I know which I’d rather have and as with the majority of those that buy the Mako v3, you won’t be diving.
The proportions of the watch, in my opinion, are brilliant for my Mr Average 7″ wrist, due to the relatively short lug to lug distance. The Mako wears extremely well on wrist and it’s very comfortable, with it just melting onto your wrist. A huge difference to the way it wears over the previous generation, that’s for certain.
The signed crown is fantastic and looks great with it’s fully lumed logo. There is absolutely no wobble whatsoever when the crown is in use and you can also feel a very nice pop as you unscrew it. You can also see and feel the amount of work that has gone into the crown, making it feel very premium. The caseback has a deeply stamped Mako shark on it with the various specs around the edges, as well as a unique serial number. I think there were 100 of the meteorite versions and 200 of each of all the other colour variants. I will state though, just for the record, the finish of the caseback could be a bit better as the lip at the surround that goes down to the logo is a wee bit sharp. Not sharp enough that you’ll cut your wrist or anything daft like that. I just thought it was worth mentioning as it’s not something that I seen on the Mako v2.
Straps / Bracelet
Straight out of the box, the Zelos Mako v3 comes fitted as standard with a black 20mm tropic rubber strap with a fully milled, signed, very nice looking buckle & tang. You will also find a horween leather strap in the box, giving you a change should you feel the need. These horween straps aren’t cheap either, so it’s a great addition to the overall package from Zelos. Both of the straps that are included, taper from 20mm down to 18mm at the buckle and are of superb quality.
I’m much more of a bracelet kind of guy though and thankfully there is a bracelet option that’s available for the Mako v3 at a steal of a price, coming in at just an additional $49 USD. Before anyone asks, no, this new bracelet will not fit either the v1 or v2 Mako. That is due to the case of the v3 being much slimmer than either of the previous versions. This Zelos bracelet itself is extremely nice indeed, tapering down from 20mm to 18mm and back to 20mm at the custom milled signed clasp.
This new bracelet is far more refined than the bracelet that was available for the v2. There is a lot more smother finish and the brushing matches the case perfectly. The fit of the bracelet is absolutely outstanding with zero wobble or movement at all at the lugs. The links of the bracelet are relatively slim and conform to the wrist brilliantly. You’ll also notice a polished chamfered edge on the top of each link. A very nice touch indeed, that matches the details of the case.
Sized up for my 7″ wrist I had to remove 4 links, which was simple enough to do with screw pins used for adjusting & re-sizing. The screw pins too are not like some others that I’ve encountered either, that were essentially, crap! These screw pins are brilliantly manufactured and are a piece of cake to remove and reinstall without any crossed threads or any other dodgy fitment issues. Solid links are utilised throughout, a very nice milled custom clasp that is also stamped with the Zelos logo are all here on this much improved bracelet. I will, without doubt, recommend 100%, that you get the Mako v3 with the optional bracelet, as it really is of outstanding quality and well worth the very low price of just $49 USD.
The chosen movement for the Zelos Mako v3 is the smooth sweep, high beat, Miyota 9015. This is a slim Japanese made 28,800vph, 24 jewel movement with a 42hr power reserve. Checking the accuracy after running the Mako v3 for just over a week, mainly on my wrist and occasionally in my watch winder, I was extremely happy with the results, with the Mako v3 showing an average of just +3.6spd, which is well within Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) specification although the Zelos Mako v3 isn’t officially COSC certified.
Dial & Bezel
The midnight blue version that I have here, sports a simplified looking dial compared to that of the previous version. The effect on the dial looks amazing with the whirlpool style effect. Additionally, the hour markers at the 3, 9 & 12 o’clock positions have also been cleaned up which really makes a huge difference and even although the diameter is the same as previous versions, the v3 dial looks/wears slightly bigger with it being much more clutter free. All the applied hour marker are pumped full of lume. The hour and minute hands also have a ton of lume applied to them. More on that later…
As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are nicely done with their very proportionate design. The seconds hand is great too, with it’s wee lumed section and yellow paint finish reaching right out to the minute track when sweeping around the dial. There is a borderless date window at the 6 o’clock position too, which looks fantastic… and what’s this…? It’s colour-matched! Other brands should take note, this is how a date complication should be done! When I say it’s colour-matched, it has also been done to all the other colour options too. Great attention to detail Zelos. 🙂
The lume on the Mako v3 is truly outstanding! I recently reviewed the ITHYUS Abyssi and stated in that review that the lume on the Abyssi can’t be beaten. Well, I’ll just state for the record, Zelos have upped their game with the Mako v3 and I can honestly say it’s right up there with the best and matches the lume of the Abyssi comfortably. The lume that’s been used on the Mako v3, is a combination of Swiss Super Luminova® C3-X1 & BGW9 and it’s been applied 100% perfectly!
As previously mentioned, I’ve owned all versions of the Zelos Mako and the only issue I had with them was I thought the dial looked slightly overly congested with just a little too much going on. This new v3 Mako has sorted that problem with it’s much more cleaner aesthetic, which most definitely suits the size of the watch much better. I also feel that the switch from the Sellita SW200 to the Miyota 9015 was a fantastic decision from Zelos, as it allows the use of a much slimmer case profile. I love the addition of the more nicely done chamfered edges on the case too as it looks way more premium than the price of the watch would suggest.
Just before the New Year, I wrote my Watch of the Year 2019 article and even although I left it right to the last minute, there were a couple of watches that just never arrived in time to be included in the article. Anyway, to cut a long story short, The Zelos Mako v3 would have most definately made the cut for the Watch of the Year title. Who knows, it could possibly win my 2020 WOTY award. Only time will tell. Either way, it’s a phenomenal watch and congratulate yourself if you manage to get one at the ridiculous low preorder price of just $369 USD. Elshan has nailed it! (again) 😉 Well done!
Zelos Watches – Not just a simple upgrade over the previous version, this is the definition of EVOLUTION with a couple of shots of PREMIUM thrown into the mix! A truly excellent watch at a totally bargain price.