Manufacturer: Zelos Watches | Price: from $269 USD (£205 GBP, €225 EUR)
I’ve owned many colourways and finishes of the Zelos Swordfish over the years, from the v1 to v2 versions, as well as in both materials, stainless steel and bronze. I reckon that should more than qualify me to tell you my thoughts and opinions of this new Swordfish 40. As you can probably tell from the name, this is the new 40mm version of the Swordfish. Is it just a slightly shrunken down version of the Zelos Swordfish v2, that I reviewed around 12 months ago? Or is it much more than that? Well, let me explain to you, why I think that this new SF40 is actually the best Swordfish to date…
- Dimensions: Diameter – 40.2mm, Thickness – 12.3mm, Lug to Lug – 46.1mm, Lug Width – 20mm
- Movement: Seiko SII NH35, 21,600vph, 3Hz, Hackable, Self Winding, 41hr Power Reserve
- Case Material: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel (Polished Accents)
- Bracelet: 316L Stainless Steel, Solid Links, Screw Pins, Milled Clasp
- Crystal: Flat Sapphire, Multiple Inner Anti-Reflective Coatings
- Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Stainless Steel or Ceramic Insert, Fully Lumed
- Water Resistance: 200m / 20ATM / 660ft
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® C3 X1 & BGW9
- Crown: Screw Down, Signed
- Caseback: Screw Down, Stamped Swordfish Logo, Unique Serial Number
- Warranty: 1 Year Weight: 152g (Sized, (6¾″ Wrist))
- Where to Buy: Zelos Watches | Serious Watches (Authorised Dealer)
- Dial Options: Black Sand, Desert Grey, Emerald Green, Frost White, Meteorite, Teal
Zelos - A Brief Introduction
Zelos no longer utilise Kickstarter when releasing a new model, opting to take pre-orders on their own website, with just an average of 3 – 4 weeks wait time before you get the email stating that your watch has been despatched via FedEx. Zelos are 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', with many more coming soon..."
Case & Crown
The case of the Swordfish 40 has a diameter of 40.2mm. The lug to lug is 46.1mm and the overall thickness, including the sapphire crystal, albeit flat, I measured in at a very nice 12.3mm. These small changes in measurements over the Swordfish v2, actually make more of a difference than you might think. The entire case, bezel, caseback, crown and bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the watch is mostly brushed, but with the addition of slightly different polished chamfered edges that now run along the full length of the case and down over the inner section of the lugs. Not stopping there, Zelos have also factored in a similar styled chamfered edge along the underside of the case too, that gives the illusion that the Swordfish 40 is actually thinner than the aforementioned measurements might suggest.
The Swordfish 40 has a water resistance rating of 200m, which is actually down from the 300m given on the larger Swordfish v2. That doesn’t make the slight bit of difference to me, I much prefer a slimmer case, albeit with 100m less WR. The proportions of the watch are just superb with the way it conforms to my 6¾″ wrist, I find the fitment quite similar to the Zelos Mako v3, which I thought was absolute perfection! As you can imagine, it’s extremely comfortable to wear, so much so, I haven’t really taken it off my wrist since it arrived. The signed crown is very nice too, easy to grip and operate, with zero wobble when in use. Turning the watch over, you are greeted with a unique serial number, as well as a nicely done stamped Swordfish logo with no sharp edges.
Strap / Bracelet
Fitted as standard to the Swordfish 40 is an absolutely superb bracelet. It’s not just a shrunken down 20mm version either. A lot has changed over the original as it’s much more refined, with no squared off edges to be found anywhere. Every edge has been chamfered, even in the centre mid links and there is also a polished finished to both edges that continues the small discreet polishing from the watch head itself. Elshan at Zelos has also included a newly designed clasp, fully milled with a new logo placement, as well as 6 micro-adjustment holes. There is also another new inclusion to the bracelet that you might not have noticed, quick-release pins, making it super easy to swap out the bracelet should the need arise.
The chosen movement for the Swordfish 40 is the microbrand go-to movement of choice, the super-reliable NH35, manufactured by Seiko. A fantastic workhorse that is a 21,600vph, 3Hz, 24 jewel movement with self winding and of course hacking. Checking the accuracy after running the Swordfish 40 for over a week, mainly on wrist and occasionally in my watch winder, I thought the accuracy was bloody good, with it showing an average of just +3.7 spd. Very impressive!
Dial & Bezel
The sandwich dial used on the Swordfish 40 has very neatly done cut-outs for the hour markers, with larger markers at the 3 & 9, with double markers at the 12 o’clock position to retain correct orientation of the watch when in low light or dark conditions. The inner minute track is both clean and simple, being printed in a very legible contrasting black.
As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are very nicely done with their very proportionate, although relatively quite chunky design. The seconds hand is great too, finished in orange, with it’s wee lumed section and tip that does reach right out to the minute track when sweeping around the dial. This time round though, wait for it… we get the inclusion of a borderless date window at the 6 o’clock position, which looks great… and it’s colour-matched too on every model! Sweet mother of fuckin’ god, it’s about bloody time! Zelos finally went ahead and added their usual style of date complication to the dial. Thank you Elshan! It’s the one aspect of the older Swordfish’ that I really missed, as you could only get it on the v1 or the bronze versions and that’s only if you went with the more expensive ETA movement.
The lume on this Swordfish 40 really is fantastic! Remembering that this watch only costs $269 USD, I’m truly amazed at the execution of how well the lume has been applied to the dial, hands, bezel and of course that lume disc underneath the sandwich dial. The actual formula that’s been used on this Swordfish 40, is Swiss Super Luminova® C3 X1 with BGW9.
I often get asked what watches I would recommend at certain price points. At the entry level, I always used to recommend the Seiko SKX, although those were discontinued last year and the ones that are still remaining, the prices have shot up. Since earlier this year though, I have recommended the Islander from Long Island Watch many, many times since reviewing one back in March of this year. That watch offered superb value at $299 USD and it still does! The range of Islanders is vast too, and I love the fact that they’re styled on the original Seiko SKX.
However, move over Islander (sorry Marc), there is a new guy in town that just screams phenomenal value. The Swordfish 40 starts at just $269 USD for the base models, with an extra $100 on top if you fancy the meteorite version. Everyone that knows and have heard of Zelos knew that the Swordfish 40 was coming… but unfortunately, every single one of them sold out in less than 6 hours! That’s what, around 1100 watches gone in practically no time at all.
Don’t despair though if you didn’t manage to pick one up, as more are definitely coming soon with some special editions on the horizon too I believe. You should also be able to find them at SeriousWatches very soon too, but I’m not sure of exactly when. I’d recommend that you sign up to both Zelos’ and SeriousWatches newsletter to keep yourself up to date.
Zelos Watches – The best value automatic diver that I’ve ever reviewed.