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Zodiac Olympos Review: a Watch from the 1960s, Retooled for Today

Originally launched in 1961, the Manta Ray-shaped Olympos surprises, despite being so subtle. And it converted me into a full-time watch wearer.

Evan Malachosky

I'll be honest with you: I am not a watch guy. One might assume I would be, considering I cover men's style and everything that comes with it — apparel and footwear, for sure, but also grooming tools, skincare and accessories. But watches, to me, fall into the latter bucket. After all, they are accessories — albeit expensive ones capable of telling time.

As such, they're an afterthought, at least for me — someone who hasn't bothered to study the minutia that separates one watch from another. Sure, I know the differences between certain movements and of course which brands are known for what, but I couldn't contextualize a watch if I tried, meaning each one I see essentially stands on its own, making my assessments surface level at best.

But the new — well, technically old, but more on that shortly — Zodiac Olympos made me dig deeper, to understand its unique shape, slim profile and storied past. While most watches I've worn prior felt overpowering, this one is subtle, comfortable and easy to keep on, even while I'm working.

Zodiac Olympos Review

Zodiac Olympos Automatic Watch


  • Small case fits under tight cuffs
  • The Manta Ray shape is a nice break from round or rectangular watches
  • Waterproof up to ~160 feet

  • Can look a little dressy, even if it's the watch you wear everyday

Case Diameter: 37mm
Case Depth:
Water Resistance:
STP1-11 automatic movement
Case Material: Stainless Steel

What's Good About the Zodiac Olympos

It's slim — and small.

In the past, the thickness of most watches forced me to shelve them. The popular Shinola Runwell Chronograph, for example, boasts a 12.3mm thick case, but with its usual leather band tucked beneath, it's almost double that. The bare-backed Zodiac Olympos, on the other hand, is a true 10mm, which is remarkably slim — more like one of my cheap Timex watches (which I love) than my chunkier Rowing Blazers Seiko Sport (which I also love).

This means this watch can easily fit under tighter cuffs without catching or bulging, which makes the Olympos the ideal match not just for dress shirts but also hoodies, which have elasticated wrists. The 37mm case is also decidedly smaller than my other watches, but a perfect fit for my slight wrists. It looks more natural on mine, whereas bigger watches (42mm for example) look huge.

a zodiac watch on a wrist

It's comfortable.

In my opinion, watches with leather bands are always more comfortable than metal ones. In fact, often times, I can't even tell I have the Olympos on, which is a testament to the leather band's softness and flexibility. I have small wrists, too, and although I push the pin through the final notch, it's just the right fit — not too tight, nor too loose.

It's also incredibly lightweight, and, as I said before, low profile. I don't bump it against anything and I can even type with it on — something I can't do with any metal watches. So, if you're chained to a desk like me, typing away at a keyboard or clicking through spreadsheets with a mouse, the Olympos makes it easy simply by not getting in the way.

It's a new-but-old watch.

The Olympos is what menswear fans call "new vintage," meaning it's a new product based on an old design. The Olympos first released in 1961, and then, the Manta Ray shape was cutting-edge. It still is, even if it looks decidedly retro-futuristic today. The 2022 reissue simply swaps that period's materials for more modern ones, like an anti-reflective coating and sapphire crystal. The leather features a single prong strap buckle with ray-shaped hardware.

Even experts like it.
a person holding a zodiac watch

While in New York City for work right after the Olympos dropped, I ran into Rowing Blazers founder Jack Carlson, who was having a meeting with Wind Vintage owner Eric Wind. And even Wind noticed my Olympos. He beelined for it, asking me to take it off so he could inspect it. He's a respected watch expert, and even he was impressed. It's an attention-grabber, folks, and for good reason.

What's Not Ideal About the Zodiac Olympos

It's a little too dressy for daily wear.

While I wear a lot of black, the black leather Olympos feels a little too dressed up, especially considering I don't go into an office. (As such, I rarely "dress up.") If it's tucked underneath the extended cuff of a classic sweatshirt, no one will notice, but with short sleeves, this thing sticks out.

But that's not a bad thing, and it might just be an issue with the black version. There's also a blue dial version and two tan dial ones, albeit with different colored straps. These feel less dressy — but they're also less sleek, in my opinion. Still, if you want a dressy watch, you can't go wrong with any of these.

zodiac watches on a table

Verdict: Zodiac Olympos

This easy-wearing automatic watch is a nice upgrade on others, especially because of its shape, but also because of its stature. It's a lesser-known legacy watch from a smaller brand, and for $895, you're getting quite a lot of watch. So far, I've been impressed, and it feels like a step up from my others.

It's a fair price for a watch one might buy to mark a significant milestone (like an engagement) without breaking the bank. And, because it's automatic, there's no need to explain much straight out of the box.

Zodiac Olympos Automatic Watch


  • Small case fits under tight cuffs
  • The Manta Ray shape is a nice break from round or rectangular watches
  • Waterproof up to ~160 feet

  • Can look a little dressy, even if it's the watch you wear everyday

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