Sunday, August 21, 2016

Watch Spotlight - The Graf Zeppelin 100 Years of Zeppelin Watch

Once upon a time, air travel was not the nerve-wracking exercise that it is today.  The wealthy traveled in style, floating in the clouds, and moving at a leisurely pace in huge airships called Zeppelins.  One of the largest and most stately of the monster airships was Germany's Graf Zeppelin.  According to, it was commissioned on July 8, 1928 and flew until shortly after the Hindenberg disaster in 1937.  While in service, it circled the globe carrying passengers in grand style.

The Graf Zeppelin

Looking back on the airships today, there is a mix of elegance, romance, technology, the innocence of a bygone era, and the edginess of the danger from hydrogen.  The era of these magnificent airships is celebrated by Germany's Zeppelin watch brand.

The gondola of the Graf Zeppelin. Photo edited by Grombo [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Zeppelin's were ships of the sky and they featured controls and instrumentation that might look more at home aboard a ship at sea.  The classic calfskin band and vintage instrument look of the Graf Zeppelin 100 Years of Zeppelin watch evoke the classic efficiency and engineering excellence of the airship era.  However, this Zeppelin watch is also perfect for the modern traveler as it has a date window at 4 o'clock, and alarm subdial at 6 o'clock, and a subdial at 9 o'clock which looks like it should keep time in another timezone.

Graf Zeppelin Watch

The Graf Zeppelin is a proper watch with stately proportions that look just right on the wrist.  The 42 millimeter diameter case is just perfect for most wrists.  At 13 millimeters thick, it can even fit under a cuff when a gentleman dresses properly for dinner as they did aboard the airship Graf Zeppelin.

Diners aboard the Graf Zeppelin - Source Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-08200 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (], via Wikimedia Commons

While today's Zeppelin watches are powered by precise Swiss Quartz movements, the Zeppelins of the 1920s were powered by massive power plants.  You can see the way one of the engines dwarfs a legion of ground crew.

Graf Zeppelin Engine - Photo from Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-00735 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the coolest things about Zeppelin watches is that they are actually made in Germany.  The watch highlights a proud German achievement.  It's also reasonably priced for a European-made watch with a Swiss Movement.  It's not easy to pull off the tricky combination of elegance, quality, and affordability.  But, the Zeppelin Graf Zeppelin watch succeeds!

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