Zeppelin is one of the brands made by Point Tec, a company founded by Wilhelm Birk in 1987. It is based in the village of Ismaning, not far from Munich. Point Tec makes about 150,000 watches per year, making them one of the largest watch manufacturers in Germany. They are proud of their German origin, and place Made in Germany at the bottom of the dial. Many of their watches have quartz movements but they also make automatic watches, such as this piece, the Zeppelin 7654-4, Zeppelin Automatic Pulsometer with Big Date, Series 100 Jahre Zeppelin Edition 2.
Classical pulsometer dial
The watch has classical looks with its graceful Breguet-shaped hands, and the pulsometer scale which recalls those long-gone days when a doctor would sit by the bed and take a patient’s pulse as a way of establishing an initial rapport. Usually pulsometer watches are chronographs: in this piece it’s a normal 3-hand watch and so you just have to settle down, find the pulse, and wait until the second hand reaches 12, and then count thirty pulse beats and read off the pulse rate. The scale is nicely designed, with unit divisions up to a pulse rate of 95, and beyond that, divisions of fives and tens. Inside this there is the usual minutes and seconds chapter ring, and an additional 24-hour scale that you can use with the hour hand. The cream-coloured dial makes everything very legible.
The big date is another attractive feature in terms of practical use. The watch is quite a large piece at 42 mm diameter, 13 mm thickness, but it sits well on the wrist, with a vintage-look leather strap. It is also available with a stainless steel bracelet. The crown is large and prominent, on a caseband that has a ribbed profile that the brand describes as the “typical Zeppelin shape on the edge of the case.” Water resistance is 5 atm, 50 metres.
Unusual ETA movement with big date
The sapphire caseback displays the self-winding ETA 2826-2 movement, a variant of the 2824 and in production from 2006, which has 25 jewels, a balance running at 4 Hertz (28,800 vibrations per hour), and provides a power reserve of 38-40 hours. It has the stop-seconds function. The big date function is ingenious, based on two discs, the top one with a window showing the first 16 dates. ETA call it a semi-instantaneous date display, and it can be set rapidly using the crown in the second position.
Price and conclusions
Available in boutiques at €749, the Zeppelin Automatic Pulsometer with Big Date, reference 7654-4, is a robust, good-looking watch with a traditional ETA movement at an attractive price. The big date function is an unusual extra and the pulsometer scale adds interest. The watch is part of the “100 Jahre Zeppelin” series of watches commemorating the 100th anniversary of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin’s death. Further information and retailer addresses on the Point Tec website.