Packaging

The Zodiac Aerospace GMT

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything to this blog. I think it has been about 17 months to be exact. Life sometimes gets in the way and in this case, it has prevented me from being able to post here for quite some time. That all changes today.

The Zodiac Aerospace GMT

Recently I had the fortunate chance to acquire a Zodiac Aerospace GMT in Burnt Orange and Sky Blue. I’m not going to write a review of the timepiece itself. Instead, I’m going to speak to the entire package. The watch, the packaging, the presentation, because it all adds up to the overall experience. In addition, I haven’t had enough time (yes I know) to spend with the watch at this point to get into things like performance.

I’m going to talk about this in sort of a reverse order, not focusing on the watch in the beginning. Instead, I’m going to start with the way the recipient engages with the product. I’m going to start with the packaging and move forward from there.

At first, you are presented with a black box embossed with the Zodiac logo on the top. This is nothing fancy, a simple cardboard box that is nicely styled that fits with the price point of the timepiece. The top of the box slides off to reveal the interior which holds a folded microfiber timezone map, a quick start guide in colors that match the watch and an image of a retro-styled world map at the top. The Zodiac logo and Aerospace GMT sit in the lower half. The phrase “The world traveler’s watch” is styled in a nice script that adds to the retro feel of it. There is a pullout tray beneath the watch box that contains instructions on how to set the time, change the date, adjust the 24 hour hand and adjust the bracelet.

The quality of the printed material is about what you would expect. This is not a Rolex or a Heuer. It’s good but it’s not luxe by any means.

Zodiac’s parent company is Fossil and you can definitely feel the Fossil influence in the packaging materials. Fossil’s retro aesthetic is all over this, and I have to say it works. I think the packaging and support materials look great. The retro feel plays well considering that this is a reissue of a Zodiac classic.

Opening the box you are presented with the Zodiac Aerospace GMT a time, date, and GMT watch that nods heavily toward the vintage models from the 1960s. The case has been upsized to a more contemporary 40mm size. There are two versions of the watch, grey and black bezel, or in my case sky blue and burnt orange bezel. The watch is seated on a neutral grey synthetic pillow, surrounded by a grey synthetic buffer. The grey absolutely makes the orange and blue pop and the watch look absolutely stunning. According to Zodiac the blue and orange represent the sun and water.

The watch itself feels solid. It’s too early to tell about the quality of the stainless steel, but the watch has heft to it.
It feels like a quality timepiece. The orange and blue bezel have a high-gloss appearance. The markers are bright and easy to read and they have carried over from the printed material the cursive “Aerospace GMT” to the watch face.

The back of the watch shows the limited edition number, serial number, the iconic Zodiac logo, reference numbers, and the name. The logo is also presented on the deployment clasp on the bracelet.

The deployment clasp is something I am having to get used to. Unlike my other watches, it is a two-step process. You lift the front quarter of the clasp to open the mechanism and then pull the remaining portion up to fully release it. I have to say that this part of the watch seems delicate. I’m being careful every time I open it because I feel like I might bend or break it. I know the likelihood of this pretty small, but it still makes me nervous.

Zodiac is using the tried and true ETA 2893-2 movement in this watch. The ETA 2893 features time/date with added GMT functionality. It’s a 24 jewel movement that ticks away at 28,800vph and claims a 38-hour power reserve. While not a true GMT it is a “Caller” the GMT hand itself is quick-set, while the local hand stays static. I’m OK with this. I know true horologists are probably scratching their heads wondering why Zodiac didn’t develop a GMT movement of their own. I’m thinking it was to keep the cost below the $2000.00 threshold.

The watch feels great on my wrist and the color combo really stands out. Zodiac has really nailed the vintage aesthetic and produced a stylish watch that won’t break the bank. Parent company Fossil has definitely put the time and effort into reviving the Zodiac brand. It’s obvious from the quality of this watch that they have a desire to get things right and it shows.

If you are familiar with Zodiac watches then you obviously know about the Sea Wolf reissue that was released last year. Zodiac has taken the Sea Wolf case and used it for the Aerospace GMT. In effect, they have simply put in a new movement and replaced the count down bezel with a GMT one. In addition, they have added a new dial and four hands with the update. That’s it. None the less the Aerospace GMT is a stylish retro watch that is well worth the cost.

Each version of the Aerospace GMT is limited to 182 pieces.

Uinta Golden Ale Packaging Celebrates Our National Parks.

Last year, the National Park Service celebrated 100 years of service, and to commemorate the anniversary Uinta Brewing is ready to release Golden Ale Park Series Beer. The rotating park series was brewed in celebration of the diverse landscapes across the United States and the over 84 million acres of natural beauty that our National Park system promotes and protects. The packaging is available with four different park-inspired packaging that reflects the style of travel posters designed during the height of the WPA era of the 1930’s. While the beer inside the can will remain the same, a refreshing golden ale with an ABV of 5.3% and notes of Wilamette hops and Crystal malts, the outer packaging will feature a rotating line-up of National Parks. right now there are just 4 parks represented, but hopefully they will release more over the next year. I love the design and illustration featured here. It’s a refreshing approach to a product area that can at times be predictable, even in the craft brewing segment.

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“Many of the explorations that have inspired our beers have happened in and around National Parks and we’re excited to pay homage to that with this rotating series. We’re fortunate to have five National Parks within 5 hours of the brewery and hope that our Golden Ale encourages consumers to get out and explore those that surround them.”

Uinta’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Mills

Packaging That Tells a Story.

I love clever package design, especially when individual pieces combine to tell a much larger story. Traditionals Torroni nougats packaging designed by Happycentro does just that for Sabadi.
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Each candy bar is a single chapter filled with marvelous illustrations. When the bars are placed side by side they form a complete panorama that is a reflection of the Sicilian countryside and the rich natural ingredients used in each bar. I love the illustration style that is reflected on each of these pieces. it is a visual personification of the mix of cultures, art, cuisines that make up Sicily and its people.
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Staropramen Celebrates Prague

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The liquor packaging business is tough. You need to design something that stands out form the crowd, is memorable, reflective of the core brand, and fits well within the shelving of stores. BBDO was charged with designing limited edition packaging for Czech Republic Staropramen Lager. (my beer of choice when I was in Prague) SunInBev asked BBDO to create a design that kept Prague at the heart of the overall packaging. The result is a series of cans that when stacked side by side build Prague’s famous Carls bridge that spans the Danube river. The limited edition Staropramen cans were introduced to Ukraine & Russia in the spring of 2014 with another limited edition launch for the UK and 4 other European countries coming later this year. I love the look of the overall design. The green and cream color reflecting the Staropramen brand, combined with the black line art with the tight engraved look gives this a feeling of fun and sophistication.

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Creative Director – Rytis Juodeika, Anze Jereb

Art Director – Alexander Rogovets

Copywriter – Taras Droom

Head of Design Studio – Martynas Birskys

Designer – Tanya Tkachenko