Zeppelin LZ126 Los Angeles (Review)

Today we are gonna talk about a watch company with that I thought I would never work with as they are very big and I write mainly about microbrands. But I contacted them and we talked everything through and they sent me two LZ 126 Los Angeles chronographs and one of them I will be giving away on my Instagram! Before we review the watches, let’s talk about the history of the brand!

To win this watch go to my Instagram @albertkaminsky and find the giveaway post! Giveaway is active till 30.09.2019!

Zeppelin watches is part of PointTec! In 1987, precisely 30 years ago, the company PointTec electronic was founded by the graduated economist, Willi Birk, as a sole entrepreneur. He dared to take a step in the dark and set up his business at a time when many watchmakers were still reeling at the shock of the quartz crisis. The young company PointTec initially began by making watches primarily in France. Striking designs and styles were the order of the day, which gave rise to some powerful and daring creations. An oversized ladies’ watch, with a casing measuring an astounding 48 mm in diameter, was not only unusual at that time, but it was also a provocation and a statement and kind of a prediction of a trend that became big in the early 2000s with oversized watches from Hublot, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and many others.

In 1990 the company, with its registered head office in Ismaning near Munich, became an Ltd. And shortly after the German reunification, PointTec introduced the first watch coming along with an automatic movement labelled with the quality seal “Made in Glashuette” onto the market. A total of 15,000 of these watches were made and sold.

In order to realise the new strategy of making increased numbers of mechanical watches in the future, the city of Ruhla in Thuringia was selected as the new production site. I have actually made an article about Ruhla watches and their amazing history! And even today most of their watches are made here in the city of Ruhla and they all bear the seal of quality “Made in Germany”.

As early as 1994, the time came and PointTec decided to develop a radio-controlled watch. This was launched under the name “Maximilian München”. I couldn’t find any information on these watches if they are still making them, but PointTec still has the logo on their site.

In 1996, Willi Birk won the order to create 1,000 chronographs for the centenary of the company Bosch-Junkers. As a result of this, PointTec could start to develop further watches under the Junkers brand name.

Just one year later, in 1997, the first chronograph with mechanical movement appeared on the market. And in 2002, PointTec expanded its portfolio with the Zeppelin brand. In doing so, PointTec drove forward the production of mechanical movements and sparked a strong revival in the whole watchmaking world.

At Expo 2000 PointTec collaborated with Infineon-Siemens to develop a technology that was completely unheard-of at that time. The remit was to create a watch with which you could make contactless payments. In the same year, PointTec introduced a special edition, which was the first analogue radio-controlled watch with an  additional multifunctional digital display. This innovative solution gave PointTec a high level of recognition and reputation.

In 2014, PointTec entered into a collaboration with Rosenthal, which is known throughout the world as a specialist in manufacturing porcelain at the highest level. Rosenthal is, making and supplying hand-made dials from the finest porcelain. Some of the dials are even hand-painted.

The movements that PointTec buys and incorporates in its watches mainly come from Switzerland, with a small percentage being made in Japan. All the other components come from renowned suppliers who also supply makers of luxury watches with parts and components. Today PointTec is present in 32 different countries and produces some 180,000 watches a year. Thus the company is one of the largest watch manufacturers in Germany. The brands that are available today is the: Junkers, Zeppelin, Iron Annie, Rosenthal and Maximilian München.

So Zeppelin watches sent me two LZ126 Los Angeles Chronographs. I chose the cream dialed one (ref. 7614-5) and a sunburst blue dial (ref. 7614-3). Both of these models are also available with Automatic Seiko NE88 movement. The variants that Zeppelin sent me come with 6S21 quartz movement from Miyota. Zeppelin launched the LZ126 series in the summer of 2017!

Both watches came very well packaged. I like the attention to detail. They shipped the watches separate from boxes, I have experienced something like that only with Armand Nicolet or seen that wth higher-end brands. The boxes are very simple cardboard clamshell style boxes. Inside the boxes, you have instructions manual and warranty and I liked that the warranty looks like a ticket for Zeppelin airships. The Zeppelin LZ 126 was the first passenger airship to be used for long-distance flights. It took only 81 hours to fly from Friedrichshafen to New York in 1924, which was an absolute speed record for the time.

The first impressions of the watches were just wow. I have seen Zeppelin watches in watch stores and I always liked the vintage styling and I never have held one in hand. Anycase I was surprised by how amazing they look. The dials are really well made and finished, the printing is crisp and very easy to read. The straps were also a big surprise as they look killer too! They have a very decent weight to them so it doesn’t feel like a cheap watch.

The case of the LZ 126 is made of 316L stainless steel. The machine work is exceptional as a German watch should have! The finish on the case is high-polished except the case back which features circular brushed finishing. The finishing is also done really good and easily is just as good as watches that cost well more than thee two together. The blue dialed one actually also has a rose gold coated colour case option too, but it costs a bit more than this stainless steel version we have here. The case is round with very nice stepped edges on the lugs. The case diameter is 42mm, the thickness is 12,5mm (with the domed crystal), the lug width is 22mm and the length of the case is 49mm. The watch actually is bigger than I thought it would be, but in reality, it wears pretty well. Due to how the lugs are bent, they don’t go over the wrist and the watch wears more like 40-41mm watch! At 3 o’clock we have a pretty big push/pull crown. The crown action is pretty smooth and it is very easy to grip it to set time and date. At 2 and 4 o’clock we have pushers for the chronograph function. As I said in the past two chronograph reviews, I really like this rectangular shape of the pushers, they just look more solid than the pump pushers. The solid case back strangely isn’t a screw in, but a snapback. On the case we have specifications, Zeppelin and Made in Germany text engraved. There is also a QR code which I guess is for the service or warranty. On top of the watch, we have a domed Sapphire coated K1 crystal, which is an ok choice, but would love to see a sapphire crystal too in the future! The water resistance is 5ATM (50m) which is pretty usual for chronographs, just remember that you can’t swim with the watch or submerge it in water.

Zeppelin sent me two versions of the LZ 126 with a cream dial and sunburst blue dial. The two look identical, but have some subtle differences and I guess the blue one actually is a newer release. The main differences are that the blue one has bigger subdials. The hour indices and the hour and minute hands on the blue one are lumed with blue SuperLuminova. And the Zeppelin logo on the blue one is smaller than on the cream one and the text “LZ 126 Los Angeles” is larger on the blue one. Those are the only big differences that both watches have, but otherwise, they are the same.

I really like the sunburst blue dialed one as I think the white accents with these rose gold accents on the hands and tachymeter scale just work so well! The cream dialed one isn’t bad too as that was my first choice, I like it because it gives the impression of an old vintage watch that has been used and from white dial it became cream. The designers at Zeppelin really know what they are doing! Not only I like this watch, but I got a lot of feedback from you my readers and followers on Instagram as I received a ton of good reactions from you on these two watches! Around the dial, we have a tachymeter scale. The Arabic numerals on the dial are in this vintage almost Breguet like style font, some of the numerals can’t be seen as the subdials are over them which are actually a bit lower than the dial. Around the subdials, we have small silver circles which play in light really nicely! The subdial at 9 o’clock is a 60min counter for the chronograph and the one at 3 o’clock is a small second’s. The square date window is at 4:30 which is a weir position in my opinion and I actually would remove it as the dial look asymmetrical this way or positioned it at 6 o’clock! Right by the 6 o’clock marker is the “Made in Germany” seal which Zeppelin wears proudly! The hands are thin, but very legible and I like the shape of the hour hand with that almost Breguet/spade shape and the minute dial has a pretty unique shape too where it gets thinner in the middle. Lume on the blue one is pretty good and lasts about 2-3 hours, but the cream one has no lume on the dial at all.

The movement that drives these two Zeppelin’s is the Miyota Cal. 6S21 quartz chronograph movement. It isn’t anything special or unique, but it is a well-engineered workhorse which will always be reliable no matter what! I have had this movement in so many watches and I never had a problem with it. It also features the sweeping chronograph second’s hand which is always nice to see! The battery life is around 2-3 years, but that depends on how often you use the chronograph function! Also, this is one of the rare examples where the second’s hand and all the other hands line up perfectly with the minute markers, usually all the quartz watches that come in for review from many different brands are off by a bit, but this one is spot on! Good work Zeppelin on the small details and quality control, Germans do really know how to make things work just like they were intended!

Both of the watches came with brown straps. The blue one has this distressed brown caf skin leather which is really nice looking. The underlining is in this beige colour. The white contrasting stitching really matches the white printing on the dial. It has a nice taper with 22mm at the lugs to 20mm at the buckle. The tang style buckle is made of stainless steel and features a high polished finishing with etched Zeppelin logo on the side. The other strap is basically the same, but made from a darker brown shell cordovan leather and features a much smoother finish. The other difference from the other strap is that it features black underlining. Both straps wear really comfortable on the wrist and feel good.

Overall I really like these watches! I was really stunned to get a chance to review them so big thanks goes to PointTec and Zeppelin team for giving me this opportunity! Both of the watches are very well built and for the price of 299€ you get a lot of a watch! It has a very nice design and they are very precisely machined and put together. If you are in a market for an affordable chronograph that has a vintage design, this is it! 

To win this watch go to my Instagram @albertkaminsky and find the giveaway post! Giveaway is active till 30.09.2019!

Price: 299€

  • movement Cal. 6S21, quartz-controlled chronograph
  • 2 minutes tachymeter indicator
  • stainless steel case, polished
  • diameter: 42 mm, Height: 12 mm, weight: 78 g
  • water-resistant up to 5 atm

 

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