The New Zodiac Grandrally

Four On The Floor: Zodiac Adds Four New Retro-Inspired Models To Its Grandrally Collection

Get ready to hit the pavement with these classic yet accessibly priced chronographs.

By Rhonda Riche

Here at Watchonista, we celebrate all forms of racing. But with spring so tantalizing close, our thoughts turn to rally racing, a form of motorsport that takes place on open roads rather than on a circuit. And after a year of lockdown, who wouldn’t dream of hitting the highways with your navigator, not knowing exactly what lies ahead but not quite caring either?

In rally racing, the co-pilot is an equal partner to the driver, guiding speed, stage averages, and time to the next checkpoint. So, an accurate chronograph is an essential piece of equipment. And if that timepiece looks good, well, that’s cool too.

The most legendary racing chronographs are the Rolex Daytona and the TAG Heuer Monaco. But Zodiac has just added four new models to its value-proposition priced Grandrally collection that evokes the spirit of those vintage timepieces without stressing your future bank account.

The Zodiac Grandrally Collection

Zodiac is best known for its diving watches like the Sea Wolf, but the handsome chronographs of the Grandrally collection are an excellent option for drivers.

The height of popularity for rally competitions coincided with the golden age of racing chronographs – the 1960s and ’70s – and many vintage chronos carried the word rally in their branding. Events like the legendary Paris to Dakar rally even inspired the naming of those sexy but comfortable perforated leather straps.

With its 41.50mm barrel-shaped case, the Zodiac Grandrally collection is a clear homage to the funky chronos of the ’70s. But the brand is also mapping a path to its future with four new Grandrally models in a variety of case finishes.

Our personal favorite is the brushed stainless steel version featuring a black carbon fiber face, red design details on the dial, and a perforated black leather strap. Alas, the Grandrally ref. ZO9611 already sold out.

The Grandrally ref. ZO9609, another model with a strong vintage feel, features a stainless steel panda dial with black registers. It comes on a black leather strap with speed bumps.

The other two options are a little more fashion-forward, with rose gold (ref. ZO9610) and black stainless steel (ref. ZO9608) cases. The black steel edition also has a matching metal bracelet and orange design details, but sadly, it too is sold out.

All four versions feature old-school touches such as a tachymeter printed on the bezel and sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock displaying running seconds and chronograph minutes, respectively. Plus, Super-LumiNova hands make it legible in low-light conditions, and it’s water-resistant to around 100 meters to survive any off-road misadventures.

Track Record

The inspiration for the design of the Grandrally drew from pieces in Zodiac’s archives, which, in turn, were inspired by the dashboard of a racing car. 

The Grandrally may reimagine the classic dials and cases of the 1970s, but it runs on a high-octane Ronda Z50 Swiss Made mechanical-quartz movement. Not only does this caliber make the collection reliable and affordable, but it also wears a little lighter, making it a comfortable everyday watch.

Except for references ZO9611and ZO9608, the Grandrally collection, which launched February 22nd, is available now on Zodiac’s website and priced between $495 and $595.

(Images © Zodiac Watches)

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