Evolution of the species: 44mm – 41mm


We design everything in-house with over 70 years combined experience, but that doesn’t mean adding a 41mm watch case design to our hugely popular 44mm was an easy task. For those looking in it’s just a 3mm reduction, how hard can that be? …well very!

The project brief we gave ourselves for the DB80 and the Flying Scotsman brace of watches was to maintain the Zero West house style of dual sculpted lugs (DSL) and 22mm strap width, but shrink the whole watch in size. The reality, with our very specific design criteria, is that the watch will only scale so far. The sweet spot was found to be 41mm diameter with a case depth slimmed down to 13.1mm, any smaller was technically impossible.

Exploded Dambuster watch illustration
Two different size watch bodies


Re-engineering the complexity of a watch to fit a slimmer 41mm case is not as simple as reducing everything by 3mm. Housing the movement, and for our latest timepieces showcasing historic discs of metal, well thought through adjustments often hidden at first glance, are the difference between keeping design style and abandoning it. Take the dial for instance, using a flat rehaut in place of a bezel ensured eyes are drawn inwards, giving the impression the dial face is a bigger than it actually is.

The 41mm also had to have the back fitted in a different way. It was stepped down and fitted with a new sealing method, a plug seal positioned in the back as opposed to a face seal in the body of the watch. When space is at a premium these are the kind adjustments to make without affecting functionality – the 41mm watches, like the rest of the range, are sealed to withstand water pressure up to 10ATM (100 metres).

technical drawing of different size watches

The meticulousness (that is a word!) of a Zero West watch back has always been a big part of our design DNA, especially when the back of the watch showcases re-worked historic material. This tangible connection to the watch story, held under a reverse printed sapphire is screwed in place with no less than 6 screws, ensuring exact alignment of the graphic. It is surprising how many luxury watch brands don’t do this.

Back of two 41mm watches


The reality of this project was that to achieve a 41mm watch diameter, almost every watch component was re-engineered, from the sapphire crystal to the seals, screws and crown. There are no small projects! But did we achieve it? Our brand identity has been embedded in our dual sculpted lugs (DSL). To have a unique shape is incredibly difficult in a world crowded with millions of watches. When you look at the profile of a Zero West watch you can see it hasn’t been stamped out. It has been billet machined from 316L stainless steel, as are the lugs. These are then match fitted. This enables us to put different finishes on the body and the lugs, which is pretty special and unusual in the luxury watch market. Yes, there are other watch companies doing this in different ways, such as splitting the case, but we’ve actually separated the lugs which opens up greater design opportunity.

Close up of FS-2 lugs

The 41mm is a ‘younger sibling’ of its predecessors. It reflects our identity. It builds on the origins of our British watch brand that took root in 2016 and that we have spent the last seven years developing. Take a look and see how our latest 41mm Flying Scotsman follows the ZW DNA.

FS-1 watch wrist shot


In addition to the re-engineered components, for our 41 mm DB80 celebrating the 80thanniversary of the Dambuster raid, we took the opportunity to do something a little special. We introduced a skeletonised holder into the back so its beating heart, the Sellita SW200-1 Swiss movement, no longer remains hidden. Why not, when you only have enough metal from Lancaster ED825 to make 50 limited edition watches!

DB-80 watch back
Invasion Stripes: D-Day
Flying Scotsman: The Portsmouth Flyer