Friday, March 04, 2005

Jaeger LeCoultre's New Chronograph Arrives

As announced FIRST on, JLC have finally launched their long awaited new chronograph movement.

To date, the Compressor series of watches has been an irrefutable sales success. Reaction to these latest watches, posted on ThePurists, has been very positive. Nonetheless, naturally there has also been a body of restrained posting over the last couple of years indicating a level of disquiet over their styling; an expected situation for challenging new themes. However, it seems that very negative feeling about this range is not represented in open forum but, strangely, is being unleashed in private e-mail. If I am but one of the recipients of this undercurrent of anti-Compressor e-mails, I would have to conclude there is a fair body of disappointment with these designs and the direction JLC is heading with this growing range.

For the sake of balancing the perceived view of the Compressor range (and others), getting this out in the open, out of my inbox and off my chest, here are some uncut (well mostly (!)) comments from the undercurrent of (predominantly unsolicited and sometimes anonymous) e-traffic I have about these watches:

"Did you see the new JLC 'flik flak'chronograph-world time-divers-cup of tea watch....brilliant how (JLC) can screw it up."

“The crescent windows of the various compressors, the useless '3 days aperture' for the date on the Compressor classic, and all the very good points you made on the AMVOX1 are perfect examples of this, which I regret deeply.“

"A disk as an hour counter.... WHY??? The last thing I want is a Joan Miro influenced watch, especially when Gaudi has had some influence.”

““It adds nothing to the design and makes an otherwise superb watch merely very good.”

“I was going to write something awful ............ Instead I am just muttering to myself and shaking my head.”

“The "flaws" of the current AMVOX1 are minor to fix, but make the difference between a "marketing" watch, and a serious watch from a serious manufacture.”

“Janek must be under house arrest, or in hiding”

“They undertake all the R&D for an integrated chrono, only to have a Miro (fan) design the face"

At least Alain Silberstein starts off with the understanding that the watch will not necessarily be functional, AND the colours are that much more entertaining"

"….only to wrongfully add some useless features..."

“Therefore, I believe the '3 normal crowns diver memovox' is technically very achievable while being more aesthetic“

"Once again, JLC prove that they cannot design a sports watch for love nor money....."

"....about AMVOX1. No, I won’t be buying one in case you wondered. A p!sspoor effort that watch"

“(The parachutist) probably forgot to open the chute as he was trying to figure out how long he had been descending”

“....without using any gimmick (compressor keys) of disgraceful appearance... “

“….fully regret that (the) new designs of JLC put form over function”

“The "Polaris" design should have been used for a dive watch“

“I had an argument over the design of (the feature) and was basically told, “Well, no-one really uses that function anyway…..” I begged to differ. I guess that says a lot about where they’re coming from now.......”

Why I'm a recipient of the ‘anti-mail’ is beyond me. I just wish people would post what they honestly think on the forum, or at least as comments here. I posted my personal reflections on the Compressor range here recently.

As for me and the new chrono? Well, I could just about live with the basic stainless version. Very interesting to see 'half keys' on the chrono buttons (as proposed in my Polaris re-issue spec) and that the tick marks are every 1/4 second in line with the vph. However, I'm afraid I have some qualms: just why is the first 15 minutes of the chrono and tachy track silvered? And the main hands obscure the counters as you can see in the photo just like the original Speedmaster (and why NASA had them modified). The choice of dark red on black is a legibility disaster…. At least it's a proper integrated chronograph movement with a vertical clutch....... so just like the Lemania 5100 in my Sinn 157! LOL

More classically inclined Purists will have to wait for the movement to appear elsewhere. We can't wait.


Speedmaster said...

Great blog and post.

I love JLC. When the Compressor line came out I was only lukewarm about it. But I've grown to really like it.

I've been hoping JLC would introduce a new in-house chrono for several years. But this isn't exactly what I was expecting. I don't particularly care for the look of this new watch at the moment. Maybe it will grow on me.


Velociphile said...

Thanks Chris. Hang on and see what the Master version looks like.....