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1961 – 2012 Three Generations of Accuracy

blomman Mr Blue
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Friends,

 

We often talk about the complicated or the sports... But I would like to put a light on some of the core criterion’s of a modern wrist watch: Time, Date, Automatic, Water resistant, Shock resistant and Accuracy.

This is what a big part of the watch buying customers wants.

Yes, is this order, at least if you look at most of the big Manufactures and their main part of watch production each year. The two Water resistant and Shock resistant are so accepted as standard nowadays so most of the times they are not even mentioned as a sales argument.

I guess many of us here may not agree on the importance of the above stated core functions or the order.

Let me guess, the date window…? And of course preferably a manual movement…!

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But let’s take off our “Purists hat” and look from “Average Joe’s” point of view for a second. He  or she don’t have a dozen watches to rotate on the wrist, most people probably often have only one watch that accompany them each day, through thick and thin, for better or worse…

And that watch they want to show time, to show date, not have to wind each day, not be afraid of getting some water on the watch or smash it and it should be accurate enough so that they doesn’t notice any abbreviations within a too short period of time.

Am I prejudiced? Maybe a bit, but let’s face it, we are a very picky bunch when it comes to our watches…!

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OK, I should stop rambling and get to the point!

There is a way to meet all the core functions stated above in a beautiful way that even hardcore Purists may approve...

JLC did it already back in 1961 with the Geomatic!

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A watch that is: Water resistant, Shock resistant, Automatic, Date and Chronometer.

This example is the Ref 399/1 with the automatic caliber 883 S, hack second, inside. Adjusted in five positions and temperatures. Certified Chronometer. Case 36.5 mm.

I think many of us see this watch as a very pure and classic looking watch. The essence of a dress watch!

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But, if you look closer you see “AUTOMATIC” printed in big capital letters very close to the logo.

Automatic, something to be proud of!

The date window - yes, it is there, eating the index at three.

Chronometer is only the third thing stated and last is the name of the watch.

Water resistant, yes according to the ad.

Shock resistant, yes as stated in the ad.

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To me the Geomatic is pure beauty! I love the long curved tapered lugs, the thin bezel, the slightly doomed sun-burst silver dial, the long thin steel hands, the also long and thin applied indexes and the doomed crystal.

Do I get disturbed by the “AUTOMATIC” on the dial? No. Would I love it even more if the date window would not be there? No.

Here I think the perfect balance is achieved.

And the cherry on the cake: The Golden medallion on the back holding the Planet sphere!

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OK, fast forward 31 years… Back in 1992 the Le Grand Maison introduced the Master Control 1000 Hours. Case 37.5 mm.

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This is not a chronometer since it has not been COSC tested. Instead JLC used the 1000 hours control.

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Still the same virtues, Time, Date, Automatic, Water resistant, Shock resistant and Accuracy.

This example is the Ref 140.8.89 with the automatic caliber 889, hack second, inside. Master Control 1000 Hours.

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The lugs are still curved tapered lugs but not as long. The bezel is a bit bigger and flatter. The slightly doomed sun-burst silver dial is not as doomed as on the Geomatic. The steel hands are shorter and dauphin shaped. The applied indexes are also shorter and pointed. The doomed crystal is replaced with an almost flat sapphire glass. All these “tweaks” are signs of the time, IMO. 1992 was not the “romantic design” era compared to the 1960’s…

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The Golden medallion on the back is still there but replaced with a Master Control symbol.

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OK, again fast forward 21 years… Back in 2012 the Le Grand Maison introduced a new version of the Master Control 1000 Hours. Smaller case, 39 mm (there were an 40 mm version for a few years but I have lost track of that versions specifics and honestly, it was not my taste, the extra mm was all on the bezel).

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Still the same functions...

This example is the Ref 176.8.40.S Jubilé 1833 with the same automatic caliber 889, hack second, inside. Master Control 1000 Hours.

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The lugs are short, a bit wider, but still curved and tapered. The bezel is even bigger and flatter. The slightly doomed sun-burst silver dial is almost flat. The steel hands are still dauphin shaped (the 40 mm version had “spear head” shaped hands). The applied indexes are still pointed. The sapphire glass is almost flat. Again, I think these alterations from the 1992 version are signs of today. Maybe not the development I would prefer but...

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The Golden medallion on the back is gone; instead there is an open case back to allow you to see the movement. This is definitely a change made due to today’s technic and fashion. The good part is that the opening is quite large to reveal almost the movement in whole. One detail I like is the rounded shape of the metal part on the back. Compared with the 1992 version which had straight angle from the center to the sides.

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So, after a long rambling – now to my question: 

Can a Purists watch meet all the core criterion’s of a modern wrist watch?

Time, Date, Automatic, Water resistant, Shock resistant and Accuracy.


In my opinion, YES!

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Then it is a matter of personal taste which one you prefer…

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Would love to hear your opinion…

 

Best

Blomman

This message has been edited by blomman on 2015-01-04 16:05:14
Comments:
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watchthatman January 4th, 2015-21:04
I vote "YES", and the current generation MC is my choice. Thanks for walking us through this Blomman. I'm not sure I appreciated the significance of the Geomatic up to this point. There are advantages and disadvantages to each version, but it always comes down to visuals for me, and the 39 mm wins there. I love ... 
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blomman Mr Blue January 5th, 2015-06:52
Thank you for your input, W.T.M! And I am very happy your preferences are for the new version. To me, that proves even more there are a modern "common" watch that also can be a Purists watch! :) Best Blomman
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amanico January 4th, 2015-22:39
Superb article, Blomman. Now, back to your question... A minimum of water resistance is required, shock resistance too. Accurate? Of course. Our life style requires all that. Wothout accuracy, you miss an appointment, a train, a plane, a post on Watchprosite, well, captial things! Automatic? Which one do you ... 
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watchthatman January 4th, 2015-23:01
Agree with you about the case back Nicolas. Like to hear your thoughts, on this: I think there is a real "sleeper" quality to the MC. For me, at least, it has an unlikely charm, given its automatic movement, date window, and the display case (none of which I usually like). I don't see it discussed often, maybe because of all the other great JLC off... 
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amanico January 5th, 2015-09:07
Yes, it has its charm, and it represents a strong link with the Geomatic. It is so obvious that I think it represents a Tribute to the Geomatic. Best, Nicolas
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blomman Mr Blue January 5th, 2015-07:00
Remember I told you the other day that I will... Make you accept the date window on a watch...?! ;) More serious, I think each watch bears the "sign of its time". Some years ago all brands launched Tourbillons, now they make multi-axis Tourbillons.... Regarding your question, which one I prefer, the Ge... 
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amanico January 5th, 2015-09:05
When the dial is a thought part of the dial, no problem. The Septantieme, the Datograph are watches which immediately come to my mind. The GP Vintage 45 Mechanics of Art, too. And yes, I think we can combine a large " audience Watch " with a PuristS taste. The Master Control can be seen as one of those. The Tri... 
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blomman Mr Blue January 5th, 2015-13:23
Yes, but the TT Reverso lacks date or automatic movement... Indeed there are watches that are popular among a wider crowd that not meet all the critera's. Still I think most people doesn't buy the TT Reverso as their first watch or their only watch. Best Blomman
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amanico January 5th, 2015-13:43
Agreed on the Reverso not being a first watch. The contradictory thing is that it is an icon. Best, Nicolas
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blomman Mr Blue January 5th, 2015-13:48
Yes, but who made it an icon...? Average Joe or "Purists"? And when did it become an icon? during the 50's, 60's and 70's the Reverso was dead... Food for thoughts... Best Blomman
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