How to start? With the launch of the Tribute, Jaeger-Lecoultre had the secret idea to build a whole new family with the Geophysic.
The Tribute was the first member, playing the card of the past, clearly, with one concession, the movement, which is not manual, like in the original, but automatic, with a fine setting of the balance wheel.
The Tributes ( 2014 ) :
In 2015, Jaeger-Lecoultre unveils two new Geophysics, the True Second, and the Universal Time, both sharing a new movement, the Cal 770, which offers a dead seconde ( seconde morte ), and the Cal 772, which is the Cal 770 and an Universal Time module.
How to start, once again? Let me put yourself at my place, like if you were the Jaeger-Lecoultre moderator, and what if you discovered the watch as I discovered it?
Some 18 months ago, I furtively saw the Universal Time... A steel case, with a proto dial, and no movement inside, but some explanations... Not all the informations, just a few, just to feed my curiosity...
Then, last winter, I could see the dial of the Universal Time, the case, but not the movement, again...
Till... June 2015...
I started with the making of, visiting the assembly and the encasing workshop, to see the different stages of the movement. I prefer to say it right now, I had to wait the lunch to see the watches... So I will treat you as I was treated...
But allow me to start with a confidence. If I knew that Jaeger-Lecoultre was working on the Universal Time, I more recently discovered that they also had another watch under their sleeve, the True Second.
So, to better appreciate these two watches, I suggest to start with a quick part of history about the Dead Seconds, then to see the making of this new movement, to see the watches in question, then to end with some general thoughts.
1/ A quick part of history about Dead Seconds.
We had to wait till the middle of the XVIIIth century to see a second hand on the dial of a pocket watch.
Since then, watchmakers worked on a solution to stop the second hand.
Jean Romilly introduced the first dead second, as soon as 1754.But to stop the second hand, you had to stop the movement. First and logical solution.
A more complex solution was to create a second gear train to engage or stop the second hand " à la demande ", WITHOUT stopping the movement. That is the idea behind the INDEPENDANT dead second.
It seems that the father of the independant dead second is Jean Moise Pouzait, and that this sophistication was born in 1776. The dead second has a hand which makes a jump every second, as we can commonly see in any quartz watch from nowadays.
A very few years later- 4 or 5- Lecoultre unveiled his own vision of the dead second, associated to a... Minute Repeater.
The movement is the Cal 19/20 RMSMI- standing for Répétition Minute Seconde Morte Indépendante- which was submitted to the Observatory of Neuchatel on the 18th of August, 1881.
134 years after, Jaeger-Lecoultre comes back to the dead second, with the Cal 770 / 772.
2/ The assembly and the encasing of the new movement, Cal 770.
I started by the ( almost ) beginning, with the installation of the cannon-pinion, which will receive the hands.
As you can see, there are no details about the movement, nothing to give you an idea about how it will look like.
Now, it is time to take care about the wheels...
To mount them with the different screws:
To install the balance wheel, the escapement, and to check that all the tolerances are ok:
Then, you assemble the different decorated bridges,
And you start to have a good idea of how the movement will look like.
Then you install the date disc, the dial ( here, of the True Second ), and then you use a machine to perfectly put the hands on their cannon-pinion.
Of course, after installing the hands, you have to check that the date ( on the True Second ) changes at exactly midnight...
It is maybe time to have a short glance at the dials of these two novelties, and I am pretty sure you will not disagree with this idea...
The rose gold Geophysic Universal Time:
The Rose Gold True Second:
3/ The Geophysic Universal Time, and the True Second.
I have to be honest, as I knew that the Geophysic Universal Time was in the pipe line for some time, I was most excited by this project than by the True Second, which I discovered more recently. It is the famous story of the train which may hide another one...
The base is of course the same, the True Second movement, Cal 770, which has the reference 772 when it receives the extra complication of the Universal Time, the case whose shape is the same, even if the dimensions differ, the see through case back.
Let's first see the most interesting part of these watches, their movement.
As said, the Cal 772 is a Cal 770 WITH an Universal Time complication, WITHOUT a date. Which explains that the technical characteristics are very close: Same alternance ( 28 800 beats per hour ), same power reserve ( 40 hours ), same number of jewels ( 36 ), and almost the same number of parts ( 275 for the Cal 770 / 274 for the Cal 772 ).
A word on the power reserve. When Jaeger Lecoultre says that the power reserve is xx hours, they mean the optimal relation between the autonomy and the amplitude, which is 40 hours for the Cal 770 / 772, while it can run a bit more ( 45 / 47 hours ), but in a less accurate way.
That being said, the Cal 770 is a totally new movement: The architecture, bridges and main plate, is totally re designed, as well as the new rotor, made in solid gold, very open, to show more details of the movement, with the JL logo shaped as an anchor.
The bridges and plate receive a Cotes De Genève decoration. The bevels are not polished, but not bad looking at all:
What you first see is pleasing.
But that is not all... What you don't see at first sight deserves some interest.
Here, I want to mention the balance wheel, which is specially shaped, a bit in the way of a Formula One steering wheel.
New? Not really, as this original balance wheel saw the light in the... Extreme Lab One, from 2007. Hence its name: Gyrolab.
The interest of such a design for the balance wheel? I've been told that it helped to reduce air friction. Is that measurable? I will have to investigate further... But, theoretically, less friction=more energy=a movement is easier to adjust=it is more accurate.
After the entries, let's go for the main course, suggested by the name of the watch, the True Second.
Here some live pictures of the movement with...
... And without rotor, to show you where are the 4 wheels dedicated to the true second.
While a conventional second is directly linked to the escapement via a direct gear train, the " seconde morte " has a second gear train which releases the first gear train every second. So, the first gear train " gathers " the information about the second, while the second gear train releases the information each second.
A picture of the 4 wheels, and the second barrel will allow to to better understand how this dead second works:
Another thing these True Second and the Universal Time have in common, the buckles.
On the steel versions, Jaeger Lecoultre opted for a redesigned folding buckle:
While on the rose gold, you have the pin buckle of the Tribute to Geophysic.
Despite their common points, these 2 watches are radically different in their spirit.
- THE TRUE SECOND:
The True Second is a classic watch, with a very... How to say? Discrete? Serious? Austere look?
When I was at the Manufacture for this report, I could see the prototypes, mounted with a dial which will not be in production, but I had the opportunity to see the definitive dial ( for the rose gold ) separately.
As you can see, the prototype dial is almost free of any wording, other than the brand. While the definitive dial will receive two extra " lines ".
The prototype dial ( steel ) :
The definitive dial ( rose gold )
And now, the definitive dial mounted in the watch:
The True Second is the first Geophysic ever made to receive a date.
Is this THE watch for a date, that will certainly generate a passionate discussion.
Even if the True Second and the World Time are extrapolations of the Geophysic, I am not in favor of a date.
After the automatic movement, the introduction of a date is a true second compromise ( pun assumed ).
The date changes around midnight, it is not an instantaneous one, BUT it can be set forward and backward, as it is coupled to the hours hand.
Still, I can't help thinking that, without date, and without these extra 2 lines, this watch would have pleased me a lot.
Something you have to know about the True Second is that the hour hand can move alone, I mean with or without moving the minute hand. Practical when you travel in a different time zone and that you want to set the time without touching the minute hand.
Another nice detail is the textured dial, and the baton hands, which are filled with " patined " luminova. You will find the round dots all around the sapphire glass, too, which is another part of the Geophysic DNA.
The case of the True Second is a Geophysic case, with its angular lugs, its macho look. Powerful, quite efficient, I must say.
The case is brushed on its side, polished on the lugs and bezel. A nice play of light:
It is 39, 6 mm big, while the Tribute was 38, 5mm. Still, the proportions are quite good, in my opinion, with a 11, 7 mm height.
The bezel slightly overcomes the case.
The screw in case back is not solid, which allows you to have a look at the new movement:
With the screw in case back, the water resistance is 50 meters.
- THE UNIVERSAL TIME:
Let's repeat it to avoid any confusion, the Universal Time is also a true second, which is unique, as far as I know, in the world timers category.
Here, you are in a totally different dimension.
-> Physically, first, as the case is bigger than the True Second one. Here, the height is close ( 11, 84 mm instead of 11, 7 mm ) but the diameter is more important: 41, 6 mm.
Though, strangely, the difference in size is not that obvious, in the real. You have to put them side by side to really notice the difference.
The case, and its caracteristic powerful lugs:
The screw in case back, with its view on the Cal 772:
But the most important is the charism of this watch, which is due to the dial, and, of course the complication.
Some wrist shots, now, to show you how it sits on my normally sized ( 17 cm ) wrist:
From " La Maison D'Antoine ", located at the last floor of the Manufacture:
How cool it is!
In rose gold or in steel, the dial is representing the Earth from the north pole, which represents a nod to the Nautilus, the first submarine to go there, in August 1957. The engraved continents are golden, to match with the colored gold case, and in silver, for the steel version.
Both versions have the sea and ocean lacquered in different shades of blue.
The aesthetical outcome is superb, from my point of view.
Impression of depth, a very living character, charm, poetry, you are traveling without having to take a plane...
The disc of the cities of the world is fixed. Which explains that you don't have an extra crown or pusher to turn it ( Patek, Montblanc, Girard Perregaux WW TC ( first generation). Even if some brands, such as Vacheron or Girard Perregaux, with its latest Traveler WW TC, if my memory serves me well, allow the owner to set the ring of the cities through the crown.
The location of the cities corresponds to the map of the world, as you can see. On the left part of the dial, the cities from the West, on the right, the cities from the East. Intuitive.
So, Jaeger-Lecoultre opted for a fixed ring of the cities to not ruin the match between them and the map of the world, and for a simpler use of the complication.
Then you have the 24 hours ring. That one turns, coupled to the hour hand, and gives you the time everywhere in the world, in a simple glance.
To set your time, local or home, as you want, you pull the crown at the first level, and the hour hand will jump, backward or forward till it is in coordination with the time of your town. The 24 hours ring will show the same hour.
On the example below, you see that the hours ring shows, above Paris, 10, as well as the hour hand. 10 AM, not PM, as it would show 22, on the 24 hours ring.
Then, you precisely set the time ( hours and minutes ) by pulling the crown at the second level.
In the meantime, you know what time it is everywhere in the world without having to do any other manipulation. So, in London, it is 9. 10 AM, in New York 4. 10 AM, in Los Angeles 1. AM AM and so on... No manipulations, no calculations, you just have to read.
You certainly noticed the presence of two screws on the dial on the Universal Time ". I asked why, and I've been explained that while the classical solution was to fix the dial through its 2 feet and the pressure of the bezel, this was not possible on the Universal Time, because the 24 hours ring was moving.
So, in case of shock, the dial has to be screwed to not move.
Some more extra shots.
4/ GENERAL THOUGHTS:
I am quite excited and pleased to be the witness of a new family birth.
When it comes to the Geophysic, the name being cult, the discussions are always passionate, and that's a good thing.
Now, each new member of the new family has to be judged for its inner value.
The Geophysic True Second and Universal Time are true real watches, let's say at 90 %.
Indeed, the case is not new, but receives bigger dimensions, while the rest is all new: Hands, dial, see through case back, and movement.
The Jaeger Lecoultre fans complained about the fact that there was not new movement, this year, it is now done.
And nicely done, in my opinion, as this new calibre is interesting, pleasant to see, and technical.
Now, about these 2 new watches, I would say that I appreciate the " intellectuality " and the mechanical sophistication of the True Second, its relative coldness, but I cannot come down to the presence of the date, in a Geophysic.
That's the vintage Geophysic fan in me who has an issue with that. It would have been called Geomatic True Second, I would have applauded. Or that one, without date would have seduced me, too. But Geophysic with a date... I am not ready for that.
As for the Geophysic Universal Time, that is a totally different story. I am deeply in love with that one.
It is a nice fiction, or evolution, as you want, from and of the Geophysic. The name Geophysic is an invitation to adventures, expeditions, experiences, and in that spirit, all these words are turning around another one: Travels. Which is the natural link with an Universal Time watch. Which is very à propos, in my opinion.
And, as it is a true Jaeger-Lecoultre, it offers something innovative, the combination of a dead second and a world time.
Add the fact that the dial is superb, and you have excellent reasons to fall in love with that watch.
Rose Gold or Steel? A matter of taste, both being tempting, but, as often, I would go for the steel:
One detail I regret, though: The fact that the cities of the world ring is fixed.
When I travel with a world time, I like to move my reference city in the time zone I am travelling. I cannot do that with the Universal Time.
But this is not a big deal, at least not something which would lead me to not desire this watch.
You won't have to wait some long months before seeing these two Geophysic in the flesh, since the first ones are available right now.
The retail, in steel, will be around 9 K euros for the True Second, and 14 000 Euros for the Universal Time ( 14 400 Euros, precisely ).
Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts,
Nicolas This message has been edited by amanico on 2015-09-29 22:18:42 This message has been edited by amanico on 2015-09-30 08:46:02 This message has been edited by amanico on 2015-10-03 08:08:24