Most luxury diving watches are designed more for the deskbound diver whose tales of derring-do are confined more to the water cooler rather than a body of significantly deeper water with tides. But the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph series has an entirely different pedigree.
In 2011 Jaeger-LeCoultre got together with the United States Navy SEALs to produce a limited-edition version of its Master Compressor Diving watch. Now the Navy SEALs know just what they want when it comes to a diving watch, and the overall design premise of the Master series, which is clean, pure design, must have held plenty of practical design appeal, but then they put the Master Compressor through a horological hell week and introduced some changes.
The excellent JLC Master Compressor series was originally introduced in 2002. Key characteristics of the watch design include the round case and distinctive chunky crown. If you are going to get an endorsement for robust quality and extreme performance, what better than to invite the Navy SEALs in to tell you how things should be. It’s a clever ploy, because many a well heeled couch potato loves to watch movies about special forces and dangerous field tips without having to get his hands any dirtier than dipping them into the caramel popcorn.
Navy SEALs might have to see action on land, in the sea or up in the air, and any watch that accompanies a SEAL has to be able to take this in its stride. The SEALs version of this watch was given a matte finish because it was reported that the watch was simply too civilian shiny on night ops, and the bezels also parted company with the watch during some of their aggressive training exercises where they hit the dirt or encountered obstacles while underwater. A limited edition of 1,500 Navy Seals watches were made at JLC’s headquarters in Le Sentier taking on board all the tough love that the SEALs fed back to them. The result was a more robust, sturdy and extremely reliable watch. Full marks all round.
Advance a couple of years and JLC has introduced the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph 2. The new version retains much of what was learned during the years of the Navy SEALs collaboration and yet creates a watch with a more luxury haute horology aura. There’s a striking new dial, and the overall look is more technically styled with fat new faceted hands. It’s packed with features including of course seconds, a chronograph, a 30 minute counter, a 60 second counter, date at 4:30 and a tachometer scale.
The self-winding 751F calibre Jaeger-LeCoultre chronograph movement has two barrels delivering an impressive 65 hour power reserve. And, something the of which the SEALs would no doubt approve, there is also a quick-change strap system, so that, for example, a metal bracelet can be quickly changed for a rugged rubber strap.
The version featured here is the pure luxury pink gold version. You could choose to be an amateur SEAL wearing this sparkly baby, but at over $50,000 it’s a lot of watch to risk undertaking energetic escapades on land air or sea. But as an impressive, macho looking timepiece in the relative calm of the boardroom, it would more than look the part. This watch would make a rather more original substitute for a top of the line Rolex Submariner, an excellent watch, but perhaps seen on too many executive wrists. This is altogether much rarer. It’s limited to just 277 pieces so you will have to scour authorised dealers to see if anyone has decided to trade one in.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph 2 – Specifications
Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 751F Movement:
- Pieces number : 277
- Vibrations per hour : 28800
- Power-reserve : 65 Hours
- Jewels : 39
- Barrel : 2
- Height : 5.72 mm
- Hour – Minute
- Hour counter
- 30-minute counter
- 60-second counter
- Pink Gold or Stainless Steel
- Water resistance : 10 bar
- Diameter : 41.5mm
- Thickness : 13.3mm
Dial: Charcoal grey galvanic
Hands: Trapezium-shaped, skeletonised
Strap/bracelet: Pink Gold or Stainless Steel, Rubber
Buckle: Pin Buckle 20.0 mm
More resources about the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph 2 on the Official JLC Website.