From Jaeger-LeCoultre comes a trio of new mens watches styled to pay tribute to a very special timepiece which was originally created in 1958. There is more than a hint of nostalgia in the new Jaeger-LeCoultre models, but they are not simply re-issues of an “ordinary” vintage model – back in the day their Geophysic watch really was something else.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 – Tough As Old Boots
Flashback to 1958 – the first time that 67 nations – that’s both East and West – came together despite their political differences for the International Geophysical Year, and pooled together their best scientific minds, and their bravest explorers in the name of science in order to find out more about how our world works. In August of that year, the first ever atomic submersible vessel USS Nautilus made a highly covert transit from one ocean to the other using the most direct route, beneath the ice which covers the Arctic.
At a first glance the Captains of the Nautilus may have thought that their new Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic timepieces which were presented to them on completion of their perilous voyage were rather nice dress watches, something to slip beneath a tuxedo cuff perhaps, but – despite its understated aesthetics, the 1958 model was as tough as old boots, and its Calibre 478BWSbr was packed with military specification watchmaking technology, including a stability-promoting glucydur balance and anti-magnetic properties.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 – Precision and Durability
Jaeger-LeCoultre are extremely adept at handling tribute pieces sensitively, so it follows that the 2014 Geophysic models capture the spirit of the original, with almost all of its endearing features remaining intact. The cases have been upsized to 38.5mm but even so they remain firmly in the under 40mm vintage genre. Inside, Jaeger-LeCoultre have equipped the pieces with enough up to date technology to ensure that these watches do not simply pay lip-service to the 1958 edition.
The in-house Calibre 898/1 has a precision-boosting high rate of 28,000 vibrations per hour, adjustments can be made using the screws set into the rim, it uses a spyr gearing system for smoother power transfer to the gear train, ceramic ball bearings wind the piece giving a power reserve of 43 hours, without the need for lubrication and a soft-iron case protects against magnetism.
The original Geophysic model was limited in numbers, so much so that if you have an original in your collection then hat-tip to you for having a keen eye for a classic. Alas the model which follows its styling the closest – the boutique issue platinum-cased edition, is also the rarest, with a release of just 58 pieces. It has the same face-on plainness as the 1958 model, with minimal numerals, elongated hour markers and whisker-slim minute markers. Easier then to source either the rose gold-cased model, limited to 300 pieces or the steel edition, less exclusive at 800 pieces. These two editions have applied numerals at each quarter, and feature a superb cross-hairs on the lower dial. All models have grained white dials, generous dagger-shaped hands and lume-coated dots, not on the face but the inner bezel ring. A caseback engraving on all the models features a chunky J and L logo superimposed onto a representation of the globe with lines of latitude and longitude.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 – Price
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 in stainless steel will retail for $9,800 and be limited to 800 pieces worldwide. The Geophysic in Rose Gold will retail for $20,800 and will be limited to 300 pieces worldwide. And in platinum will be limited to just 58 pieces worldwide, sold exclusively through JLC boutiques. The price for this watch will be $32,000.