Jaeger-LeCoultre pays tribute to an important piece from its past with the new Geophysic® 1958. The Geophysic 1958 will be offered in steel (limited 800 pieces – $9,800) and pink gold (limited 300 pieces – $20,800). As shown above, a (slightly different dialed) platinum model, limited 58 pieces, will also be offered exclusively in JLC boutiques at price tag of $32,000 on blue alligator strap. There’s a lot to like here and I’ll break it all down below.
The 38.5mm case size is small by today’s standards but a bit larger than the original which was 35mm. It has a brushed bezel and lug surfaces with brushed caseband.
The automatic mechanical JLC Cal 898/1 is also an upgrade vs. the original caliber 478BWSbr, though the 478BWSbr did incorporate the best of watchmaking technology of its age (more on this below). The Cal 898/1 has a hacking (stop) seconds, kif shock protection, Spyr gears (which JLC says are for smooth torque transmission across the gear train), a balance with micro-screws for regulation, and non-lubricant requiring ceramic ball bearings in the self-winding mechanism that will require no lubrication — AND, like the original Geophysic, a soft iron inner case for countering the effects of strong magnetic fields. Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre watches these days, the 1,000 hour control test is given to the entire watch to ensure its precision and reliability. Due to the faraday cage of course the caliber is not visible — instead the caseback displays “J” and “L” initials superimposed on a globe criss-crossed by latitude and longitude lines.
Geophysic 1958 watch in stainless steel, a limited edition of 800 timepieces, Geophysic 1958 watch in pink gold, a limited edition of 300 timepieces
Note the great looking sword-style hands with vintage coloring, as well as the lume dots running around the vertical band inside the dial. A beautiful touch of detail on this watch.
Jaeger-LeCoultre views its Geophysic chronometer as one of the most important models in its heritage. According to the brand:
It was created in 1958, the International Geophysical Year (an intersting and wide-ranging group of global science projects); its calibre 478BWSbr movement is derived from military watches and incorporates the best watchmaking technology of that time: a stop second for precise time- setting; a glucydur (beryllium bronze) balance for stability through changes in temperature and fitted with a shock absorber; a swan neck adjuster; and a soft-iron inner case for protection from strong magnetc fiels. All these features made this symbol of watchmaking expertise the perfect present for the first man to have headed an expedition beneath the North Pole, since this exceptional instrument had been designed to withstand magnetic fields of up to 600 gauss and to maintain its prodigious precision in all circumstances.
Original Geophysic® chronometer created in 1958 during the International Geophysical Year: quintessential symbol of precision and reliability with a design of undeniable purity