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Thread: Cashed in my Rolex chips

  1. #1
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    Kent - UK

    Cashed in my Rolex chips

    Two Rolexes out, one Jaeger-LeCoultre in. Collection down to three.

    Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche

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    (not a great picture of the blued minor hands... but it’s night and I’ve just got an iPhone and a table lamp)

    Jaeger-LeCoultre - La Grande Maison de la Vallée de Joux, and a byword for restrained and timeless elegance. There are JLC models that don’t fit that general description, but the Réserve de Marche is firmly in the tradition. Jaeger-LeCoultre has made a réserve de marche model since 1948, but has only used it as a model name since the introduction of the Master line in 1993. The predecessor to the Réserve de Marche was in the ‘Gentilhomme’ range of the 1980s. Whilst appropriate and descriptive at the time, Gentilhomme would sound a little affected today. Out with Gentleman, in with Master!

    It’s not a recent infatuation that has led me to the Réserve de Marche. It was seven years ago that I first handled one at the JLC boutique in Bond Street, and it’s been a favourite ever since. I had a budget substitute for a while in the shape of an Orient Star. The particular appeal of the Réserve de Marche is - the réserve de marche. It’s a minority point of view, but a power reserve indicator is my favourite feature on a watch face after hour and minute hands. My purchase of a Grand Seiko with a power reserve indicator confirmed my preference, lessening the appeal of my two Rolexes. You can’t just get any old watch to replace a Rolex (let alone two), and Jaeger-LeCoultre was the obvious place to go.

    I love the look. Refined and classical, modest but distinguished. Poised and balanced, regardless of asymmetry. Minimal text on the dial, and the most self-effacing brand logo you could wish for. Immaculate detailing for when you’re in the mood to focus on it. A low millimetre count (39 x 9.85) meaning that it doesn’t announce itself too loudly. In human form it would be a quietly assured diplomat, adept in any situation.

    There may be more celebrated ultra thin models, but they don’t do the job I want. The moon phase version is undeniably lovely, but loveliness wasn’t my absolute priority, and wasn’t enough reason to lose the two Rolexes. There’s also a striking blue version of the Réserve de Marche (and a black one), but I wanted it standard and understated.

    Nice round the back too -

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    (stock picture)

    Looking at my three watches (three!) together, the JLC and Grand Seiko have a few things in common, but they have a different character. Intangible factors may play a part in that. Objectively, both are just industrial products, but there’s no mistaking the aristocratic air of Jaeger-LeCoultre. With nearly two hundred years behind it, Jaeger-LeCoultre was the engine that drove the growth of watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux, and you can’t bottle that, or replicate it. Assuming some knowledge of the history, a modern Jaeger-LeCoultre can take you back to 1833, and to a workshop built among the beehives on the family farm. The workshop is still there, forming the entrance to the modern production facility, and Jaeger-LeCoultre still makes honey. Yes, it requires a romantic view, but that’s part and parcel of Swiss watches.

    There’s only one problem with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche - it’s too many words. Oh, and the date display isn’t super-legible for older eyes, but I was ready for that and don’t mind.

    I must say it’s nice having a top watch that isn’t so obviously a top watch. I’m not shy or wary of prestigious labels, but I quite like first glance anonymity. JLC has that oblique quality, for all of its renown. It helps that it’s on an unremarkable (but very nice) strap. The watch might be expensive but it’s an undemandingly casual thing to own and wear.

    Current collection:

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    Neato. 🙂

    Buying it

    With the original cost of the two Rolexes long absorbed in the past, impeccable enthusiast logic told me that the Jaeger-LeCoultre was free. Better than that, the Rolexes had made me money, so there was no reason not to give myself the Bond Street experience, rather than wait for a grey market parcel. Also, the last time I had been to the Bond Street shop was in 2012, when collecting the restored Memovox that had belonged to a deceased friend. There was a nice circularity in going back, and now that I’m a rural recluse, it was a rare day out in London.

    As it happens, the grey dealer bargains aren’t always what they seem. The RdM received a solid gold rotor in 2017, and grey dealers don’t always show a picture of the back...

    Some might spot a flaw in my enthusiast logic. My Rolex equity is lost, never to be recovered - but it doesn’t matter when a Jaeger-LeCoultre is free, and so was the restaurant bill for two.

    Size: 39 mm x 9.85 mm
    Dial: slightly curved, silvered, sunray-brushed, rhodium-plated hour-markers
    Hands: dauphine-style with dual finish, polished on one side, matte on the other, enhancing legibility
    Date adjustment: recessed button above crown
    Water resistance: 50 m
    Movement: automatic, calibre 938, 22k pink gold rotor

    Stray facts
    • Jaeger-LeCoultre was the first to make a watch with a power reserve indicator in 1948. (Ref. E163, calibre 481)
    • Some of the standard Master Control models are thinner than some of the Master Control Ultra Thin models.
    • According to one report, the Réserve de Marche is the biggest seller of the Master Control models, but I’m not sure I believe it. The bloke in the shop said the Moonphase sells most, followed by the Réserve de Marche.

  2. #2
    That is a beautiful piece. I'm surprised you'd give up your Rolexes, but I can't fault the decision. Congratulations.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    The Gathering Place
    That's a very nice JLC and the fact that you love it shows in the post . . . that said, I'm more impressed with the fact that you an keep your collection to 3 watches

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  6. #4
    I must not be paying enough attention because I thought I had a rough idea of your collection but I can't remember seeing any of those three?!

    Regardless, your enthusiast logic is faultless and you're running your own race with your principles: power reserves, low key, thin and wearable with branding of lesser importance. For all your talk of understated though, there is a party going on in the back with that rotor that has nearly rude levels of appeal. Crikey.

    I've dodged Rolex and feel all the better for it. I'm not sure how things went in the past but for someone walking into the room over the last couple of years, trying to acquire them from ADs is damaging to my self-respect.
    Last edited by yokied; Jun 6, 2019 at 02:42 AM.

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  8. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by tribe125 View Post
    With the original cost of the two Rolexes long absorbed in the past, impeccable enthusiast logic told me that the Jaeger-LeCoultre was free.
    Superb horological logic.

  9. #6
    Porous Membrane skywatch's Avatar
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    I keep haunting JLC watches. I love their understated aesthetics. I totally understand the swap with two Rolexii. This is beautiful.

    (Now, when you say "three watches" I am guessing you do not count G-Shocks... )
    Too many watches, not enough wrists.

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  11. #7
    That’s beautiful. It’s also strangely familiar... I have ridiculous tall tale for you. Once upon a time:

    I’m pretty sure it’s in a box of rubbish somewhere if it would amuse...

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  13. #8
    Congratulations, but trust me on this one. As much as you admire that dial today, you will grow to admire it more a year from now.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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  15. #9
    Congrats! I would of done the same as that watch is a beauty.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk


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  17. #10
    I see your shenanigans rodia77's Avatar
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    Dec 2014
    Cork, IE
    Congrats on your new acquisition!

    Quote Originally Posted by tribe125 View Post
    Dial: slightly curved, silvered, sunray-brushed, rhodium-plated hour-markers
    Looks like enamel on your black and white pic.

    Hands: dauphine-style with dual finish, polished on one side, matte on the other, enhancing legibility
    They do that?
    How does the legibility of hands and markers compare with your GS in low-light conditions? I'm asking because I've lately noticed that my SRP241 is surprisingly legible with its unlumed markers.
    I'm sorted and so not buying any more watches.

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