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Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Here is kind of an interesting fact that I have admittedly brought up before but want to say again because I think it is sort of funny… The movement inside of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time, which is the world time version of the also newer Geophysic True Second (hands-on here), has just one more component than the non-world time version. No doubt, there is a good engineering reason for this, but us watch nerds like to obsess and fantasize over why this is. The in-house-made Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 770 in the Geophysic True Second has 270 parts, whereas the caliber 772 in this Geophysic Universal Time has 271 parts. Why, I wonder.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

In the crafting of this article, I won’t have an answer for you – other than my presumption that the world time indication’s disc can be driven off of the “normal” hour hand’s wheel by simply adding just one wheel – though I am sure that the good people at Jaeger-LeCoultre will honor me with an answer that is surely not as interesting as the reasons I can make up in my head. Perhaps there is a magic single “monolithic” component which adds a world time indicator disc to this otherwise fun and interesting new family of dead-beat (I mean, “True Second”) movements from our friends in Le Sentier, Switzerland.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It has taken me a while to become a fan of watches with globes on them, but the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time (which we debuted here back in 2015) is one that I would proudly wear. It sort of mixes the concepts of being the right type of world traveler nerd and an important person who gets to sit in an “information room.” Well, perhaps an information room circa 1950, which is when Jaeger-LeCoultre originally released its Geophyic watches, only to have the “science-minded” collection come back in 2014. With that said, I feel that the Geophysic True Second and Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time watches really helped the revived collection hit their stride due to the inclusion of the movements.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A science/engineer-minded watch validates the entire point of a dead-beat seconds hand and helps the presence of the complication makes sense. Rather than trying to follow (and count) the ceaseless flow of a sweeping seconds hand, the power of a dead-beat seconds hand is that it stops on each individual seconds indicator marker. This makes it much easier to count the seconds, especially when you are sitting in the information (war) room counting down the happening of some important potentially country-ending event. As much as we love the elegant grace of how traditional seconds hands flow on most mechanical watches, they leave us utterly incapable of accurately counting “five, four, three, two, one…”

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I’m confident enough in my love of mechanical watches to wear one with a dead-beat seconds hand, even running the risk of someone without as much esoteric horological knowledge as me inadvertently mistaking my mechanical watch for a quartz one. I know, the thought is borderline horrific, but what can you expect from lay enthusiasts who have been trained to judge a timepiece by the motion of its seconds hand. Can you blame them for mistakenly thinking your fancy Jaeger-LeCoultre might contain something other than a mechanical movement. What if they claim it is a fake!

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It is entirely possible I am totally overthinking the real-world wearing experience of a dead-beat seconds watch, but as watch lovers, our nature is to obsesses over small details. I’ll return now to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time and remind you that, in addition to the “True Second” hand, it also contains Gyrolab. Like the caliber 770, the 772 is fitted with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s brand new balance wheel that they call Gyrolab. More aerodynamic than a traditional wheel-style oscillator, this 4Hz (28,800 bph) operating system benefits from reduced air drag and this improves isochronism – in other words, accuracy over time. These are all things a proper engineering-minded timepiece should be concerned with.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The automatic caliber 772 is traditional in its layout of the world time complication which consists of a 24-hour disc on the dial which, when used with the adjacent reference time city indicator, allows the user to immediately know the time in any of the major 24 time zones right away. It is a system used in many timepieces and endures not only for its elegant design, but its effortless utility. The particular design of the gold- or silver-toned globe in relief on the dial is handsome, and I am very happy that Jaeger-LeCoutlre decided to produce the face in a slightly three-dimensional manner. I find some other world time dials to be quite flat-feeling, which detracts from their appeal, in my opinion. The dial is also fitted with applied hour markers and a fresh set of tool-watch-style hands that I happen to find quite attractive (and which are also painted with SuperLumiNova luminant).

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I actually think I have an answer to my above question about why the caliber 770 and 772 movements have such a similar number of parts. I just realized that the 770 has a date complication whereas the 772 does not. That could quite easily be the answer. Going back to the dial of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time, you have the distinctive points of luminant on the periphery of the dial as well as the purposeful-looking screws just under 12 o’clock and over 6 o’clock. It really is a handsome dial and benefits from being quite useful to boot.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The brand has sized the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time a bit larger than the True Second. The latter has a case which is 39.6mm wide, while the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time is 41.6mm wide, and 11.84mm thick. For me, this is extremely wearable and, while not everyday is a “world-map-dial-watch day,” I think the right person can get away with wearing this timepiece on a mostly regular basis. The case is further water resistant to 50 meters, and in addition to the well AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial, there is another one over the caseback offering a view of the movement.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It isn’t cheap, but I think that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time is going to be one of the sleeper hits of the next few years. Jaeger-Lecoultre seems hell-bent on reminding you about “Reverso, Reverso, Reverso,” but the character of the brand is much more diverse, and their ability to produce things like both movements and cases gives the uniquely positioned watch maker an ability to engage in projects like the Geophysic, whereas other watch brands could not. The mixture of style and technical prowess work well here, and there are few other newer world time watches that seem to have this much enduring appeal.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time is produced as the reference 8102520 in 18k pink gold as well as the reference 8108420 in steel. Prices are $25,000 and $15,000 respectively. jaeger-lecoultre.com

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  • word-merchant

    After Bremont’s cracker toy yesterday, thanks for reviewing proper watches again.

  • A_watches

    simply love it. on the buy list

  • BrJean

    I’m not a fan of renewed Geophysic collection. The simpler version with no world time indication looked like a plain office workers’s watch in which no adventure and exploration mood was captured (that’s what Geophysic is all about, right?). The previous installment better delivered this message with a help of unusual shape of hands and crosshair in the middle of the dial (http://ablogtowatch.com/jaeger-lecoultre-geophysic-watches-hands ). Moreover, dead aka true seconds is a questionable complication for my taste.

    This model definitely looks more ‘Geophysic’ and detailing of the dial is really great. But I still think that JLC could come up with something much more impressive for that Collection.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    Am I seeing 2 (two) pictures with a mis-aligned hour hand?

    • iamcalledryan

      Which ones? It’s fully aligned in the pics I think.

      • Boogur T. Wang

        Maybe it’s just me, but both are on this page, featuring Bangkok & Karachi (one upside down – one not) in the pic, with an hour hand approaching 1800 hrs.
        Looks like it is slightly mis-aligned, the hour hand that is.
        Probably not – just my bad interpretation.

        • iamcalledryan

          I am not 100% sure what you are seeing, but the hour hand should only be read against the hour markers, and in terms of the hour markers and the minute hand it’s completely aligned. When you are looking for world time you read it off the rotating 24hr ring against the centre of the city name. So on the steel version, telling the local time as 6:07, Bangkok is showing as 17:07, Karachi 15:07, and the local time is set to Hong Kong or St. Barth. The ring is always engaged with the motionwork, so it doesn’t jump, it slowly rotates – perhaps that’s the confusion?

    • Chaz

      Not sure what you’re seeing but last week when I was playing with one at my local AD, I noticed quite quickly that when I put the minute hand up exactly at 12, the hour hand was not aligning directly on the hour it should have been.
      QC issues at the factory??

  • iamcalledryan

    Hi Ariel, the answer to your mystery lies not in the single part that they added to this model, but in the exchange of parts. The date mechanism in the regular Geophysic uses a similar number of parts, even a similar reduction gearing, it’s just a little more complex to execute the world time. It’s still really interesting to note the similarity in part count, and something that will further fuel the distaste for date windows!

    Just one part, but they took 10 steps back and 11 forward.

  • ??????

    Appreciate what they did with the dial, but for me the hands are simply lost above it. Would prefer simplier 3-hander Geophysic.
    BTW, you may get Bremont Jaguar or SAVE A BIT and get JLC Geophysic True Second 3-hander LOL

  • Marius

    I find this to be a fantastic watch: it has a beautiful dial and a great movement. However, my main problem with this watch is the price. I mean, a three-hander Geophysic offers one of the best values on the market today: for around Euro 8,000 you can buy a watch from a top-tier brand, equipped with a great movement, and a high-quality case and dial. So, I don`t quite understand why this Universal Time is almost twice as expensive. Also, at this price you are getting into Audemars, Vacheron and Lange teritorry. Of course, you won`t be able to buy a Vacheron or Lange Worldtime for this; however, for $15,000 I`d rather get the new Lange Saxonia in rose gold.

  • I like this watch a lot, the movement looks great and classic JLC and the dial is quite nice. The big problem though is that this world timer style is not that original and JLC finds themselves dangerously in the middle tier pricing for a world timer of this type. If you want an affordable world timer with globe dial Montblanc has you covered, if you want luxury Vacheron’s looks very similar and then there is the pinnacle in the Patek world timer. JLC has a much more interesting and unique way of displaying a second time zone and location in the master geographic, I wish they put more focus there.

    -Amateur horologist

    Check out https://amateurhorologist.wordpress.com/

    • Luciano

      I believe that argument would apply to the entire Montblanc portfolio. Their approach is basically replicating the good designs from JLC and similar at a lower price point. Another good example of this similarity is the JLC Master Hometime

      • Very true Luciano, although you could as easily say JLC copied Vacheron at a lower price point and Vacheron copied Patek at a (slightly) lower pricepoint. Every watch has a genesis point, its more a style v. value question where I think JLC is in danger here. The geophysic is all theirs and they should embrace that.

        Also, for those interested, there is a new post up on https://amateurhorologist.wordpress.com/

  • This is how Patek does their worldtimer; notice how it doesn’t need a map for the wearer to know how worldtimers work.

    • True, but Patek does use a map on what I would say is their best looking world timer, its about aesthetic preferences at that point

      • Well, you might say that. I might say that it looks like an illustration from the inside front cover of a fantasy novel. I can almost see King’s Landing under that hour hand. 🙂

        • SuperStrapper

          Renly is marching up the roseroad with his vast host, you can see it just below.

      • Reprobus Marmaritarum

        Holy cow. The top one’s beautiful, but the hideous psychedelic one with the ghastly font made my eyes puke up a little.

  • Rupert Muller

    Again and again, the same press text is quoted “… Gyrolab… improves isochronism…”. Again and again I am asking: who will finally do the test?
    I think true watch journalism would not just repeat what the marketing department is claiming. Hey, Ariel, the watch world is curious if those statements are true! And I am pretty sure you would have the means to test it… 😉

  • watchguy

    I bought a PG Geophysic WT since it came out last year. The dial is an absolute beauty in its own right. No doubt about that it is one of the best looking dial out in the market in terms of its color scheme, Well done JLC desigh group ! My suggestion to JLC for improvement on this watch is its wear comfort. Since the back case of the watch is raised like an extra step, I wish the lugs were a bit longer and more curved around the arm for comfort and security. No hesitation, go get this master piece as part of your collection.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Meh

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    They could loose the two screws going through the dial. Cheapens the look.

  • mandimemike

    A triumph from JLC. The remontoire as mentioned, is a complication that many who longed for such a watch from a storied brand could not acquire due to their exclusivity (Habring2 notwithstanding). Until now. As if this weren’t enough, we’re treated to the gyrolab balance which promises next level rate performance. My simple 822 keeps effortless stability, easily besting it’s watch box neighbors (which include a 72, 1863, & 65-01). The icing on the cake is the fantastic dial comprising sapphire elements, gradient shading, and wonderful depth from the map in relief. My guess regarding parts count vs. cost against the 3 hand version must come from complexity of assembly of above/below dial elements and of course the dial itself which is understandably complex and expensive to create. I knew when JLC released the True Beat, that it would displace every other watch on my wish list.

  • egznyc

    I’m not sure why there would be greater isochronism due to lessened air drag with the Gyrolab. I would have thought that the inside of a watch has no air, because with a vacuum such problems could be avoided. But it’s only an assumption on my part, and that there would be a different reason for their unique “balance-wheel” to perform in a superior manner. Can anyone say if in fact the air is – or could be – removed before sealing the movement inside?

    • Antti Viitala

      Air could be removed (or replaced with mineral oil in some cases) from the watch case, but I have never heard of just air being removed. Even if you think about water resistance of pretty much any watch, it is instantly compromised when you need to set the time – so any vacuum or low pressure inside the case would be extremely difficult to maintain if the watch was to be used or the time set regularly. It’s just not really worth the effort.

      • Reprobus Marmaritarum

        Cartier created a concept watch with a vacuum in it. Look up the Cartier ID Two. .

    • Rupert Muller

      No, the air is not removed before sealing a watch. As Antti stated, it would be difficult to maintain a watch in this state. Not to mention the extremely intricate assembly…

      However, there was one watch that had vacuum in its case. It didn’t even have screws to hold the different case components together. The watch was a concept watch and therefore not available on the market: Cartier ID two.
      http://ablogtowatch.com/cartier-id-two-concept-watch-goodbye-metal/

    • arequo

      Do you know the atmospheric pressure that we are subjected to without noticing? Try sucking out the air of a glas bottle and see what happens. Your lungs won’t be capable of achieving this but if a machine were to suck out the air of a glas bottle it would implode. Thats because the air at sea level weighs around 1 kilogram per square centimeter. Yeah, thats right! While you read this over a ton of air is putting pressure on your skin (your skin has thousands of square centimeters). You don’t feel it because there is equal force inside your body pushing outwards. Fun fact: Since there is no air in space putting pressure on you, your body would blow up like a balloon. Thats why we need space suits and not just oxygen tanks in space. A LOT of science fiction gets this wrong by the way.

      In any case, you can see how it would be next to impossible to create a watch case that has a vacuum inside with hundreds of kilos of air putting pressure on the case and the seals.

      • egznyc

        That’s pretty surprising, and counter-intuitive. After all, water is MUCH denser (thus heavier) than the same volume of air, but the fact that watches aren’t easily imploded by the force of water suggests that a watch is capable of withstanding some pretty serious pressures, with nothing more than the strength of the case, the crystal, and whatever amount of air trapped inside. It is hard to see why this is so, if by simply removing the atmospheric gas from the inside would implode the watch – more effectively than hundreds of meters of water pressure from the outside of the watch. I’m not questioning your premise, but pointing out why it’s hard to see why this should be the case for a layman.

        • arequo

          I don’t know if the watch would implode if all the gas were removed from the inside. But i think the air would gradually find its way back inside the watch, because the case and the seals would be under constant pressure.

          It is hard enough to make a watch water resistant. As you may know a 300 meter water resistance stamp doesn’t mean you can dive 300 meters with that watch. Water will get inside a lot sooner. In fact, if your watch has a lower than 50 meter water resistance stamp, you shouldn’t even take it with you in the shower.

          The watch doesn’t implode under water because there is air inside the watch which helps to counter the water pressure. If you dive too deep and the water pressure gets too high the seals let water in before the watch implodes. Once the watch is filled with water the pressure difference between the outside and the inside of the watch is gone.

          • egznyc

            Well as you know, I am the layman when it comes to materials science and the effects of these pressures on the materials. Your explanation makes a great deal of sense: that the seals will be compromised before anything is likely to happen to the other parts of the case and crystal. Back to your first response, what you said about space suits is certainly true, from what I’ve read elsewhere!

  • spiceballs

    Pretty watch – specially for the northern hemispherix or arctic circlers. Pardon my ignorance, but why are some city names red

  • cg

    OMG! Look at that awful mapping. No color or accuracy. Borders on amateurish. Is this a veiw of the future desert world? Are they pushing the global warming myth? A world timer propaganda watch!

    • watchguy

      Apparently, this watch can only be appreciated by someone with certain level of vivid imagination.

    • BrJean

      >> veiw of the future desert world
      Just imagined Mad Max wearing this watch…

  • SuperStrapper

    Hideous. The map on the dial looks like something from an NES-era Metal Gear game, only shittier.

  • Timestandsstill

    I love this watch and have had a true world timer on my list for some time…..this is one I have seriously considered since it was released… If I could afford it I would get the VC but that Patek Phillipe enamel dial is just in a class by itself

  • Just wrote a bit about the history and usefulness of GMT/Dual time/World time watches. It really is a great complication that remains useful today. While JLC is wading into some seriously competitive waters it is always good to see more watches using these complications.

    -Amateur Horologist

    Check out – https://amateurhorologist.wordpress.com/

  • Russell

    The first thing (inside 5 seconds) I noticed about this watch is the finish – its terrible – the two screws going through the dial aren’t even CLOSE to being straight – surely to Christ they could have lined up the screw heads at the very least to make it symmetrical – instead they just tightened them and left them askew. JLC – not good enough my friends…. This is a shameless rip off of the Edox Geoscope imho (ok in aesthetic only – we all know its not in terms of the internals), but then aren’t all watches homages in some guise or other – is a Steinhart a homage to a Rolex sub – or to a blancpain fifty fathoms which the rolex is almost a homage to lol. The dial is ok and the two tones of blue on the sea parts are nicely done but the whole thing leaves me scratching my head and wondering what direction JLC are going with this. I think my collection is about to go in a new direction…… I for one wont be shelling my hard earned moolah of £15k on a watch where they don’t align visible screw heads on the dial which is the one bit EVERYONE looks at. Shocking !

  • Mattjevans

    These world timers with cities on the dial are a fail with daylight savings. I live in London. My sister lives in Auckland. Sometimes we are 11 hours apart, sometimes 12, sometimes +13. The dial design doesn’t work in that respect.

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