I'm not exactly sure just when it was that I caught the Valjoux 7750 bug, but the damned thing sure bit me hard. My latest acquisition, an NOS Jacques Lemans Model 1014-E, has gotten a lot of wear since I picked it up about a month ago, and it doesn't seem to be letting up any.
Swiss Automatic Movement, Valjoux 7750
Polished 316L Stainless Steel Case and Bracelet
Silver-White Dial / Subdials
WR to 50 Meters
Case: 38 mm diameter x 15 mm thick
Bracelet: 20.5 mm W x 9" L
Weight: 210 grams
I really like the tank style case that, despite its 15mm height, fits very comfortably, due mainly to the gently curved lugs that help keep it firmly - but not too tightly - in place on the wrist. Watches that feature a tall case such as this one usually slide all around my wrist and even slam into my very prominent left wrist bone, but this one rides nice and smoothly throughout my day.
The longer I study and admire watches, the more I've come to enjoy the elegant, less 'busy' designs of pieces like this. The silvery, white-textured dial face is laid out simply and beautifully, with non-textured subdials that feature easy-to-read black markings and numerals. (If you're an 'old geez' like me, you'll genuinely appreciate this particular feature...)
The face also has prominent, brightly shined 'sorta-kinda trapezoidal stick' markers at all positions, except for 6, 9 and 12, where JL placed equally-bright and shiny Roman numerals, and 3 o'clock, where the date indicator is placed. There is the usual 'Swiss Made' notation at the six o-clock position, along with the brand markings at three and 'Automatic Chronometer' at nine. This is all set off and nicely displayed under an exceptionally beautiful curved and bezeled sapphire crystal.
The lume is bright but limited by its use on only the minute and hour hands. Nonetheless, there's no mistaking what time it is when you give it a quick glance in a darkened space...like Conjurer's car, for instance (or maybe in the trunk of Conj's car; he's been acting rather strange of late, and the police have been by twice now, wanting to talk about him...)
The five-link bracelet is both attractive and very comfortable. The highly polished links are perfectly proportioned and are paired up with a semi-hidden, smoothly operating spring-and-button dual-deployant clasp. It also features virtually seamless end links that tie the entire piece together perfectly. The watch lays across my wrist so comfortably that - please forgive the old cliche' - I often forget that it's there. Seriously.
As someone who has always been a fan of the Jacques Lemans brand, I'm saddened that it appears its makers are now in the process of 'dumbing down' a product that in earlier times set a high standard for excellence, technical superiority and superb appearance. The good news is that there's still a lot of NOS JL out there - like this one, for instance - and they're still available at some good prices. That I was able to get this one - with a Valjoux 7750 - for under $400 is simply amazing to me.
Many thanks for looking, and Lubrificare la capra...