I am not a chronograph guy. I’m a oxford shirt and thin yellow gold dress watch guy. So for a chronograph to strike me, it’s got to be something very special.
And you’re about to realize that what I’ve got in my hand is just that,
It’s a Le Jour – more specifically, it’s an oversized two register chronograph with both broad arrow and lollipop hands, a ghosting bezel, tritium lume and a dial that, while once black, is milk chocolate brown. Holy shit, right?
Yeah, that’s what I said when I received this watch nearly a year ago. I ripped open that FedEx express box, cursed the stubborn tape keeping me from it and then, finally, I nearly collapsed. Like all of those times I wiped out boogie boarding, I wasn’t exactly sure what the hell just happened.
Okay, Who is LeJour?
Well, they Entered the scene in 1965 and produced some kickass watches – most notably chronographs and divers – into the late 70’s. But apart from that, there’s little to know.
But their importer, J.P. Penguoin, whose name is stamped on the caseback and movement of this watch, made a larger splash in the industry. During the 60’s and into the 80’s, J.P. imported serious watches -Yema, LeJour and Atlantic, just to give you and idea. Based in the USA. Penguoin brought many significant Swiss wristwatches to our shores and for that, we thank them.
While this watch is without any reference able serial numbers that could help us date it exactly, we know it’s movement well. The Valjoux 7733, which was introduced in 68, was used into the late 70’s so yes, it’s a flower child.
Once upon a time, this glossy dial was black. now, as you might have noticed, it’s not. The elements – Exposure to the sun and moisture,specifically – have taken their toll and, while this might be hard to explain to non-vintage people – that makes me very lucky. The tropical patina that has overtaken the dial is perfectly even and the little, almost galactic spotting is the icing on top. The tritium hour markets, which are now about 40 years old, will still hold a charge for a moment or two – which I think is incredibly cool. Oh, and The white paint, which serves as the signature, instrumentation and boarder around the two subdials (one of which is a 5-minute red regatta countdown register) gives the chocolate this indescribable depth and structure. In short, it’s a dream.
And damn, it wears so well on the wrist. 39mm in diameter and 48mm lug to lug might sound a little overwhelming but at 10mm thick, it’s just perfect. Large enough to have some serious presence but sleek enough not to detract from its own allure.
I am not a chronograph guy. I’m a oxford shirt and thin yellow gold dress watch guy. But this LeJour has me weak at the knees, my geeks. And, as painful as it might be for me, I am officially offering it for sale in the T&H Vintage Watch Shop.