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Jaeger-Le Coultre AMVOX7 Chronograph
Falling in love again
I met Francis Cretin, Senior Designer at Jaeger-LeCoultre, to view the latest AMVOX model to leave the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, the AMVOX7 Chronograph. The watch is the latest model to celebrate the enduring relationship between the Swiss haute horlogerie brand and Aston Martin.
Jaeger-Le Coultre are an innovative brand. They hold 398 patents at the time of writing. However, their relentless pursuit of solutions to the problems lesser brands have not even identified, means this number may well have changed as you read this article.
The brand from Le Sentier are the most prolific exemplar of haute horology when it comes to the number of different movements they offer, 1231 calibres to date.
JLC are world renowned for their Reverso models which continue to be coveted by the cognoscenti since their conception in 1921. But, this brand is not type cast, proffering a diverse range of models. Each range of timepieces confers its own unique character.
I have succumbed to the curving lines and mechanical prowess of Jaeger-LeCoultre on several occasions. My feeling of awe has also embraced automotive delights and in particular the lithe lines of Aston Martin.
Aston Martin and Jaeger-LeCoultre have had a business relationship for many years. Jaeger-LeCoultre watches have adorned the wrists of Aston Martin owners who seek the same beauty found in the cars from Gaydon. Both the brands share a masterful ability to conjure shapes which evoke adoration. Moreover, beneath the vivacious veneer, the mechanical magnificence is spellbindingly seductive.
The AMVOX range of timepieces were launched in 2005 with the AMVOX1 Alarm, a gorgeous timepiece I personally found impossible to resist. It is one of my most prized possessions.
I would suggest if you were an alcoholic, then serving intoxicating liquor is probably not the wisest career choice. Yet, here I am, a self-confessed addict of haute horology, handling the forbidden fruit I know I should avoid tasting.
It is difficult to walk away from the sensuous lines of a curvaceous watch case, ignoring the coquettish charms of a complication or the deep intellect of a finely finished movement. But, every day I try and postpone another purchase. I never say never, but rather defer procurement until tomorrow. After all, I still have to eat and cloth myself and provide similar for fellow members of the Davies clan.
I have met Francis Cretin, Senior Designer from Le Grande Maison, on a previous occasion. He is the design genius behind several of the suave AMVOX models.
The Swiss designer has a profound understanding of engineering. Like the watches he has created, there is an intrinsic intelligence and quality behind the charming good looks.
Francis conceived the vertical trigger chronograph which first appeared on the AMVOX2 Chronograph. The stop watch function does not feature the usual pushers located either side of the crown. The vertical trigger employs a unique case resting within a pivoting carriage. Push the northerly aspect of the dial and the chronograph starts and stops. Conversely, press the southerly aspect of the dial and the chronograph hands reset.
The ergonomics of the vertical trigger are eminently sensible and bestow a smile inducing tactility which I never tire of enjoying.
I met Francis at the prestigious Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutique in Mayfair to view the latest AMVOX model to leave the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, the AMVOX7 Chronograph.
The latest Aston Martin is the Vanquish. It has lines which cheat the wind of drag and seductively dance with dappled shade. Every detail is judiciously executed. There are few cars on the road which can supplant its ability to engender malachite motives.
At the front of the Vanquish is a perfect smile. No twisted incisors, nor yellowed canines but a natural smile born to bewitch. The gorgeous radiator grille is depicted by the motif located centre stage on the AMVOX7 Chronograph's dial.
The dial plays with different depths, revealing part of the chronograph mechanism adjacent 6 o’clock and noon.
Arabic numerals feature on the hours; 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock, 10 o’clock and noon. They continue the successful design language of former models, resembling the sweeping path of a car’s rev-counter.
Between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, two discs draw closer as the energy stored within the spring barrel approaches full, of “F” as shown at noon, reinforcing the automotive theme. As the mainspring nears exhaustion, the red discs bid farewell to each other and approach empty, or “E”.
Francis explained to me, “I wanted to show them a symmetrical way”. This is one of the smartest power reserve indicators I have encountered. One bonus of the mainspring relaxing is that more of the chronograph mechanism is visible.
The Jaeger nomenclature graced the instruments of the Series 1, 1927 - 1932. Now, the Aston Martin logo features on today’s AMVOX7 Chronograph between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock.
At 3 o’clock an anthracite grey 30 minute chrono counter resides. Francis, again has not sought an ordinary approach, eschewing the expedient path taken by the masses but preferring to ski off-piste. The red indicators are static and the chrono disc rotates. He repeats this detail at 9 o’clock for the 12 hour chrono counter.
The hour and minute hands are partly skeletonised, rhodiumed, brushed and partly filled with white SuperLuminova. A central seconds hand for the chronograph repeats the red detail found elsewhere on the dial. The use of anthracite, white and red all work in concert. There is nothing which detracts from the clarity of the dial.
A date aperture resides at the base of the dial. Above this is a further aperture revealing a rotating arm or movement operating indicator to be precise.
I have previously owned titanium watches, but Jaeger-Le Coultre have used grade 5 titanium. This material is often used in the aerospace and medical industries. Extremely strong and as a light as a fasting supermodel, grade 5 titanium is unusual in that it can be polished to a mirror-like finish.
The handsome case, 44 mm in diameter, features polished and satin-brushed surfaces. It toys with light in the same way as the swage line on the Vanquish flirts with sunlight and shadow in a provocative manner.
I regret not asking Francis whether he ever closes his eyes in order to heighten his sense of touch when appraising the tactility of watches. The crown is a blend of different textures, enhancing grip and delighting with its minute detail.
At the most westerly aspect of the case is a sliding lock. This prevents the accidental operation of the vertical chronograph.
The caseback is solid and engraved with the Aston Martin logo. Numerous parallel lines sit perpendicular to the lugs on each side. The caseback arcs the arm, nuzzling the wrist in comfortable embrace.
A quick release facility allows removal of the strap without tools. This facility is found on my Master Compressor World Extreme Alarm and it is brilliant, allowing me to swap between the rubber and leather strap supplied with the watch.
The self-winding Calibre 756 is a manufacture movement.
It has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and an impressive power reserve of 65 hours.
The inner beauty of Jaeger-LeCoultre movements is the exemplary finishing which is testament to the artisans of Le Sentier.
I have enjoyed reliable service from Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces for many years and have confidence that the AMVOX7 Chronograph will deliver faithful companionship for any fortunate wearer.
I have met some charming celebrities from sport and the silver screen, but it is watchmakers, designers and the artisans who master individual horological trades who command my adoration.
Francis Cretin is a humble gentleman despite his immense talent. As he described the small design details which coalesce so wonderfully, I could sense I was being drawn into the tempting world of additional AMVOX acquisitions.
As Marlene Dietrich once sang, in her husky tones, “Falling in love again”. When I look at the AMVOX7 Chronograph, I would have to retort in my tone deaf timbre, “What am I to do? Can’t help it”.
- Model: Jaeger-Le Coultre AMVOX7 Chronograph
- Reference: 194 T4 70
- Case: Grade 5 titanium; diameter 44.00 mm; height 15.64 mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; date; chronograph; power-reserve indicator.
- Movement: Calibre 756; self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 39 jewels; power reserve 65 hours; 335 parts.
- Strap: Black calfskin strap on deployant.