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Le Jour, a French distributor, is best known as a European retailer of chronographs manufactured by Heuer in the 1980s. (Le Jour was also the name Yema used to bring watches into the States). Back then, Heuer produced an array of watches under their private label arrangements. Many of these watches were identical to those already in Heuer’s catalog minus Heuer’s branding. In the mid-’80s, Heuer made a PVD sports chronograph called the Pasadena. Heuer also manufactured this model for Le Jour, who debuted it as their 7203 chronographs. This model often referred to as a poor man’s Heuer amongst collectors.
Like many companies, Le Jour eventually perished during the height of the quartz crisis. The rights to the brand changed ownership numerous times, with no significant attempt to revive the brand. That is, until now...
|Le Jour Mark l - 002 Chronograph on Bracelet|
The Le Jour Mark l -002 Chronograph Bracelet is a remake of their 7203 chronographs, drawing design cues from the original. Powering the Le Jour Mark I chronograph is the workhorse movement, Valjoux 7750. It’s an industry workhorse and one that most collectors are familiar with.
What makes the Mark 1 chronograph so attractive is, of course, the barrel case. Most watch manufacturer in the 70s and 80s has their fair share of barrel case watches be it a chronograph or diver. The case measures 42.5mm wide, 45.8mm lug-to-lug, and 16mm thick. It’s a watch with a lot of wrist presence, but the rather short lug-to-lug case makes this watch ultra wearable even on the smallest of the wrist.
In terms of the case design, Le Jour has nailed the Mark I. The three-piece case consists of the bezel, mid case and case back. Starting from the top, the bezel has a bevel to cut off some of the height visually. The same design cue is carried over to the mid-case, which features a set of bevels running down the sides of the case both at the top and at the bottom. Both these contribute to hiding the height of the watch while adding charisma of the Mark I chronograph. The barrel case chronograph finely sandblasted throughout including the bracelet giving it a tool watch feel.
|Intricate piece case with bevel details|
The dial is also the major contributor to the beauty of the Mark 1 Chronograph. The Le Jour 7203 chronographs primarily inspire the black dial. Given today's advancement in watchmaking, the dial is well executed compared to those of yesteryears. The beautiful matte black dial has three matching black subdials that are sunken deep into the dial. This gives each register depth and to further accentuate that depth.
Another main highlight that sets this particular variant apart from its brethren is its vintage brown tachymeter chapter ring around the dial. It does give the wearer a sense of depth between the crystal and the dial, while having a little retro-flair, from what might be just a plain full black dial.
Overall, this level of detailing gives the watch dimension and a sense of fine watchmaking and class.
|Multi-depth dial for added dimension|
The hour and minute hands based on the design most vintage watch collectors are familiar with. The hands are designed for easy time reading. The hands associated with the chronograph are in a contrasting pale orange color. Again, this design idea is found in most chronographs in the 80s when a function is all that matters. The right amount of SuperLuminova applied to the dial and hands for operations in the dark.
With functionality in mind, the Le Jour chronograph is fitted with a flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on the inside to ensure maximum readability regardless of lighting conditions.
The Mark I chronograph comes on a 22mm solid, three-link bracelet that tapers to 18mm at the clasp. The two outer links on the bracelet have bevels on the edges that match the bevels on the case. The deplyant clasp with push-button release also has two engraved lines that flow into the lines of the outer links on the bracelet to create a seamless transition from watch to the bracelet to clasp, one of many things that the brand shows much thoughts have put into the design of the watch.
|Seamless transition of the bracelet to the deployant clasp and to the case|
Every Le Jour Mark I chronograph comes in a wooden box with a cleaning cloth.
The introduction of the Mark l chronograph from Le Jour is indeed a step forward for the reintroduction of the Le Jour brand. We highly recommend the Mark I to those who are looking for a barrel case chronograph or merely those who wants and appreciates good design and well-made chronograph. There might be another similarly executed barrel case 7750 chronographs from other watch companies, but they hardly come at this price.
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