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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 means “the day” was the export name of Yema that used to bring watches into the States.
|Le Jour Vintage Diver - 005|
Back then, though Heuer produced an array of watches under their private label arrangements, Yema/ LeJour has the watchmaking know-how to provide some exciting tool watches themselves. In the mid ’60, Le Jour made a professional diver called Superman. The 39mm, 300m water resistant dive watch was adopted even by the French army back then, while also being commercialized for general consumers as a daily watch.
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...
After the great success of re-launching their Chronograph - the Mk 1, many collectors are eager to know what’s next for them. And so they replied with another bang from their archives — the Le Jour Vintage Diver.
|Original 60s Superman Markers and fonts|
This long admired French diver is back and based on the very first 1963 Superman release ref. 87062, keeping the size and look almost identical with some modern upgrade.
While the precursor uses a vintage French Ebauch FE 3611- a 7 jewel automatic with date and runs at 21,600 bph, powering the Vintage Diver Fume Grey Ref. LJ-VD-005 is the venerable Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic operating at 28,800 BPH (4 Hertz) with hacking and hand winding capabilities. It has 25 jewels with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours.
The case measures 39.5mm wide, 45.8mm lug-to-lug, and 14mm thick, with water resistant of good 300m. It’s almost true to its original size that vintage enthusiast appreciates. The Vintage Diver is still ultra wearable (39-42mm being a sweet spot) for any wrist size.
|Pie-pan convex dial|
In terms of the case design, the case of the Vintage Diver Fume Grey Ref. LJ-VD-005 seems almost like its straight out of the 1960s era. Robustly constructed and extremely comfortable.
Starting from the top, the 120- click uni-directional bezel has an aluminum insert, which might seem like a standard feed, but Le Jour took an extra step to have the diving markers all engraved (even the numerals). This creates a sense of depth and increases readability. Oh, did we mention the markers' fonts are the same type as the 1963’s Superman?
The mid-case emerges with a satin brushed finish throughout, but an additional detail of sleek polished bevel linings that run across those lugs neatly, exemplifying how an old-school dive watch finished in the 1960s.
The screw-down crown is designed to look and feel the same as its precursor, further with an additional textured Le Jour emblem placed on the side.
|120-click Uni-directional engraved bezel|
Sticking right to the roots of its antecedent, the pie-pan grey dial merely is not an exception. The amount of detail Le Jour put in to bring back their maritime heritage, is well portrayed on the markers and handset used on its dial. Before getting into those, let’s get to know more about what makes this grey variant stands out. It features a fume effect from dark grey colour at the periphery and graduates towards a lighter shade of grey towards the centre. What’s more, like a secret treat for anyone, is the whole dial glows distinctly in the dark for wearer to enjoy.
Now, lets move on to the prominent and distinctive applied markers that have metal trims around them. Original 60s Superman Arabic fonts on the “6”, “9” and “12” hour markers can be found, and these markers indeed a 60s work, where even Swiss brand Oris themselves depicts these traits on their recent Sixty Five diver releases, but we digress.
The handset on the Vintage Diver Fume Grey Ref. LJ-VD-005 has bold sword hour hand, and even bolder arrow-style minute hand as minute-telling for divers are primary for them. All the markers and hands being generously applied with green Super-luminova for excellent readability in low light situations.
The details do not stop here, The date-window at 3 o’clock has a matching color metal frame with those trims on the hour markers, and it creates a balanced look just like the vintage Ref. 87062.
Keeping all these well preserved is the added domed-sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coatings underneath.
|SuperLuminova that glows in the dark|
Turning it over we have a screw down casebook with different finishings- the middle had a grainy texture and raised “Le Jour” logo with blueish “ Vintage Diver” printed right below it. Moving outwards we have a practical depth measurement in both meters and feet, which is a nice touch for any diving enthusiast to correlate both measurements quickly. The rest of the watch information flangs the periphery neatly. Therefore, it is all about the details right here.
The Vintage Diver Fume Grey Ref. LJ-VD-005 is paired nicely with a certain retro-ness; a whip-stitched calf leather that has a quick release spring bar for strap lovers to throw on their combo. Not forgetting the signed “Le Jour “ tang buckle that holds the Vintage Diver on the wrist.
|Screw down caseback with essential information|
Summing things up, the Vintage Diver Fume Grey Ref. LJ-VD-005 is a watch that shows just how a true 60s diver should be done and has an excellent chance of becoming as much of a cult watch as its predecessor. Though dive watches are being ubiquity, Le Jour iterations stand out among them with great details and its a hell of a worthy piece for any watch enthusiasts.
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