Jaeger- Lecoultre Tribute To Deep Sea Alarm Full hands on Review. SIHH 2011..Date: Jan 12, 2011,00:00 AM - (view entire thread)
Yes... You read it well, the Deep Sea Alarm is back, and I had the immense privilege to see it in the flesh, to be authorized to take some pictures, in exclusivity for Watchprosite, and to share them with you before the Embargo is over on the press file!
We'll first have a journey into Time and see what was the Deep Sea Alarm, its history, its competitors, and then we'll see what is this re edition.
I- An historical reminder.
1959 saw the birth of the first Diving watch from " La Grande Maison ".
As you all know, Panerai was the first to release a Diving watch, in 1935 with the Prototype 2533: A Rolex case, movement and dial, encased by the House from Firenze, which gave birth to the Radiomir 3646, California and no California dial.
3646 California Dial: ( Picture to be credited to Mike T, if I remember well )
There was no communication on these Panerai watches, as they were protected by the military secret.
We had to wait till 1953 to see the first diving watches which still inspire our modern time keepers, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, under Mr Bob Maloubier impulsion, and the Rolex / Tudor Submariners.
A bit later ( 1955 / 56 ) came the Omega Seamaster, and, in 1959, the Lecoultre ( as it was first made for the US Market, where the trend of Diving watches was quite important ) Deep Sea Alarm.
The 4 competitors, in the Fifties:
How can we rate or describe the Deep Sea Alarm, compared to its competitors of the era?
I would use 2 criterias: The Water Resistance and the Functionnality.
- As for the Water Resistance:
All the Diving watches were water resistant from 91 meters ( Blancpain Fifty Fathoms ) to 200 meters ( Rolex / Tudors Submariners, Omega Seamaster 300 Ref CK 2913 ) at the end of the Fifties, with the exception, nonetheless, of the Fifty Fathoms Aqualung 1 000 Feet, which was water resistant to 300 meters, as suggested by its name.
The Deep Sea Alarm is water resistant to 155 meters, according to the US Catalog were it is featured ( Courtesy picture: Rafak )
Like on the Fifty Fathoms and Omega Seamaster CK 2913, the crowns are not screw in type, at the conrary of the Rolex / Tudor Submariners.
Logically, we could think that a screw in crown solution is better, but at the end of the Fifties, the US Navy compared and tested some diving watches and chose the FF Milpsec over the Rolex Submariner 6538... The limits of the logic...
- The Functionality:
This is, in my opinion, certainly the point which distinguish the most the Deep Sea Alarm from its competitors of this era.
It has to be said that it was the FIRST Diving Alarm watch, as the other famous example which comes to mind is the Vulcain Cricket Nautical, which was released 2 years after, in 1961, if I'm not wrong.
The curious thing, on the Deep Sea Alarm, is that the external bezel is NOT TURNING, which, at first tohught, may not be very useful for a diver in activity.
BUT, if you refer to the US catalog posted above, you have the explanation.
The DSA " has both a visual and audible warning of the time for beginning a safe ascent from a dive ". ( Note: The US Catalog says that the outer bezel rotates, which is not true... ), but you can always use the alarm triangle to be warned, by the vibration and the sound, when it is time for you to reach the surface, without having to always check your watch.
The Alarm is graduated each minute, so it can really be used as a bezel, even if it is not very intuitive.
Indeed, with a bezel, you know at what time you started your dive, while, with the Alarm, you know how much time you still have before starting the ascent to the surface.
While we're mentionning the bezel, I have to add that its anodised aluminium structure is very fragile and don't resist to Time.
To be complete about the bezel, I'll say that the triangle indexes are not luminous, but painted, from what I saw on several of them ( and specially a NOS one ).
An European Deep Sea Alarm with its original bezel:
The fixed Tribute to Deep Sea Alarm bezel:
With a prototype insert ( the triangle indexes are not colored ) mounted on it:
Some insert tests, to see the final outcome:
A weak point on the US version is that it has luminous hands, but no luminous indexes, while the Eurpoean version has both, which is better in terms of legibility in poor light conditions.
All these details, which are unusual, strong or weak, contribute to the originality of the Deep Sea Alarm,of course.
Even if the European and the American Deep Sea Alarms have a lot in common, the dials make a huge difference, as you can see below:
According to the Heritage Gallery, 1061 pieces were produced, American and European included, from 1959 to 1962:
500 in 1959,
220 in 1960,
340 in 1961,
1 last piece in 1962.
Only God knows how many European versions were made, but from what the community of JLC Collectors observed, it is way much rarer than its US sister, maybe because the idea to make such a watch came from the USA?
The Deep Sea Alarm, whatever is its " nationality ", housed a well known movement, the Cal 815, which was used since 1956 or 1957 in another Memovox, the E 853.
It has to be said that the Cal 815 is the first automatic ( bumper ) alarm movement in the world, which beats at 18 000 alternances per hour, and offers a power reserve of more or less 45 hours.
II- From the Past to the Present: The Tribute to Deep Sea Alarm.
49 years after the production of the last piece, this watch makes its come back, specially for your eyes, just before the Geneva SIHH watch fair.
Many questions are receiving an answer ( some remain unanswered, as I type these lines, though ) :
1/ A Tribute, yes, but based on what version: The European, or the American?
The answer is certain: Both!
2/ Will JLC make a strict Re Edition, as they did for the Polaris, or a watch inspired by the Deep Sea Alarm, ala Amvox I or Master Compressor?
The answer is YES, at 95 %. And here, not precious metal at the contrary of the Polaris ( which was produced in platinum for 165 pieces ), just stainless steel, like on the original.
THE DIFFERENCES WILL BE VERY LIMITED:
- The case is one millimeter bigger ( 40, 5 mm ), compared to the original Deep Sea Alarm, but this detail is almost unnoticeable.
- The font of the numbers on the bezel, but here, things can still change on the definitive watches.
About these numbers, those on the original bezel are longer, they reach the base of the bezel, the " 0 " of " 10 " has a squared shape, the numbers in general are less " flat " than on the Tribute.
The triangles are slightly smaller on the original, and reach the dial side of the bezel, which is not the case on the Tribute.
A close up of the 2 bezels, side by side, to better get the differences:
On the left, the Tribute, and on the right, an expertly redone bezel, very faithful to the original, except this gray color, while the original was matte black.
- The minute indexes, on the US version, which are too fat, but this may change on the definitive watch, though.
- The lugs, which look a bit larger, but this is the prototype case, and the bevels should be reworked.
- And, of course, the movement, which is not the old Cal 815 with its lovely bumper, but the modern Cal 956, without date, the same which is used for the Navy SEALs Alarm and the Tribute to Polaris, without Date ( Will it keep this reference ? ).
Will anyone complain about this technical improvement?
I don't think so, even if we loose the very plesant feeling of the " bumper " when you move the wrist.
All in all, these subtle differences are nothing compared to the great work done on this pair of Tributes, which are very close to the original and fully respect the spirit of this model, as we'll see right now.
THE KEY POINTS ARE:
- To preserve the superb lines, profile and curves of the original case.
Here is a picture featuring on the bottom the original, and on the top, the re edition.
You will notice that the case is indeed very close, with the reserves expressed above, but which may be subject ot some improvements.
The sides of the case are brushed, while the top is polished, and, like on the original, the case back and the bezel come over the case, which is very typical to the Deep Sea Alarm, as you can better see here:
- The typical crowns, found on the 1959 Deep Sea Alarm, make their come back on the Tributes.
Flat at 4 o'clock, it is slightly " onion " shaped at 2 o' clock.
- The very nice engraved case backs, featuring a diver swimming among some air bubbles, and the wording all around this " sculpture ", as shown below.
Here, the Tribute...
... Next to the original Deep Sea Alarm:
- A plexy, slightly domed, and well integrated to the bezel:
Honestly, it would have been very sad to get a clean flat sapphire instead of this gorgeous plexy.
It contributes a lot to the charm of this watch, with its warm feeling, it is part of the Deep Sea Alarm!
A couple of plexy glasses...
- To keep the specificity of the 2 dials.
The US Version, first:
As you know, the particularities of the american dial are the name ( Lecoultre ), and the writing " Deep Sea Alarm " on the Alarm disc.
The Tribute to the US DSA is the only one among all the current JLC watches to not have Jaeger-LeCoultre " written on the dial but only " LeCoultre ", as JLC agreed to opt for this option.
... And to keep the " Deep Sea Alarm " writing on the Alarm Disc:
Another nice detail is the rugged aspect of the alarm disc, which is very close to the original, as you can see on the 2 pictures above.
The outer part of the dial, surrounding the alarm disc, is strictly conform to the original, the only point is that it will be better to have thinner minute indexes, as previously said.
The European dial:
The same thin and long triangles, which are luminous, will be seen on the European Deep Sea Alarm, as well as the JLC Signature just under 12 o' clock:
Yes, the luminous triangle indexes look a bit bigger on the Tribute, but we're very close to the original, and the spirit is here, undisputably.
On both the American and the European, JLC opted for the pointed skeleton luminous hands, which is another faithful detail shared with the Vintage models.
After highlighting all these details, which were important to appreciate all the work done on these Tribute, let's now have an overall look at the watches in themselves.
3/ The Tribute To Deep Sea Alarm are now the be entirely revealed!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE WATCHES SHOWN BELOW ARE PROTOTYPES AND THAT THE FINISH IS NOT DEFINITIVE.
The LeCoultre and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute:
A- The Tribute to LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm:
The Tribute on the left, the original on the right, to show how faithful this project is:
As previously said, the difference in size is almost unnoticeable, the overall look and the spirit of the original has been well respected.
The American Deep Sea Alarm has a very strong look, with the writings on the dial, the play of white silver and black rings and alarm disc.
Strong, yet elegant and sensual, thank to the sweet curves of the very elegant case, which doesn't have the global and almost bestial volumes of the Polaris, for example.
Indeed, the plexy and the case of the DSA are way thinner, from what I could measure ( somewhere between 13 and 14 mm for the DSA, versus 17, 5 mm for the Polaris ).
You focus on the crowns, and specially the one located at 2 o'clock, before admiring the very unique profile of the case, which is taken " in sandwich " between the bezel and the case back:
B- The Tribute to Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm:
A lot of common points with its american sister are to be noted.
- The same care, obsession of a faithful re edition:
- The same sensual and original case, of course.
- The same lovely crowns.
- The particular engravings on the case back.
BUT the dedicated dial makes a big difference.
Here, no contrast between silver white and black parts.
All is black, with some yellow touches due to the indexes, the triangle of the alarm and the luminous hands.
Less powerful, much more sober than its US sister, it is not less elegant, at the contrary!
As to conclude, there is one last question: Which one to choose?
I would answer with another question?
Why having to choose?
Between the Beauty ( European Tribute ) and the Beast ( US Tribute ), I want them both, as it was exactly the same issue ( and the same solution ) with the Tribute To Polaris.
My wrist can't decide, either!
To be complete, 2 or 3 last points:
The Tribute to Deep Sea Alarm is water resistant to 100 meters, which will allow some water activities, and for sure some unforgettable wrist shots.
You also have to know that the US Tribute will be available only in the JLC Boutiques, while the European will be available all over the world, at any JLC AD or Boutique.
The important thing, in my point of view, is that the Tribute kept all the imperfections of the original pieces, too: The non turning bezel, the non luminous indexes ( on the US version ), which are the signature, which make the charm of the Deep Sea Alarm.
It is a Limited Edition of 359 pieces for the US version, and of 959 pieces for the European one.
I've also been told that, like the Tribute To Polaris, it will be a " one shot " release.
Both will be priced at 9 500 Euros.
Wasn't it worth the wait?
Looking forward to hearing your comments and thoughts,
This message has been edited by amanico on 2011-01-12 00:01:50 This message has been edited by amanico on 2011-01-16 02:18:13 This message has been edited by amanico on 2011-01-16 02:31:31 This message has been edited by amanico on 2014-01-02 05:20:52
Reading Response: 0 of 233
| Next Response
| Next Response
- Main Post: Jaeger- Lecoultre Tribute To Deep Sea Alarm Full hands on Review. SIHH 2011.. amanico : January 12th, 2011-00:00
- Not surprised, Marco. On which one did you go? [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-07:39
- Not sure I understood the question, as the Alarm is activated by the upper crown ... amanico : January 13th, 2011-07:43
- These protos of the DSA weren't working, BUT, as on the TTP amanico : January 13th, 2011-11:49
- I think you have probably answerd the original question... Zsolt : January 13th, 2011-18:17
- Eloxed aluminium. Soap and warm water will be enough. amanico : July 3rd, 2013-14:53
- Sorry, but I don' t have these infos, nor any idea about that. But... amanico : July 4th, 2013-07:07
- Hey, good luck on your exam, whatever it is for. Cheers. [nt] Ruckdee : January 12th, 2011-00:45
- All the best for your exams, K.G and welcome here, by the way. amanico : January 13th, 2011-07:52
- I'm curious to see the rest of the novelties, Rovermark. amanico : January 13th, 2011-12:37
- I'm surprised by their decision to came out with not one but both... Ruckdee : January 12th, 2011-00:34
- Oh I agree with you totally that this is the best way to go. Ruckdee : January 13th, 2011-15:02
- I perfectly understand. Do you worry about the plexy? [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-19:31
- Ok, I get it... How obsessive we are, sometimes... :) amanico : January 14th, 2011-15:47
- Thanks, Terence. I think that JLC still has some strong cards under their sleeves. :) [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-19:53
- It was a lot of pleasure to prepare and write this post, emcquillan. amanico : January 13th, 2011-20:31
- I'm with you on this one, Robert -- USA all the way! craniotes : January 12th, 2011-07:40
- Well, let's first enjoy the TT DSA, then we'll see. :) amanico : January 13th, 2011-20:45
- You have a too big wrist for it. :))) My pleasure, Stephen. [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:09
- So, now you see why I teased so much about this watch, Sancerre? :) [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:10
- It would not be fun if we are able to get them all, Adam. amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:16
- Seeing them in real is another experience, Guille. amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:17
- Thanks a lot for your enthusiastic input, Alain. [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:19
- Well, in my opinion, it is better to hesitate between two watches than... amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:26
- can't believe my eye... MJLC really surprising me again... Stefan : January 12th, 2011-08:32
- I think that shortly after the SIHH, you will be able to see them in the flesh, Stefan. amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:34
- My pleasure, ripper. Thanks and welcome here, by the way! [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:48
- I indeed love the fact that JLC did dare to keep these imperfections. amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:44
- Another haunting dream to come, Amigo? :) Thanks a lot, Alex. [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-21:58
- Thanks to you, Sean. We'll do this TT DSA Roll Call! amanico : January 31st, 2011-13:09
- June, indeed. I really hope there will not be any delay. I want my next summer watch ... amanico : February 15th, 2011-11:46
- I was sure you would say it. LeCoultre signature will make every Vintage Fan's day! [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-22:17
- As a diver I have been thinking the whole day how to comment. dr.kol : January 12th, 2011-14:33
- We are so many here who are passionate about watches. dr.kol : January 14th, 2011-08:46
- The famous Belgian Greediness. Or the Greedy Belgian? Don't know. :) amanico : January 13th, 2011-22:18
- Jaeger-LeCoultre presents Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea PRESS RELEASE AnthonyTsai : January 12th, 2011-16:44
- He He Mirador, the question is part of the Fun! :) [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-22:33
- Thanks for your kind comments, Christian. Best. [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-22:47
- I'll be there! Hopefully it will be sooner than that! nt Dje : January 15th, 2011-01:36
- You made my day, Jerome. Catch you soon, in Chocolate Land. :) [nt] amanico : January 15th, 2011-03:24
- Not correct. All the Boutiques will get the US Lecoultre DSA. 100% sure. [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-06:15
- In that case, pm me, I will solve your issue. :) [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-07:31
- Don't worry, I have the solution and you have PM. :))) [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-08:16
- you guys had a great preview of this stunning watches... Stefan : January 14th, 2011-08:45
- Totally agreed on the way you described them, Nikolaj. Thanks! [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-23:50
- It is all about passion, Francois. Very nicely put! Thanks a lot for your input; [nt] amanico : January 13th, 2011-23:52
- I would rather say: " To choose, is to renounce to choose ". :) amanico : January 14th, 2011-00:10
- You don't even have any of the four Patrice, some work to do! nt Dje : January 15th, 2011-01:39
- Gorgeous watch, brilliant post....thanks so much !! DrStrong : January 13th, 2011-12:35
- And I suspect this is not all, Marv... More to come next week. amanico : January 14th, 2011-00:12
- Now, that is a great compliment, Fernando. Thanks a lot! [nt] amanico : January 14th, 2011-00:13
- A fine and thoughtful introduction, and one 666 push PoyFR : January 14th, 2011-00:37
- The watch was worth some efforts, POY, as you know it very well. amanico : January 14th, 2011-01:37
- Passion more than knowledge, but thanks for your kind words, Joshua. amanico : January 14th, 2011-14:44
- Well, there was a recent question whether re-editions were Mostel : January 15th, 2011-13:39
- No connections, just friends, Mike. Thanks for your nice words. amanico : January 22nd, 2011-07:33
- They will sure be pleased to read your comments, Z3. Thanks. amanico : January 22nd, 2011-07:34
- Please use our collectors market if you want to sell it, and precise your price. amanico : November 8th, 2012-13:29
- Original bezel, cool bracelet, wrong hands. Not a big deal, though. amanico : November 8th, 2012-14:16