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Category: reviews

90° North: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Géophysic

(C) Jaeger LeCoultre
Period advertising for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Chronomètre Géophysic

The International Geophysical Year – or, to be exact, the International Geophysical Year and a Half  (it ran from 1 July 1957 to 31 December 1958) – was an international collaboration that encompassed 67 countries and included such moments as the launch of Sputnik 1, and long-lasting impacts such as the drafting  of the Antarctic Treaty.

The Schofield Beater

Schofield Beaters at SalonQP
Schofield Beaters at SalonQP

Giles Ellis is surrounded by people, which is no surprise, he is, after all, here at SalonQP to launch a new watch, the Beater. What is, perhaps, more surprising, is the number of these people who seem happy to remove the Schofields from their own wrists and to pass them around the crowd. It’s as if the Red Bar Crew had landed in Sloane Sq, but with fewer drinks. It’s all very friendly, and for Ellis, very pleasing: “they were doing my job for me, they had become de-facto Schofield ambassadors.

Evolution, not revolution

Bremont Martin-Baker MBII and MBIII

Evolution can be defined as the change in the inherited characteristics of a population over successive generations, and might well be used describe the approach that Bremont Chronometers has taken with this, the next iteration of their MB series of watches.

First shown in 2009, the MBI was a dual crown three-hander, designed and tested in collaboration with Martin-Baker, the Bucks-based ejection seat manufacturer. Martin-Baker’s change in focus from producing aircraft to saving the lives of pilots through the development of ejection seat technology was, rather poignantly, due to a similarly-named ‘plane, the MB3: Captain Valentine Baker lost his life whilst executing a difficult forced landing, crashing in a field in 1942.

While industry standard tests simulate dropping a watch from one metre onto a hardwood floor (a shock of 5,000G according to the literature), Martin-Baker’s tests are limited by the forces that a human pilot can withstand. An ejection can take place at up to 18,000ft at Mach 2, producing 25-30G on exit (it’s interesting to note that any watch on the wrist of an ISS astronaut is subject to a mere 3G as the main engines ignite). Martin-Baker challenged Bremont to produce a watch that could withstand the same tests and simulations to which they subject their seats, including salt fog and humidity, altitude, extreme temperature, vibration and (finally) ejection.

An inordinate fondness for divers…

There’s a quote, possibly apocryphal, attributed to the great J. B. S. Haldane in response to questions about what could be learned of the Creator from the study of nature; Haldane responded only that he could deduce that He must have had an “inordinate fondness for beetles.” I’ve previously used this quote to describe my enjoyment of cephalopod mollusc-related watches, but it might more accurately be misappropriated to cover my fondness for dive watches.