Saturday, December 19, 2015

Review of JEANRICHARD Aeroscope Automatic Chronograph

Model # 60650-21G211-FK2A

Brand/Model:  JEANRICHARD Aeroscope Automatic Chronograph
Movement:   Swiss automatic
Material:  titanium case, rubber strap with stainless steel deployant
Complications:  date display, chronograph timing up to 12 hours in one-fifth second increments
Price:  MSRP $5,400 USD

Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

JEANRICHARD is the junior brand to Girard-Perregaux (think Tudor to Rolex) and is part of the Kering Group since 2012.  Gucci and Ulysse Nardin are also part of Kering. 

JEANRICHARD (‘JR’ for short) is a brand that I have been wanting to try for some time now.  JEANRICHARD has really upped their game as of late (just like Tudor has!) and has been cranking out some mighty fine timepieces that when bought at a discount, represent strong value and high quality.

JEANRICHARD can trace its roots back to Daniel Jeanrichard, a famous Swiss watchmaker from the 17th century, so the modern brand certainly has some serious ‘street cred’to their name.

The Aeroscope model range is varied with both standard and chronograph designs with different case finishes (sandblast or DLC), dial finishes and colors (vertical satin finish, honeycomb or matte) and rubber or leather straps or titanium bracelets.  They all feature a complex multi-piece case made of Grade 5 titanium (with carbon fiber pusher bumpers on the chronographs) and an in-house automatic movement.  A great start for this most interesting model range.

The Aeroscope chronograph being reviewed here starts with a polished and vertically brushed Grade 5 titanium cushion-shaped multi-piece case.  Supposedly Grade 5 titanium is the only grade of Ti that can be polished.  The case measures 45.9mm without the detailed signed crown; 49.8mm crown inclusive.  Case thickness is 12.9mm, lug spacing is 25mm.  Height lug-to-lug is 49.8mm.  These dimensions, while sounding a big large, conspire to make the watch surprising agile on the wrist, a fact that is also due in part to the lighter weight Ti construction.

The case back is a screw down type with a stamped JEANRICHARD logo in the center.  The case back is also titanium, but it is the more traditional shade of grey that Ti is usually associated with.

Even though the case is rather large, the short lugs help make the watch fit comfortably on the wrist and add a nice proportion to the watch, giving it an almost square appearance.  Fit and finish on the case is superb.

The Aeroscope is factory rated for 100 meters of water resistance.

The dial on the Aeroscope chronograph is the satin vertical brush technique that JEANRICHARD is so proud of.  It creates a look that ties the dial, bezel and case together, because these elements all have the same vertical brushed finish.  The dial is the same matte silver color as the case, with slightly raised arabics at the 12, 2, 4, 8 and 10 positions with slightly raised rectangular black markers at the other positions.  The black arabics and markers are done in black lume, which glows green in the dark. 

The hour and minute hands are skeletonized and also black lume, with the chrono center seconds hand being ‘red varnish’ accordingly to JEANRICHARD, but with a black luminous tip.  While skeletonized hands are not my favorite, I do like the arrow style of the hour hand and the long slender pointer style of the minute hand.  Another nice detail is that the ends of the hands where they attach to the pinions are finished in the same vertical brush technique as the case, dial and bezel.  It’s a very small but cool touch.

The arabics, markers and hands are all luminous but unfortunately, lume quality is terrible.  The lume photo shown at the end of this review was a six-second exposure and you can barely see the hands and markers glowing green. This is the biggest demerit on this watch, as there’s really no excuse for the lume to be so poor. 

There is a raised chapter ring with black minute markers encircling the dial.  The subdial at three is the watch seconds hand, which rotates in an unmarked subdial save for simple lines at each quarter hour.  The subdial at 6 is the chronograph 12-hour totalizer and the subdial at 9 is the chronograph 30-minute totalizer.  All three subdials are slightly inset with circular patterning and their hands are small skeletonized arrows in black, which are luminous.  Overall, it’s a clean, legible presentation.

The chrono pushers are rectangular with beveled edges that match the detailed angles present on the cushion case.  The pushers look sleek and activate with a distinct ‘click’.  The pusher bumper is black carbon fiber and is one piece that runs around both pushers and underneath the crown.  The crown doesn’t screw down, which is fine with me and is highly detailed as I alluded to earlier, with machined slots for grip and a lovely JR logo on the end.

A date window is located at the 4:30 position, with a black on white date wheel.  The window opening is slightly beveled making it easier to read the date.  Alignment of the wheel inside the window is fine.

Another highlight of the dial is the minimal printing.  Just the name ‘JEANRICHARD’ and ‘Aeroscope’, both under the 12 position is all the printing that’s on the dial, except for the small ‘Swiss Made’ at the bottom of the dial.  Very nice!

Encircling the dial is a fixed bezel with standard arabic timing marks on it every five minutes.  A triangle with a small dot on either side is at the 12 position on the bezel.  I do wish the bezel was rotating, as this would have added to the overall functionality of this watch.  The arabics on the bezel are infilled with black paint and the outer edge of the bezel is polished, with the face of the bezel being vertical brushed.

Covering the dial is a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal.  Again, as with the rest of the watch, the fit and finish on the dial, hands, crystal and bezel is first-rate.  It’s a clean build, as examination under an 8X loupe showed no dirt, defects or sloppy application of paint or markers.

The Swiss Made automatic chronograph movement inside the Aeroscope is JEANRICHARD’s in-house caliber JR66, which as far as I can tell is a base JR movement with a Dubois-Depraz chrono module added.  The JR66 runs in 43 jewels and beats at 28,800 vph.

The Aeroscope winds and sets fine, although there is a fair amount of rotor noise on my example, nothing to be concerned about, but I know this can bother some people.  The chrono starts, stops and resets properly and the overall function of the movement is as it should be. 

Power reserve with a bit of incidental handling came in at a robust 48.5 hours, with accuracy measuring +4 seconds over 24 hours in the crown-up position.  A worthy performance.

While I haven’t always been the biggest fan of rubber straps, I have had a change of heart lately, due in part to the quality of the rubber strap on the Aeroscope.  First off, it’s an absolutely perfect shade of grey, which is a color not commonly seen in a rubber strap.  The strap is soft, flexible, unscented (thank you!) and has fine lines molded into the outside along with a subtle JR logo on both sides below the lugs.  The inside is smooth with an inset JR logo on both sides. 

The rubber strap is the type that does not have to be trimmed; the strap slides through the clasp on the inside to form a smooth bracelet-type fit on the wrist.  I vastly prefer this type of strap to one that needs to be trimmed. 

The strap measures 25mm at the lugs and tapers to 20.6mm at the signed, stainless steel pushbutton clasp with machined deployant.  While the clasp is of good quality with double pins that secure to the strap for added safety, I do wish it was titanium in keeping with the rest of the watch.

Overall, the strap is very comfortable and supports the unique look and quality of the watch.  And the shade of grey looks outstanding!

The Aeroscope chronograph also comes with a terrific presentation.  The two-piece textured cardboard box opens to reveal a brown leather watch holder with detachable carry strap.  The case looks like a camera case of yore and is beautifully executed and could be used in a multitude of ways.  There’s also a signed leather card holder for the warranty cards, but you could also use this as a business card holder.  A ‘one size fits all’ instruction manual is also included.

Definitely one of the classiest presentations I have seen in a long time and so refreshing to see instead of an oversized, dopey box that does nothing but take up space.

The JEANRICHARD Aeroscope is a superb watch, bar none.  The combination of a cushion case design, titanium construction and lots of nifty details make this watch a winner and a distinctive piece that is functional, comfortable and makes you proud to wear a Swiss watch with some real heritage.  These watches tend to be heavily discounted, making them an even more attractive proposition.  In  this case, ‘JR’ could stand for ‘Just Right’.

Pros:  great build quality, lots of nice details (crown finishing, pusher design, striated dial), unique look, strong value, terrific presentation

Cons:  fixed timing bezel, deployant should be titanium to match rest of watch, skeleton hands not a favorite, crappy lume

Verdict:  JEANRICHARD has created an awesome watch in the Aeroscope chronograph, with its own signature look and high quality Swiss heritage.  A great watch in almost every respect   
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.



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