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WATCH REVIEW Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic

Editor's opinion
74 / 100
An extreme diver's watch in full compliance with the ISO 6425 norm, with a mechanical gauge inspired by the Atmos, and easy-to-use GMT features... Review of the Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic.
Straight to the Point

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic

Ref.: Q185T770
$19,900.00 US retail price June 16th, 2011
Pros
  • a technical watch that is compliant with the ISO 6425 norm
  • fun features that are easy to use
  • a strong and consistent “diving tool” look
  • its manufactured caliber
Cons
  • its lack of versatility
  • its size
  • the absence of a double-safety clasp for the rubber strap
  • its price, given the watch’s exclusive purpose
Brand Jaeger-LeCoultre
Model name
Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic
Reference
Q185T770
Case material
Titanium
Case diameter (without crown)
47.63 mm
Case diameter (crown included)
60.75 mm (10h - 4h)
Movement type
Automatic
Caliber
Jaeger-LeCoultre Cal. 979
Base Caliber
Manufacture
Functions
Date
Depth gauge
Double display GMT (hours and cities)
Functioning indicator
Hour (GMT setting)
Minute
Crystal
Camberred sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating (hardness 9)
Power reserve
48h
Transparent back
No
Lug width
23.16 mm
Length from lug to lug
54.85 mm
Case thickness
19.78 mm
Strap material
Moulded rubber on a steel basis
Clasp type
Deployment clasp
Clasp material
Grade 5 titanium
Total weight
195 grams
Retail price USA at June 16th, 2011
$19,900.00
Comfort (/15) 12
Movement (/20) 16
Movement Optimisation / Garnishment (/5) 4
Ease of handling and adjustment (/5) 5
Movement control proceeded by the Manufacture / horlogical awards (/3) 2
Power reserve (/2) 1
Complications (/5) 4
Finishing (/20) 15
Dial finishing (/6) 5
Case finishing (/6) 4
Quality of garnishment / caseback engraving quality (/2) 2
Crystal quality (/4) 3
Clasp finishing (inner and extern) (/2) 1
Functionality (/20) 16
Diurnal legibility (/5) 5
Night legibility (/4) 3
Water resistance (/3) 2
Strap : ease of size adjustment + ease of substitution (/4) 3
Clasp : quality and safety (/4) 3
Additional items (/10) 4
Limited edition (/3) 0
Watch delivered with several straps (/2) 1
Quality of the watch box (/1) 1
Portability with shirtsleeves buttoned (/2) 0
Goodies included (/1) 1
Understandability of the brochure (/1) 1
Value for money (/15) 11
When to wear it ? During a diving excursion at Bora Bora!
Users opinion
80%
like this watch
Do you like this watch?

A technical dive watch

At first sight, this dive watch can seem puzzling.
First, on the edges of the large case sit the two crowns with compression keys, a distinguishing feature of the current Compressor series.
But more importantly, your eye will catch a strange outgrowth located between 8 and 10 o’clock.

Let’s start then with the mechanical depth gauge, which is what that “outgrowth” is.
It displays the water depth during dives up to 80 meters and is the result of unique developments on the part of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

This complex system, centered around a membrane attached in the depth gauge’s case, was inspired by the prototype wristband watch version of the Atmos pendulum clock with its winding mechanism powered by the expansion and retraction of a temperature-sensitive gas.
In this particular case, the membrane contracts in response to water pressure and indicates to its owner the depth at which he is moving about (see the video below for an out-of-water demonstration).

Some unoccupied space on the dial gives connoisseurs the opportunity to witness the rack mechanism that activates a snail pinion that moves the depth gauge’s hand.

The logarithmic scale allows for more precision on the first fifty meters, with markers for every meter. Then, between 50 and 80 meters, the indicators are in increments of two meters. It’s simple and even fun to use!

The hand’s blue color provides good visibility underwater because of its particular location in the chromatic spectrum, but we were unfortunately unable to test it!

A big, yet comfortable diver’s watch

Let’s put the watch on.

Here’s another surprise: the weight of this Jaeger-LeCoultre does not match its impressive size – almost 20mm in thickness with a diameter of more than 60mm, bezel included (measured diagonally from 10 to 4 o’clock)!

Indeed, the use of grade 5 titanium considerably lightens the load – which, in spite of this, is still 195g.
It also gives the casing of this Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic a look that is both technical and simple with its satin brushed-finish, while still providing a comfortable fit on the wrist.

The watch comes with two straps (along with the small tool required to switch them on the watch), one made of Cordura, designed for diving, and the other made of rubber molded on a metal base.
We should note that the rubber strap has an extension specially designed for diving.

Both straps, each with their own individual style, provide a very comfortable wear on the wrist.

However, when you’ve come back up to the surface, you will wear your Jaeger-LeCoultre with jeans and sneakers; wearing a suit and tie will indeed prove to be a bit of a challenge given the look and size of the watch!

Features that are fun and useful

As far as the setting for the different displays on the dial, Jaeger-LeCoultre keeps it simple, to the connoisseurs’ great pleasure, with the help of a very clear instruction manual.

The instinctive reading of the time is done without any difficulties, day or night.

The aesthetic of the two crowns with their compression keys can seem intimidating for those who are not familiar with such things.

In reality, nothing could be easier to use: rotating the wingnuts unlocks the crowns for a traditional use to set and wind the watch – the small blue arrows on the dial’s side will indicate that the crowns are unlocked.

Once you are done with all the different settings, you can rotate the wingnuts in the opposite direction (with the small white arrows on the top) and thus ensure that your Jaeger-LeCoultre is completely waterproof.

The setting for the hours (which is done by one-hour increments forward and backwards, independently of the minutes), as well as the ones for the minutes and the date are all done smoothly and with ease.

The watch also has a GMT feature with two displays easy to adjust and read, with the hours on a subdial situated at 9 o’clock, and the world cities located at 6 o’clock.

Is it really essential to have a GMT feature on a diver’s watch with such an extreme look?
Undoubtedly no.
And this Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic’s dial (with its design displaying six levels meant to integrate all the information provided) would have greatly benefitted from the simplicity of not having this complication.
But this GMT feature is still useful when you are out of the water – especially if you plan a diving trip to Bora Bora!

In any case, the instinctive reading of the time is done without any difficulties, day or night.

Finally, an indicator inside the dial at 6 o’clock indicates that the watch is running properly, thus allowing divers to make sure that their Jaeger-LeCoultre has not stopped working in the middle of their dive.
We should note that this type of indicator is one of the mandatory features required for professional diver’s watches, in accordance with the ISO 6425 norm.

This Jaeger-LeCoultre, which complies with the ISO 6424 norm, can thus be adorned with the Diving Pro mention – engraved on the back of the case.

Movement: caliber Jaeger-LeCoultre 979

The Jaeger-LeCoultre 979 automatic caliber, developed for the Compressor series, is over-sized.
It has, of course, the “1,000 Hours Control” seal, characteristic of the brand, and will run regularly throughout its 48 hours of power reserve.

Its rotor is mounted on a ceramic bearing that doesn’t require any lubrication.

Its variable inertia balance, attached to a bridge, instead of a simple cock, moves at a rate of 28,800 alternations per hour.

Its meticulous finish (hand-decorated with circular Côtes de Genève, bevelling, blued screws) is not visible to its owner since this technical watch is equipped with a solid background.

To see the depth gauge in action (or click HERE if you are unable to see this video):

What to remember

With its Master Compressor Diving Pro Georaphic, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents us with a watch that mixes high-level technical characteristics with original and practical features.

It will appeal to the connoisseurs of fine watchmaking and water sports in search of a high-end tool watch with a design that does not compromise.

 

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