Among all the watches from the Jubilé Collection, the most famous is certainly, and by far, the E 168.
The strong interest of the Geophysic lies in the fact that it the the addition of History, Horology and aesthetics.
Through this reference, Jaeger-Lecoultre made an obvious link between them, and the I.G.Y, in different ways:
First, by the name: Geophysic.
Then, by the Logo on the case back, also used on the warranty and tag, clearly borrowed to the I.G.Y.
And last but not least, by an intense campaign of communication.
- A group of Geneva citizens decided to gift to the Commanders of the two nuclear submarines- Anderson for the Nautilus, Clavert for the Skate- two Geophysic Chronometers, which were given to them on the 16th of December 1958, by the Admiral Walder. ( Commander Anderson is on the right, Commander Calvert is on the left )
A close up on the two gifted chronometers, on which was engraved the following words: " From the citizen of Geneva to U.S.S Skate Commander James F Calvert ( same for Commander Anderson ) in recognition of the historic conquest of the North Pole in August 11th 1958. "
The communication showed some audace and pride...
" Where the unusual is common place ":
" Solitude and the patient pursuit of knowledge ":
And, from time to time, a great sense of humour.
" A watch which defies magnetism, but which also magnetizes the clients ".
Without forgetting to remind the true virtues of this watch: Antimagnetic ( to 600 Gauss ), Antichoc, and Chronometric Accuracy, of course.
A technical draw about the case, provided by the Heritage Gallery:
The Geophysic was built as a toolwatch can be:
To insure some excellent magnetism resistance, both the dial and the dust cover above the movement were made in soft iron.
To be precise, only the Ref E 168 received such an amagnetic treatment, not the other Geophysic, so called De Luxe ", whose Reference is 2985..
The dial is very sober, simple, legible, and fragile: How many are still in good conditon, without chips, or totally ruined?
No mention of the name " Geophysic " on the dial, just a discrete " Chronometre ", but on the case back, with a lovely sticker, as shown above.
Here are two nice examples, the first one still having its original plexy with its radium dots each five minutes:
The other being mine,without the original ( and flatter plexy, but in superb condition ) :
The case, curiously, is not as elegant as a Geomatic can be, but the watch was destined to Adventurers and Scientists, and, at least it shows a lot of character.
The movement is of course one of the very interesting part of the watch.
The Cal P 478 BWSBr is an evolution of the Mark 11 Cal 488 SBr, with some aesthetical differences, and horological improvements.
The Cal P 478 BWSBr:
Stil pleasant to see, you will immediately see that it is not decorated, nor finished like the Cal 488 SBr, which I personally find just superb.
- The Geophysic movement receives two technical improvements: The Parachoc, and the swan neck.
Of course, the P 488 BWSBr shares the same stop lever, seen on the 488 SBr, this long metallic curve which " touches " the balance wheel.
- The Geophysic was conceived like a toolwatch, all dedicated to amagnetism and accuracy, so it is more curious to see such a nice movement on a military watch than seeing a downgraded finish and decoration on a " civilian toolwatch ". Still, once again, the Geophysic movement is really pleasant to see.
That being said, we have to add that the Geophysic, during it short life ( 1958 - 1961 ) was produced in two different cases ( E 168 and Ref 2985 " De Luxe ), and in different metals.
E 168 in stainless Steel: 1038 watches.
E 168 in Yellow Gold: 222 pieces. ( Credit picture: Antiquorum )
E 168 in Rose Gold; 30 pieces, according to the Heritage Gallery, but I think there are a bit more, as I know at least 12 of them.
The E 168 also came in a very short batch with " Cross Hair " dials in stainless steel and in gold, a dial which was designed one year after the most known one:
In Yellow Gold
At this day, the number of " Cross Hair " Geophysics made is not known, but from what I observed, the production must really be small.
As for the much wiser Ref 2985, it came in a confidential production: 103 pieces in Yellow Gold only according to the Heritage Gallery ( 101 in 1958, 2 watches in 1959 ).
Here is the Yellow Gold De Luxe, which had a different case, in shape and i size ( 34 mm )
So, a total of ( approximatively ) 1393 Geophysics were made, with, still, this doubt about the number of Rose Gold E 168 produced, which is not corresponding with the total production of movements ( 2500 ), but we also know that some P478BWSBr were provided to Vacheron Constantin for their Chronometre Royal ( Cal 1008 ) and that some may well have been used in other JLC watches ( See the Mysterious Service Hydrographique Marine Nationale )
Let me close the Geophysic part with this last document, which gives us an idea of the Geophysic retail price in stainless steel ( acier ), and rose or yellow gold ( or rose ou jaune ), from the 1958 Catalog: