JLC Master Geographique – personal experience

Forum: TimeZone – Advanced Forum

Date: Sun, 05 Apr 1998 13:10:35 GMT

Dear TZers,

for over 5 weeks now I have the privilege to wear a JLC Master Geographique in SS. It was bought at Zigerli & Iff in Bern, Switzerland (not a large shop, but a very good address for buying higher end watches, and a very serious approach to the customer; Mr. Iff always wants to sell me a PP, but for now the price is a bit too high for me, especially of those PPs, which I like :-) ).

I want to share my experiences with you, and I try to keep it only at the technical level (needless to say, I fell in love with the watch):

I will try to describe the basic facts about the watch and mix them up with my personal views:

1. The face of the watch – the dial

My SS version has a silver dial, dauphine silver minute and hour hands, a blue second hand and black (I think, it is much darker than the second hand) subdial hands. At 10:00 there is the power reserve indicator, at 2:00 the date subdial (not a date window), and at 6:00 there is the second time zone, which has at its 9:00 a round window indicating day/night at the 2nd time zone. Below this dial there is a window through which the circular plate with city names (time zones) is visible.

The design is breathtaking, the power reserve hand pointing to the periphery of the dial, in contrast to Master Reserve de Marche, where it points to the centre of the dial; the former being much more beautiful for me. The watch is very attractive, much more in reality than on a picture.

There are only 2 drawbacks of the dial: a) it is difficult to read. This is a common drawback of complicated dials, but maybe with a different colour of the minute and hour hand (which are silver-coloured, as the background) it would be better. b) the time can not be read at night at all. The phosphor on the minute and hour hand is not sufficiently different in shape and length. At night one can not differentiate these two hands. Additionally, there are no
luminescent marks on the indexes.

2. The case

The watch is waterproof till 50 m. The case is in SS, on the back there is a gold-plated 1000 hrs test stamp. The back is hold in place by 4 screws, as in all Master watches I know. There are two crowns: one for
hand winding, adjusting of the second time and of the “main” time, one for changing the time zone. For those who are not familiar with the Geographique: one can automatically change the time zone of the second time through this crown. At 6:00 there is a window in which the city names corresponding to the given timezones are seen and one can through the latter crown change this cities, thus changing the second time automatically. The date is changed by a push button at 2:00, which is completely inserted into the case. This push button and the crown at 3:00 are located more closely toward the back, the crown at 10:00 is closer to the front of the watch.

The case has a typical design of 1950-ies. I miss a bit a crown protection at least for the crown at 3:00.

3. The heart – the movement

The Geographique is equipped with a JLC cal. 929, which is based on the 889/1. Here are some technical aspects: -28800 A/hr -293 parts -height 4.5 mm -diameter 36.6mm (11 lines) -38 jewels -glucydur balance -triovis adjustment -kif shock protection -adjusted to 5 pos. + temp.
-bi-directionally winding rotor

The finish corresponds to JLC standards, is thus from the very best. The gain in everyday use is exceptional. Keeping the power reserve between 30-40 hrs, the watch gains 0 sec. !!! (over more than 14 days). If the power reserve falls between 20-30 hrs, it gains 3 sec. a day. Remarkably, the gain does not change if one puts it at night with the face up or with the crown up, which speaks for a very good regulation. As I am very busy, I had no time to consequently test the gain in different positions more precisely. The date-switch takes place between 23:45 and 0:30. What I also
realized is that the date change is less disturbing in this type of date indication (in comparison to a date window, where you see a half of two numbers at once around midnight). The watch has a hack feature.

What I also realized is a certain play of the time-zone (city names) circle. If I tilt my wrist in certain directions, a small movement of the dial is seen (about 0.5mm). It moves to the sides as well as to the front/back. Moving the wrist one can even hear a quiet click. I asked my watchmaker at Bern and at Frankfurt, but none of them could say anything precise about it. Only our master himself, Walt Odets, said this to be normal, as the link between the timezone and the second time has to have some play so as not to push the hrs hand somewhere between the hours. Anyway, I am a little bit concerned about the bumping of the circle on it surroundings and the longtime effects of this (would also welcome your opinion).


The watch is with distance the best watch I own and one of the best I have seen so far. Hope it will keep such great time – then our love will never end… :-)