Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Before I delve into the deets, let me give you some brief ownership history. As it stands now, I own an Orient Mako, a little quartz Bulova, a Seiko 5, an Orange Monster, an Omega Speedmaster, and the Moon. Departed is my Damasko DC56 [which will be repurchased!] and a JLC Master Control [also may be repurchased]. I have had my hands on Rolex, various Omegas, etc., so I like to think that I am fairly qualified in my assessments.
Enjoy! Also, I apologize in advance for the length!
As stated above, I used to owned a JLC MC, and I sold that off to fund the Moon. So at the very least I wanted to fill the hole in my collection that was previously filled by the MC. I also wanted something that was brand new. I purchased my MC second hand, and it always bothered me that some of the little nicks in the case were caused by the previous owner. I am insane like that. I wanted a dress watch, but I wanted something that could be dressed down. So, did it accomplish those goals?
Timekeeping and Movement:
The watch keeps great time. Between +0 to +1 seconds a day. No complaints here. Both JLCs I have owned have absolutely killed it when it comes to keeping good time.
Movement is great. Very nicely decorated for the price point. I wish there was some anglage on the bridges, but for a watch under $10,000, I really cannot complain about the movement and the finishing. The date changes instantaneously at midnight, which I am also a huge sucker for. I think at this price point that is a nice addition.
The case is legitimately a work of art. It really cannot be described as anything other than a masterpiece. The MUT case is almost painfully elegant. Far and away my favorite part of the watch. The first word that pops into my mind is ‘multifaceted.’
The angles of the case change from the bezel to the caseback around five times (see ghetto diagram). It is a detail that really pops in person, but is difficult to really identify in pictures. I tried my best though in the following picture!
The lugs are also wonderful. Compared to the fairly angular lines of the case, the lugs smoothly sweep downward in a beautifully organic shape. The lugs are very delicate, and match nicely with the fairly narrow bezel. I would not hesitate to call them sensual, as much as I hate to describe watches as being sensual. Hopefully the lady friend never reads this review! I honestly dare you to find a more attractive case for a dress watch.
What is there to say about the dial? It really is about as perfect as it gets. The only text on the dial is the “JL,” the words “Jaeger-LeCoultre,” and “Automatique.” No frivolous text here. The lower part of the moonphase subdial has a very fine circular guillochage. And the date ring has a nice almost enamel look to it. It looks quite striking adjacent to the sunburst silver dial. Let us also not forget the hands. As usual, the blued second hand is gorgeous, and the brushed / polished dauphine hands are beautiful. Perhaps I would prefer the hands to be a bit thicker, but there is NO DOUBT that it is not painfully elegant as is.
The crown is also beautiful. Very nicely shaped, and very detailed. The crown does have some “con” elements listed below.
So this is kind of a silly category, but this is the only descriptor I can think of. There are plenty of watches on this forum, and while there are many that I love, there are many that I dislike. There are some like the Milgauss with its lightning bolt hand and green crystal that are quirky, charming, and oh-so intriguing. But while some may love the Milgauss, others may think it is childish, immature, comical. In the same vein, while I really dig Panerai, there is no doubt that it stirs strong emotions. Same thing with my Orange Monster. I have worn it and people have legitimately wondered what on EARTH I had strapped to my wrist.
On the other hand, this watch… it is absolutely, undeniably, objectively beautiful. I am not saying that it is or should be on everyone’s wish list, but it is a nonconfrontational, elegant, and aesthetically pleasing watch. It is not very quirky, it is very traditional, and it is very well executed. There is no way that someone could look at the Moon and say, “wow, look at that monstrosity.” There may be some who think it is a bit old fogeyish, and I will not deny that. But there is something nice about strapping a watch to your wrist that is not going to be offending anyone. I would feel comfortable wearing it around anyone, anywhere.
Another plus is that the Moon will likely age well. Here is how I look at it. Right now the Moon is an athletic 21-year-old brunette with beautiful, fair skin, some freckles, and a thin frame. How will she look in 20 years? Who knows! That is one of the beautiful things about life. But all things considered, she has the attributes that would enable her to look more like a Cindy Crawford than a Nicole Kidman (see: Omega Forum). There is a much higher chance that my Moon is going to age better than my Orange Monster. That aspect of the Moon really does appeal to me.
Strap and deployant are great in my opinion. They both wear very well. I think that the quality of the strap is significantly better than my last JLC. Pics of both included for purpose of comparison.
This is the one primary issue I have with the watch. The crown is TINY. Like teeny tiny. I know, I know, it is an automatic, and if you wear it enough, this is a non-issue. But still, setting the time is a major pain in the ass. One good thing though is that it only has one position, so at least it has a sturdy feel. But you know, aesthetically, the crown is just a great size. So it is a bit of a trade off.
I know this is a bit nit-picky, but the moonphase appears kind of static. Unlike some ‘super high-end’ watches, the moonphase does not have applied stars, nor is the moon applied. I think that a more textured moonphase disc would be more harmonious with the guillochage on the bottom of the subdial and the sunburst texture of the dial itself. Is this a dealbreaker? Absolutely not. But it is definitely not as dynamic as the moonphases on other timepieces.
Do not kid yourself. This is not a versatile watch in the least. I know, I know, you do not buy a JLC Master series watch and think that it is going to take you everywhere. But I owned a Master Control for the better part of a year, and I found it to be FAR more versatile. Maybe it was the thicker bezel, maybe the date window, and maybe the Arabic numerals, but that piece was far more successful when it came to versatility. This one feels a little bit awkward when it comes to dressing it down. Of course, I will still wear it with khaki shorts and a polo, but it definitely does not mesh as well.
In order to wear it casually, I actually switched it to a tan ostrich strap. I really enjoyed wearing it this way, but I recently switched back to the black strap. There is no doubt in my mind that this watch was born to be worn on a black gator strap. I think that a navy gator and a dark brown gator would also be successful, so that will likely be a future purchase. I knicked the lugs a bit trying to change the straps, so I have decided to keep it on the black strap for a while.
“In Between” Comments:
Just some little asides I thought I would throw in, neither negative nor positive necessarily. First off, the lug width is surprisingly large for a thin, 39mm watch. Lug width is 21mm! For comparison, the JLC MC was 40mm in width, and took a 20mm strap. As I said, this is neither a negative nor a positive. It is just something I was a little bit surprised about. When I first looked at the side profile of the watch, it kind of reminded me of one of my heftier friends wearing a white, spread colored shirt and a bowtie for the first time. He looked dapper, but there was a lot of “empty space,” if you catch my drift. I kind of get the same feel when I look at the side profile of the watch. Fortunately, the empty space here is an absolutely beautiful crocodile strap, which is lovely to look at. This is just something I really did not notice until I wore it for a few days!
Another thing. There is no lume. Personally, I would be annoyed if there WAS lume on the watch. But I know that for some of you cats that is a deal breaker.
Another thing I think bears mentioning is that the moonphase and date are set through pushers at ~ 4:00 and 7:00. They are unobtrusive, and they actually look very nice set into the case. In a way it would be nice if the crown had two positions, and rotating the crown clockwise and counter-clockwise set the date and moonphase. In other words, for the watch to function similarly to the FC Slimline Moonphase that just came out. Personally though, I do not mind setting the date and moonphase with pushers. I actually prefer it on this watch, because I would rather not be fiddling with the crown all the time.
All in all, I cannot recommend this watch more. It is an absolutely stunningly beautiful JLC. I know that this review was a bit harsh, but I think people need to be fully informed before they make a purchase of this magnitude. If I were to go back in time, I would do it all over again.
Just one final thought. I have not bonded to this watch as much as I would have hoped yet. With my Speedmaster, I really did bond with it very quickly. But I also think that the Speedy is a much more charming watch. I have not had the chance to really wear the Moon everyday though, although that will be changing soon when I start my new job in September. So I will be sure to keep this thread updated when it comes to describing how I feel about the watch over time.
Edited by Newcomer - 6/17/13 at 5:34am