We recently tested the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph, which was first introduced in May 2012. In our review, we will show you our original photos and give you our thoughts on how the watch feels on the wrist, how it looks, and how it works — like usual. However, for this particular review, we will take what we typically do a step further. We not only tested the Deep Sea in our office and in the concrete jungle, New York City, we also took it to its native environment — the sea.
First, we will show images and give our impressions of the watch in a dry environment (The Boardroom). Then, we will show you images and give our thoughts from wearing the watch at the beach, underwater, and how it performs in a wet environment (The Beach)
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph is powered by automatic caliber 758 that consists of 340 components, 47 of which are jewels. It runs at a rate of 4Hz, has two barrels that provide a maximum 65-hour power reserve, and it has been tested for 1000 hours — like every Jaeger-LeCoultre watch — ensuring optimal operation, reliability, and accuracy.
The chronograph start, stop and reset functions are actuated via a column-wheel and vertical clutch system. In comparison to a cam, lever and oscillating pinion operated chronograph this combination ensures smoother actuation of the pushers. Furthermore, this premium configuration also eliminates unwanted jitters from the chronograph seconds hand, when starting and stopping the stopwatch.
A sporty white on black dial features a grainy textured black matte surface with prominent white triangular hour markers. The bezel is stainless steel with a black matte anodized aluminum insert. It features a 60-click unidirectional design that is very precise without being too stiff. Hour markers, hour and minute hands, and the 60-minute dive scale all feature white luminous material that glows bright green in the dark.
Hours and minutes are displayed by steel baton hands. At 6 o’clock is a continuously running subsidiary seconds display. Chronograph counters located at 9 and 3 o’clock display 12-hours and 30-minutes, respectively.
Chronograph seconds are displayed by a long white centrally mounted seconds hand. All subsidiary dials have baton hands are painted white, but with no lume. The circular aperture, just below the printed “Jaeger-LeCoultre” logo, is the chronograph operating indicator, which we will discuss more in-depth in below.
Crafted in stainless steel, the case measures 42 mm by 13.9 mm and has a look that is reminiscent of a Rolex Submariner or Omega Speedmaster. The Deep Sea design is inspired by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s historical “Chronoflight” instrument as well as the 1959 Memovox Deep Sea. However, unlike the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph or the Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea models, which come in smaller 40.5 mm cases, have fixed bezels and lume with artificial patina — the Deep Sea Chronograph has a more modern look and feel. In fact, unlike the others, it’s a true ISO 6425 compliant dive watch, which we will discuss below.
A nice alternating mix of polished and brushed surfaces gives the watch some luster, but not too much. Polished non-locking pump pushers and a polished flat unsigned crown further add to the great look. The black perforated leather strap with polished pin buckle feels great in the office and around town, and the water-resistant rubber coating (which is on both sides of the strap) resists sweat better than a typical calfskin strap. As far as desk divers go, this one is about as good as it gets.
How does the Deep Sea Chrono perform in the much harsher wet environment for which it was designed?
Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph at the beach
As we mentioned above, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph is an excellent desk diver — but now we are going to tell you how it performs in the ocean. During a recent trip to the Caribbean, over the course of three days, I tested the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea in its native environment. I wore it swimming, snorkeling, skin diving, paddle boarding, and boating.
How it performs underwater
Even in very bright sunlight, the legibility through the thick concave sapphire crystal was good both above and beneath the surface of the water. We really like that Jaeger-LeCoultre chose to omit the date in favor of a clean (easy to read dial). The bezel, which is of the 60-click variety, is precise without being overly firm and accordingly, it stayed in place the entire time with no wiggle or accidental rotation.
The chronograph is rated to work down to 100 meters, and it worked perfectly as I tested the start/stop/reset functions, while full submerged, dozens and dozens of times. Basically, for three days I took it out in a harsh saltwater environment — an environment that can ruin any watch. Yet, apart from getting some sand wedged in between the small gap between the case and solid screw-down caseback — it performed flawlessly.
Chronograph operating indicator
Interestingly, there’s a feature called the “operating indicator” that shows you which mode the chronograph is currently in, and theoretically should prevent you from hitting the pusher when you are in the middle of timing your dive. The indicator, which was inspired by the historical Jaeger “Chronoflight” onboard instrument allows the wearer to see at a glance whether the disc shows that the chronograph is ready for use (white), in operation (white/red) or stopped (red).
Is this a true dive watch?
Yes, it meets the ISO 6425 standard which stipulates a diver’s watch must have: a time controller (the dive bezel), a minimum 100-meters of water resistance, luminosity, shock resistance, resistance to magnetic fields and a robust band.
We asked two certified divers what they thought about using an underwater capable chronograph like the Deep Sea, to time their dives. They both agreed that they would prefer to use a dive bezel over a chronograph, without question. Why? In comparison to a chronograph, a dive bezel is much easier to read.
A diver can read the luminous markings on the diving scale and bezel, along with the luminous hour and minute hands, therefore allowing dives to be timed — even in low-light conditions. Moreover, a dive bezel is much harder to accidentally reset than a chronograph, and, therefore, more safe and reliable. Even with the unique indicator function of the chronograph, you can still inadvertently stop or reset the chronograph.
A black perforated calfskin leather strap is included. And as mentioned above, it has a sporty look that pairs well with the watch and functions perfectly in a dry environment. How does it work in a wet environment though?
The strap features a special rubber coating that does a good job of repelling moisture such as if you’re sweating or occasionally jumping in the water. However, if you wear the watch in the water for longer durations, the leather underneath the rubber coating gets soaked.
Thankfully, this can be easily fixed with a proper rubber dive strap. Not to mention, a rubber strap will be more secure on your wrist, which is especially important if you plan to actually dive with this watch. And rubber, is, of course, impervious to water. So you won’t be walking around all day with a wet strap.
The Deep Sea Chronograph (Ref. 2068570) has a design that reminds me of two other classic sports watches: the Submariner and Speedmaster. The Jaeger-LeCoultre, of course, has a look of its own. With the combined functionality of both of those classics, all in one watch.
I really like that they finished all the metal surfaces on the top of the watch, with a mirror polish. This gives the watch a beautiful sheen that I could not help noticing every day that I wore it. The Deep Sea is an excellent sports watch that looks and performs well, anywhere from the boardroom to the sea.
The retail price is $11,300.