This is a very fine and rare stainless steel Geophysic E168 circa 1958 by Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC). This highly attractive example features the super rare “compass” version of the Geophysic dial. The piece is in near mint condition with the luminous dots intact under the original watch crystal. This dial version was the inspiration for the Geophysic 1958 Tribute Limited Edition pieces that JLC released in 2014.
The watch features a chronometer grade, manual caliber P478/BWSBr movement, with 17 jewels, fitted with a spirale Breguet, including a stop-lever design that enables the wearer to hack-set the watch. In keeping with the spirit of the watch as a tool for scientists and explorers, the movement is not decorated, but it exudes an emphasis on accurate time keeping rather than fine cosmetics. In the end, the movement of the Geo was directly descended from the Mark 11’s military grade JLC 488 SBr with some refinements such as added shock absorption.
The Geophysic was designed with a double case and screw-back for water resistance. The inner case is made of “soft iron” to achieve magnetic resistance of 600 Gauss. The dial is pressure-fit with retaining screws at 4 and 11 o’clock. One way verify the dial is refinished is to look under a loop at the first “R” in CHRONOMETRE which was not fully formed due to some quirk in the production of this iconic series.
This timepiece comes with sharp lugs and some normal to age surface wear – no scratches or dings. The dial is mint, and the raised numerals and markers are original – as are the luminous hands and crown. Also included is an appropriate vintage box and a vintage buckle. 35.5 mm diam.