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Why We Love It
There’s something about a good chronograph that just tickles one’s fancy.
This one from LeJour, in particular, tickles us in all the right ways. From its glossy black dial to its nearly-perfect straight-lug 38mm case and broad-arrow handset, we just can’t get enough of it!
This chronograph is an excellent example of what Yema (alias LeJour) was up to in the 1960s. With the growing popularity of motorsports, watch brands rushed to meet the growing demand for motoring-inspired watches. While the Heuer Carrera is perhaps the most popular of these, Yema certainly was no slouch.
Proportionally, it’s similar to the straight-lug Omega Speedmaster worn by Ed White. The presence of broad arrow hands, used by Omega in even earlier Speedmaster models, also draws a comparison to that watch. But its black dial with red highlights, capped off by the lightly ghosted timing bezel, gives this watch a character all its own.
All of these factors make this chronograph a strong value proposition, and a stunning historical example of the chronograph's golden era, when distributors such as LeJour brought amazing watches to the States.
As far removed from Switzerland as we are here in the States, many have this impression of the Swiss watch industry as being closed-off and protected from the outside world. While that might have applied in the industry’s early days, when it was a cottage industry (quite literally), the advent of mass machining in the Industrial Revolution busted down the borders. Where dozens of watches might have been produced in a single year, by the 1930s they were in the thousands.
All of those watches had to go somewhere, so the Swiss watch industry turned its collective might on the United States. Thousands of Swiss-made watches flooded into the country, already reeling from the Great Depression. The once-mighty American watch industry foundered.
So the U.S. government passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill in the 1930s. Under the bill, Swiss tariffs on Swiss imports were raised to 53%. As a result, Swiss exports to the States fell 48%.
Where, you ask, does LeJour come into all this?
In order to get around the tariffs, many Swiss watch companies entered into relationships with distributors, either based in the U.S. or with ties to the States. LeJour was one such company. It was founded in the 1960s by French brand Yema, best known for the Yachtingraf, its sporty line of regatta timers.
LeJour also had a relationship with that chronograph powerhouse, Heuer. The two companies entered into an agreement in the 1960s, where Heuer would manufacture watches for LeJour to sell under their own label in the U.S. Additionally, giveaway contests with American Express or Jeep made these watches quite popular in the States.
Stainless steel case is approximately 38mm. Valjoux 7733 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1960s.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear. Luminous glossy black dial is great condition with even patina and matching ‘broad arrow’ handset. Unsigned crown.
Includes 18mm brown leather strap with steel pin buckle.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options