The new JeanRichard Bressel 1665 Small Hour and Minute automatic wristwatch delivers a winning combination of a vintage-styled dial, classic body, and a modern mechanism. Perhaps, its only drawback is the price that some may find too high for a watch manufactured by a second-tier brand.
The future is bright for JeanRichard. Like a seasoned bluesman, the Swiss brand has found its best sounding notes and keeps churning out new models following the time-proven grand design. While putting the biggest bet on their signature cushion-shaped models, they also experiment with dressier, more classic-looking timepieces.
Among the new models presented by the independent Swiss manufactures at SIHH 2011, was a beautiful vintage-styled JeanRichard Bressel 1665 Small Hour and Minute automatic watch.
Following the same scheme as their wonderful Bressel Hommage a Daniel, the new timekeeper features a well-executed white enamel dial and is refreshingly small: something that you will rarely find these days when everyone seems to be obsessed with a size of their watch.
If you, like yours truly, mostly associate the brand with their Aquascope line of diver’s watches, this new Bressel 1665 Small Hour and Minute will probably make a very strong impression on you. Dressy and extremely elegant, it looks more like it was designed by a brand such as A. Lange & Sohne: a company that has hundreds of gorgeous dressy timekeeper designs under its belt.
Looking at it, I feel that JeanRichard really invested thousands of hours and hundreds of sleepless nights into designing this beauty. With its milk-white dial serving as a perfect background for the blued hands and black sub-dial scales, this is truly a must have for any serious collector.
Mechanism & Case
Delivered in an understated stainless steel case 38 mm in diameter and 10.75 mm in height, the watch is animated by JeanRichard’s relatively new JR1040 self-winding movement.
The movement, which is probably based on their JR1000 work horse, is built on 29 jewels and beats at a pretty standard frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour.
Compared to the base version, the mechanism has its normal calendar wheel replaced with a circular one and there is also a power reserve indicator added making using the timepiece a lot more comfortable and also reducing significantly the ‘range anxiety’ syndrome that is well-known to any enthusiast who happens to own more than a couple of mechanical timekeepers. Even if the watch spends most of its life in a box, you will always know when to put it on a wrist in order to fully ‘recharge’ the main spring.
Well, considering that the watch has a power reserve of just 48 hours, you will always have a good excuse to put this beauty on your wrist every other day.
Beautifully decorated and quite precise, it is modified in such a way as to allow a number of off-centered indicators occupy the same white lacquered dial without stepping constantly on each other’s toes.
See also: JeanRichard Bressel Hommage a Daniel
Of course, the hour and minute hands will overlap the circular calendar display from time to time thus obstructing view, but that doesn’t look like a serious problem to me.
As you can see on the pictures, the new JeanRichard Bressel 1665 Small Hour and Minute has its main dial with leaf-shaped hour and minute hands moved closer to 12 o’clock.
This allowed for a lot more breathing space for the subsidiary seconds display at 7 o’clock, a power reserve indicator at 5 o’clock and a date indicator at 3 o’clock.
To make the “main” sub-dial better stand out from the rest of the crowd, it is provided with Roman numerals and a very organic-looking railway minute track.
From where I sit, the dial lacks some depth and it would be better off if some of the sub-dials (A date, or a small seconds, maybe?) were slightly concaved, but otherwise the watch is just perfect.
At a price of almost €8000, the timekeeper is quite expensive. However, a similarly designed Glashutte Original Panoreserve with a nice hand-wound movement is about €3000 more expensive and it certainly doesn’t have this beautiful enameled design as this specimen. On the other hand, the German timepiece will probably retain its value better. Decisions, decisions.
JeanRichard Bressel 1665 Small Hour and Minute automatic watch specification
Price: Approx. €8000
Movement: Automatic, Caliber JR1040, 25.94 mm in diameter, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 29
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 38 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 10.75 mm
Dial: White, lacquered
Numerals: Roman (hours and minutes) and Arabic (calendar)
Hands: Steel, blued
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black alligator strap. Stainless steel tang buckle
Case back: Sapphire