The new JB 200 is both a tribute to and an update of the historic model developed by Jacques Bianchi in the early 1980s. Reissuing a historic watch is never easy. In fact, it is a delicate exercise. Should it be reproduced identically? Or should the aesthetic and technical codes be revisited to modernize it from A to Z? Should we take inspiration from it to open new creative paths? The possibilities were numerous. After several months of research and development, it was decided to remain faithful to the historical spirit of the JB 200, which was used by the French Navy, with its 42 mm steel case evoking the characteristic design of the "skin divers" of the 1970s, its "destro" crown offset to the left, its black dial decorated with the silhouette of a large diver, its water resistance to 200 meters, its luminescent indexes and its extremely legible hands.
A mechanical movement with automatic winding
At the time, the JB 200 was powered by a quartz movement, a France-Ebauches for the first series. With the help of Fabrice Pougez, the Jacques Bianchi Marseille team has chosen to equip the new model with a Seiko NH35 mechanical movement with automatic winding, whose robustness, reliability, and precision are proven. The idea here is to move upmarket with a tried and tested automatic movement, without however scratching the watchmaking magic of the original piece. The historical model had a date window at 6 o'clock. What about the new model? In the 1980s, Jacques Bianchi had also developed a junior model of his JB 200 with the silhouette of a small diver on its dial. This track was also considered. It has been explored. It will exist, or not. That's it for the main lines, knowing that every detail of this new piece has been thought about, debated, day after day, night after night, without stopping. And, even if we are from Marseilles, we promise you that we are not exaggerating!
A "destro" case
The design of the case of the historic JB 200 evokes at first glance that of the diving watches of the 1970s, halfway between the finesse of the "skin divers" of the 1960s and the robustness of the divers of the 1980s. In order to equip the new model with an automatic caliber - necessarily thicker than a quartz movement - the proportions had to be reviewed and improved. The 42 mm off-crown diameter of the case remains unchanged, but a long adjustment process was necessary to preserve the spirit of the historical shapes and the technical requirements imposed by the integration of an automatic movement. "This lengthy study and prototyping work is necessary and indispensable," notes Fabrice Pougez. "Developing this project goes beyond technical contingencies, it's pure pleasure! "
A dial with a unique "diver" pattern
The silhouette of this great diver, with his eye riveted on his watch, is the trademark and historical uniqueness of the JB 200. The new model will obviously be faithful to the old one on this graphic point which signs the DNA of the brand and its great originality. Luminescent, the indexes and hands are no longer made of tritium, but are charged with an ivory colored Super-LumiNova to suggest the great dive into the past. "Dozens of tests and experiments were necessary with our Swiss supplier to find the perfect color," says Jacques Bianchi. The black dial is the same size as the original, with a grained texture to accentuate the play of light and shadow. The design of the hands - "stick" for the hours, "arrow" for the minutes and "square lollipop" for the seconds - has been retained. The spirit is there!
More precisely, the size of the indexes has been slightly increased for better readability. The indication "Jacques Bianchi Marseille" also appears at 6 o'clock, as a nod to the typographic location of the technical specifications of professional diving watches. The unidirectional 60-click bezel features the typical graduation of the historic model from the 1980s; its numerals and minute track are made of Super-LumiNova in the same ivory color as the hands and indexes. Finally, the original mirror-polished inclined bezel has been identically reproduced to maximize light reflections on the dial. The new JB 200 will be equipped with a black Tropic-type rubber strap, characteristic of the era of its birth.
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