JB200 : The new watch created by Jacques Bianchi !
by Lukas Joseph
Diving watch used by the French Navy, the JB200 was created in the 1980s in Marseilles. It is recognizable by its unique dial which features the silhouette of a diver in action. It is part of the great watchmaking history of “French Skin Divers”. Its story is that of a blessed watchmaking era that will is soon to be reborn on Kickstarter on the 15th of June.
The diving watch Jacques Bianchi resurfaces in Marseille
Diving watch used by the French Navy, the JB200 was created in the 1980s in Marseilles. It is recognizable by its unique dial which features the silhouette of a diver in action. It is part of the great watchmaking history of “French Skin Divers”. Its story is that of a blessed
watchmaking era that will is soon to be reborn on Kickstarter on the 15th of June.
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.
An emblematic design of the divers of the French Navy
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 offcrown 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! “
At the time, the JB 200 was powered by a quartz movement, a France-Ebauches for the first series. 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. 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 re-edition that faithfully
revisits and modernizes the
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.
- Diameter: 42.0 mm
- Thickness: 13.3 mm
- 316L steel case
- Bezel with Super-LumiNova
- Sapphire crystal
- Seiko NH35 movement
- 20.0 mm width between lugs
- Insert black bezel with Super-LumiNova
- Screwed crown at 9 o’clock
- Water resistance: 200 M (20 bar)
Dive into the depths of
time with the intergenerational trio Jacques Bianchi, Fabrice
Pougez and Simo Tber
Jacques Bianchi, the oldest but not the wisest, had a crazy dream of relaunching his JB 200 diving watch that equipped the French Navy in the 1980s. In the Marseilles world, from Comex to Captain Cousteau, the inspiration of the underwater world guided this master
watchmaker whose captain’s workshop overlooks the Old Port.
The man of maturity, Fabrice Pougez, did not hesitate for a single moment to join this new adventure. For more than fifteen years, his MATWatches brand has positioned itself as the French leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of watches intended for
professionals and lovers of watches with character.
Fabrice Pougez has built his reputation for excellence by customizing watches for the military, navigators, explorers, members of the special forces, sea rescuers and pilots, among others. Its automatic tool-watches are renowned for their reliability, precision, extreme legibility, and foolproof ruggedness. The youngest member of the family, Simo Tber, did not doubt for a second that he would join the project. For more than 5 years, he has been accompanying the French watchmaking industry in its digitalization with his company Direct Lemon and collaborates with major fashion and luxury brands. He brings to this alliance his expertise and the culture of communication necessary for the development of the project.
The JB 200 will be available exclusively to pre-order on Kickstarter from Tuesday, 15th of June.
For further information contact silene fry