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Jacques Lemans Watches


Always"watching"
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Another name that isn't for real - Jacques Lemans - but because this name, and the back to back L logo, is found on a considerable number of mid-market watches, it is a brand we need to consider. In fact, Jacques Lemans is also responsible for another brand of watches, nicely named, "Alpha Saphir," which will also be considered briefly here (although not illustrated).

Jacques Lemans GesmbH was founded in 1975 at St. Viet an der Glan, in Austria, in 1975 by two brothers, Alfred and Norbert Riedl, and by 2013 the company portfolio comprised no less than 850 watch models. According to watch-wiki, the firm is 100% family owned and is engaged in all development, production and marketing of its watches. Alfred and Norbert Riedl are the Managing Directors of the firm, and there are 9,500 sales outlets distributing the watches to 120 countries worldwide.

 

 

A rather beautiful gold-plated stainless steel automatic chronograph by Jacques Lemans, powered by a Valjoux automatic chronograph movement, caliber 7750. 40mm case with sapphire crystal and display back and is priced by Overstock.com at £824 - now out of stock (pic from ak1.ostkcdn.com):

L11497750.jpg

 

 

 

The history of the firm between its inception in the mid-1970s and 2013, in a bit more detail, runs as follows:

Although the Jacques Lemans (jewellery and watch) was company was founded in 1979, Jacques Lemans branded watches seem to have appeared somewhat later, with a brand launch in 1983.  In the build-up to the launch, Jacques Lemans acquired a Swiss subsidiary in 1982 and commenced production of watches in Switzerland. Then, in 1983, another subsidiary was founded, in Hong Kong, where watch production of Jacques Lemans watches also began. 

The company engaged in watch production  and marketing on an international scale in 1990, with a second Far Eastern production plant coming on stream in 1993. Jacques Lemans opened a German subsidiary in 1995, with the launch of Jacques Lemans Germany. Then, in 1999, just before the millennium, the new brand, Alpha Saphir, was launched as a companion brand to Jacques Lemans watches. In 2002, Jacques Lemans launched its Swiss-made watches under the "Jacques Lemans Geneve" name and shifted Swiss production to Geneva. 

The later period of Jacques Lemans is dominated by links with sport. The Jacques Lemans Arena was opened in 2005, and in the following year, the FORMULA1 license was obtained, leading to the production of the Jacques Lemans Sports Formula1 sub-brand. In addition to Formula 1, Jacques Lemans founded the Golfclub S. Veit-Langsee (umlaut on the a) and, more importantly, became a licensee of the UEFA Champions League, allowing them to launch a new "official" sub-brand, the Jacques Lemans UEFA Champions League collection, in 2010.

 

 

A Formula 1 quartz alarm/chronograph by Jacques Lemans with a 46mm stainless steel case and Japanese quartz movement. !00 metres WR and mineral glass crystal. Priced at Overstock for £137.38, and only one model in a wide range of Jacques Lemans Formula 1 watches (pic from  ak1.ostkcdn.com):

L10756049.jpg

 

 

A new brand, Pierre Petit was launched in 2011, with Kevin Costner officially partnering Jacques Lemans in 2013, and in that year, the firm was awarded Trendsetter of the year at the Chrono Awards. There is a "Kevin Costner" ciollection, eponymously branded, but I am not particularly impressed with it and feel that Jacques Lemans can and does do better.

So far so good, but there is an elephant in the room - SWI. The problem here seems to be an element of confusion regarding the connection between Jacques Lemans and Swiss watch International (SWI), a US-based global watch distribution/marketing company that for a while at least, managed the Jacques Lemans brand in the States, including sales, repairs and guarantee matters, There seems to have arisen a notion that Jacques Lemans was ultimately owned by SWI, who dealt with the production of the branded  watches.

My opinion is that Jacques Lemans was not a subsidiary of SWI, although it's US distribtion and marketing was covered under the SWI umbrella. Jacques Lemans right up to the present day (or at least in the latest information online) is an independent concern headquartered in Austria, producing and marketing a wide range of watches, including some automatics, under it's main brand name as well as under the Alpha Saphir name. In fact, I should just say that the very latest information indicates that Swiss Time International is currently in a state of hiatus, and the fallout from this is not yet clear.

 

 

Jacques Lemans quartz all-stainless steel ladies' watch with crystal-studded wide bezel and black leather strap and 50mm WR. (Pic from images-ey.ssl-images.amazon.com):

51TrwFSknFL._AC_UL260_SR200,260_.jpg

 

 

 

The nature of the company/brand name, Jacques Lemans, does not inspire confidence in the products when it comes to watch collectors - we have too much experience of the use of Swiss-sounding names that are placed on cheap and not very good watches. However, available information on the quality of Lacques Lemans watches towards 2010 - both the Swiss-made examples and the non-Swiss watches - reveals that there was nothing wrong with these pieces, with some of them being rather nice and of good quality. 

I do not propose to try and analyse the current crop of available Jacques Lemans watches. What I would say is that while I probably wouldn't buy one of the more stylistically neutral quartz models, as they seem on a par with watches from companies I prefer, I would certainly consider one of the more distinctive models, where you are paying not only for decent specs but also for something a bit special in terms of design. If, like myself, you enjoy rectangular cases, then there a few treats among the Jacques Lemans range, and I must say that the range of Jacques Lemans watches is considerable, with something to suit everyone. 

 

 

One of my favourite Jacques Lemans watches is this rectangular stainless steel quartz Dualtimer chronograph with second time zone dial powered by two Japanese movements and with "Crystex" crystal and 50 metres WR. preced on evine.com at $90. This watch also comes in a silver dial version, and a stainless steel bracelet is also an option. (Pic from shophq.images.com)

623-825?DefaultImage=1&$472x472_jpg$

 

The mechanical Jacques Lemans watches vary widely in price, and clearly the least expensive have timepiece non-Swiss movements as opposed to Swiss chronograph movements. Once again, I feel that the prices of the Swiss Jacques Lemans models, including chronos with the classic Valjoux 7750, are comparable with other companies' products of a similar nature, and as with the quartz watches, I would be looking at a Jacques Lemans example on the grounds that it offered something distinctive particularly beautiful. The Jacque Lemans company produces watches that pretty much covers the general spectrum in the middle market area, including women's watches.

 

 

A blatantly retro but rather delicious Jacques Lemans Geneve Quadrant stainless steel watch with brown leather strap, powered by a Swiss quartz movement and with a sapphire crystal and 50 metres WR (pic from polyvore.com):

img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=23434589

 

 

 

We now come to that Jacques Lemans sub-brand, Alpha Saphir, and I start by its appearance on a list of watch brands with the worst reputation published on the Watchuseek forum, originally compiled by Mike Stuffler, and repeated in April 2012. I have to declare that as a moderator on this forum, I would have something to say about the compilation of such a list without provision of evidential details and references.

Alpha Saphir was established by Jacques Lemans in 1999. In 2000 the firm applied registered the Alpha Saphir trademark in the United States - a diamond with two horizontal bars within above, "ALPHA SAPHIR" - and this registration continued in force until December 2014, when its continued use was not filed and the trademark became "unrevivable." The use of the US trademark was designed to be applied to "Watches and chronometers with crystals containing artificial sapphire."

Alpha Saphir watches are still available and apart from the dubious placing of the brand on the "unreputable" watches list mentioned above, I cannot testify to their quality or reliability. I would expect the watches to be perfectly decent and once more, I would be looking for something special in design if I was considering an Alpa Saphir watch. The slur on the brand perhaps relates to one particular model, and as with all large-scale watch producers, it is the case that there will always be a few models that just don't come up to the mark, even if they seem perfectly respectable on initial purchase.

I feel that the Alpha Saphir brand has a place in the market. The name is not a hashed-up personal first and surname designed to give a certain "presence" to the watches but has a certain resonance. Also some of the watches are quite attractive, and there are a number of mechanical Alpha Saphir models. Amazon UK has one of these - with a blue dial and strap, 38mm stainless steel case and day/date window, sapphire crystal and automatic movement, priced at about £80.

If there is some justification for having the Alpha Saphir brand, which does have its own image, then I cannot understand the flight into madness that is the "Pierre Petit" (trans. Peter Small) Jacques Lemans sub-brand. It is very odd that we have a wide range of watches subsumed under this name and accompanying logo, all of which could have been branded with the main company name of Lacques Lemans. The variety of watches in the Pierre Petit range is very similar to that of the Jacques Lemans watches: once again we have Swiss-made examples as well as non-Swiss, and a few automatics among the predominance of quartz watches. I am not going to trawl through the Pierre Petit watches in an attempt to work out the marketing strategy that prompted the creation of this sub-brand, and I leave the thought with you that I would not want to wear a Pierre Petit watch that is even more of a brand fiction than watches bearing the Jacques Lemans name.

 

 

A rose gold ion-plated stainless steel and black ceramic Jacques Lemans Liverpool GMT calendar watch with 46mm case, hardened Crystex crystal screw-down case back and 100 metres WR. Not a cheap option at just under £350 (pic from ak1.ostkcdn.com):L13725922.jpg

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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i had one JL, possibly my first watch i bought, can't say anything bad or good. They have swiss movements upper class models. Mine was formal style quartz.

But there are better options in the price range for sure.

 

Thanks for sharing with us this infos

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Thanks, that's a very interesting article especially since JL are on my backburner of makes I wouldn't mind owning. I'm an F1 fan so that particular niche appeals to me. I would say that I'm now more likely to buy one as your article has shown, to me at least, that they are a proper watch company.

You articles are always appreciated Honour and also really, really useful.

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  • 3 years later...
On 29/04/2017 at 16:49, Always"watching" said:

Another name that isn't for real - Jacques Lemans - but because this name, and the back to back L logo, is found on a considerable number of mid-market watches, it is a brand we need to consider. In fact, Jacques Lemans is also responsible for another brand of watches, nicely named, "Alpha Saphir," which will also be considered briefly here (although not illustrated).

Jacques Lemans GesmbH was founded in 1975 at St. Viet an der Glan, in Austria, in 1975 by two brothers, Alfred and Norbert Riedl, and by 2013 the company portfolio comprised no less than 850 watch models. According to watch-wiki, the firm is 100% family owned and is engaged in all development, production and marketing of its watches. Alfred and Norbert Riedl are the Managing Directors of the firm, and there are 9,500 sales outlets distributing the watches to 120 countries worldwide.

 

 

A rather beautiful gold-plated stainless steel automatic chronograph by Jacques Lemans, powered by a Valjoux automatic chronograph movement, caliber 7750. 40mm case with sapphire crystal and display back and is priced by Overstock.com at £824 - now out of stock (pic from ak1.ostkcdn.com):

L11497750.jpg

 

 

 

The history of the firm between its inception in the mid-1970s and 2013, in a bit more detail, runs as follows:

Although the Jacques Lemans (jewellery and watch) was company was founded in 1979, Jacques Lemans branded watches seem to have appeared somewhat later, with a brand launch in 1983.  In the build-up to the launch, Jacques Lemans acquired a Swiss subsidiary in 1982 and commenced production of watches in Switzerland. Then, in 1983, another subsidiary was founded, in Hong Kong, where watch production of Jacques Lemans watches also began. 

The company engaged in watch production  and marketing on an international scale in 1990, with a second Far Eastern production plant coming on stream in 1993. Jacques Lemans opened a German subsidiary in 1995, with the launch of Jacques Lemans Germany. Then, in 1999, just before the millennium, the new brand, Alpha Saphir, was launched as a companion brand to Jacques Lemans watches. In 2002, Jacques Lemans launched its Swiss-made watches under the "Jacques Lemans Geneve" name and shifted Swiss production to Geneva. 

The later period of Jacques Lemans is dominated by links with sport. The Jacques Lemans Arena was opened in 2005, and in the following year, the FORMULA1 license was obtained, leading to the production of the Jacques Lemans Sports Formula1 sub-brand. In addition to Formula 1, Jacques Lemans founded the Golfclub S. Veit-Langsee (umlaut on the a) and, more importantly, became a licensee of the UEFA Champions League, allowing them to launch a new "official" sub-brand, the Jacques Lemans UEFA Champions League collection, in 2010.

 

 

A Formula 1 quartz alarm/chronograph by Jacques Lemans with a 46mm stainless steel case and Japanese quartz movement. !00 metres WR and mineral glass crystal. Priced at Overstock for £137.38, and only one model in a wide range of Jacques Lemans Formula 1 watches (pic from  ak1.ostkcdn.com):

L10756049.jpg

 

 

A new brand, Pierre Petit was launched in 2011, with Kevin Costner officially partnering Jacques Lemans in 2013, and in that year, the firm was awarded Trendsetter of the year at the Chrono Awards. There is a "Kevin Costner" ciollection, eponymously branded, but I am not particularly impressed with it and feel that Jacques Lemans can and does do better.

So far so good, but there is an elephant in the room - SWI. The problem here seems to be an element of confusion regarding the connection between Jacques Lemans and Swiss watch International (SWI), a US-based global watch distribution/marketing company that for a while at least, managed the Jacques Lemans brand in the States, including sales, repairs and guarantee matters, There seems to have arisen a notion that Jacques Lemans was ultimately owned by SWI, who dealt with the production of the branded  watches.

My opinion is that Jacques Lemans was not a subsidiary of SWI, although it's US distribtion and marketing was covered under the SWI umbrella. Jacques Lemans right up to the present day (or at least in the latest information online) is an independent concern headquartered in Austria, producing and marketing a wide range of watches, including some automatics, under it's main brand name as well as under the Alpha Saphir name. In fact, I should just say that the very latest information indicates that Swiss Time International is currently in a state of hiatus, and the fallout from this is not yet clear.

 

 

Jacques Lemans quartz all-stainless steel ladies' watch with crystal-studded wide bezel and black leather strap and 50mm WR. (Pic from images-ey.ssl-images.amazon.com):

51TrwFSknFL._AC_UL260_SR200,260_.jpg

 

 

 

The nature of the company/brand name, Jacques Lemans, does not inspire confidence in the products when it comes to watch collectors - we have too much experience of the use of Swiss-sounding names that are placed on cheap and not very good watches. However, available information on the quality of Lacques Lemans watches towards 2010 - both the Swiss-made examples and the non-Swiss watches - reveals that there was nothing wrong with these pieces, with some of them being rather nice and of good quality. 

I do not propose to try and analyse the current crop of available Jacques Lemans watches. What I would say is that while I probably wouldn't buy one of the more stylistically neutral quartz models, as they seem on a par with watches from companies I prefer, I would certainly consider one of the more distinctive models, where you are paying not only for decent specs but also for something a bit special in terms of design. If, like myself, you enjoy rectangular cases, then there a few treats among the Jacques Lemans range, and I must say that the range of Jacques Lemans watches is considerable, with something to suit everyone. 

 

 

One of my favourite Jacques Lemans watches is this rectangular stainless steel quartz Dualtimer chronograph with second time zone dial powered by two Japanese movements and with "Crystex" crystal and 50 metres WR. preced on evine.com at $90. This watch also comes in a silver dial version, and a stainless steel bracelet is also an option. (Pic from shophq.images.com)

623-825?DefaultImage=1&$472x472_jpg$

 

The mechanical Jacques Lemans watches vary widely in price, and clearly the least expensive have timepiece non-Swiss movements as opposed to Swiss chronograph movements. Once again, I feel that the prices of the Swiss Jacques Lemans models, including chronos with the classic Valjoux 7750, are comparable with other companies' products of a similar nature, and as with the quartz watches, I would be looking at a Jacques Lemans example on the grounds that it offered something distinctive particularly beautiful. The Jacque Lemans company produces watches that pretty much covers the general spectrum in the middle market area, including women's watches.

 

 

A blatantly retro but rather delicious Jacques Lemans Geneve Quadrant stainless steel watch with brown leather strap, powered by a Swiss quartz movement and with a sapphire crystal and 50 metres WR (pic from polyvore.com):

img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=23434589

 

 

 

We now come to that Jacques Lemans sub-brand, Alpha Saphir, and I start by its appearance on a list of watch brands with the worst reputation published on the Watchuseek forum, originally compiled by Mike Stuffler, and repeated in April 2012. I have to declare that as a moderator on this forum, I would have something to say about the compilation of such a list without provision of evidential details and references.

Alpha Saphir was established by Jacques Lemans in 1999. In 2000 the firm applied registered the Alpha Saphir trademark in the United States - a diamond with two horizontal bars within above, "ALPHA SAPHIR" - and this registration continued in force until December 2014, when its continued use was not filed and the trademark became "unrevivable." The use of the US trademark was designed to be applied to "Watches and chronometers with crystals containing artificial sapphire."

Alpha Saphir watches are still available and apart from the dubious placing of the brand on the "unreputable" watches list mentioned above, I cannot testify to their quality or reliability. I would expect the watches to be perfectly decent and once more, I would be looking for something special in design if I was considering an Alpa Saphir watch. The slur on the brand perhaps relates to one particular model, and as with all large-scale watch producers, it is the case that there will always be a few models that just don't come up to the mark, even if they seem perfectly respectable on initial purchase.

I feel that the Alpha Saphir brand has a place in the market. The name is not a hashed-up personal first and surname designed to give a certain "presence" to the watches but has a certain resonance. Also some of the watches are quite attractive, and there are a number of mechanical Alpha Saphir models. Amazon UK has one of these - with a blue dial and strap, 38mm stainless steel case and day/date window, sapphire crystal and automatic movement, priced at about £80.

If there is some justification for having the Alpha Saphir brand, which does have its own image, then I cannot understand the flight into madness that is the "Pierre Petit" (trans. Peter Small) Jacques Lemans sub-brand. It is very odd that we have a wide range of watches subsumed under this name and accompanying logo, all of which could have been branded with the main company name of Lacques Lemans. The variety of watches in the Pierre Petit range is very similar to that of the Jacques Lemans watches: once again we have Swiss-made examples as well as non-Swiss, and a few automatics among the predominance of quartz watches. I am not going to trawl through the Pierre Petit watches in an attempt to work out the marketing strategy that prompted the creation of this sub-brand, and I leave the thought with you that I would not want to wear a Pierre Petit watch that is even more of a brand fiction than watches bearing the Jacques Lemans name.

 

 

A rose gold ion-plated stainless steel and black ceramic Jacques Lemans Liverpool GMT calendar watch with 46mm case, hardened Crystex crystal screw-down case back and 100 metres WR. Not a cheap option at just under £350 (pic from ak1.ostkcdn.com):L13725922.jpg

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Only just seen this as I tend to go direct to the watch discussion forum. Interesting article as always.

I bought this quartz one on a plane from who knows where to somewhere else. It sat in a pocket for nearly 5 years forgotten. Its had one new battery in 15 years whcih I find incredible and means the one in it will now be flat.

9tQwX8X.jpg

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