Despite a puny wrist and a disdain for big watches, my favorite watch is my JLC Reverso Grande GMT. I bought the RG GMT over two years ago from my local JLC AD who made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was all I could do to pay for it so it was originally on a brown croc strap. Last year, I went to the AD to inquire about getting a bracelet. He took one off a Grande Reserve he had in stock, put it on my RG GMT and handed me an invoice for the bracelet that almost made me double over. However, it was the best move I could have made because the watch is just perfect on the outstanding JLC bracelet.
The watch features the JLC caliber 878 movement which is exclusive to this model. It is a manual wind, 8 day movement with a “home” side shown above in a white guilloche dial and a “travel” side shown below with a black dial. The ‘home’ side is just stunning with blued steel hands, a big date, small seconds and a day/night indicator. The two dials are driven by a single movement so the minute hands are synchronized together. The hour hand on the travel side will jump in hourly increments as you engage the pushers on the side of the dial. The hour hand on the ‘home’ side of the watch is unaffected by the pushers. The top button moves the hour hand forward and adjusts the GMT indicator (on the lower left side) as you travel east. The bottom button does the opposite for westerly travel. The power reserve is shown on the travel side with a day/night 24 hour indicator at the lower right. This day/night indicator also adjusts as you engage the pushers on the side of the watch. There is also a hidden detent on the bottom of the movement case which you can access by flipping the watch perpendicular to the watch case. This detent allows you do adjust the GMT indicator independently of the hour hands which is essential if you live in an area where there is daylight savings or summer/winter time. It’s almost impossible to accidentally push the detent.
The performance of my example has been incredible over the past two years. It’s difficult to determine the rate accuracy because the watch does not ‘hack’ or stop when the crown is pulled out to set the hands. Suffice it to say, I rarely have to adjust the hands back to reference time. The accuracy is probably less than +2 seconds per day.
The watch is easily wound despite a mammoth 8 day power reserve. I wind it every Sunday and it doesn’t take any more turns than a typical manual wind with a 42 hour power reserve. The winding mechanism is equipped with a clutch which engages when the movement is fully wound, similar to an automatic watch. The crown is large and easy to grasp. Pulling the crown out one stop will allow for the setting the big date quickly. Pulling the crown out two stops will adjust the minute hand on both sides of the watch.
I don’t travel as much as I used to so I really wanted a travel watch that didn’t look like a travel watch. I wasn’t interested in a typical travel watch which has an extra hour hand or 24 hour indicator on the dial. The RG GMT is a travel watch that doesn’t look like a travel watch. You don’t need to remember which hour hand is the local time and which hour hand is the home time. If you travel, use the black dial. If you’re home, use the white dial. Simple and elegant.
Unfortunately, the RG GMT is rather massive and will look awkward on smaller wrists. I can just barely pull it off as I keep telling myself. If you have a smaller wrist, I think you will find the watch will wear more comfortably on the bracelet rather than the strap.
As with many JLC watches, you get a lot of watch for the money with the RG GMT. The 8 day movement is a superb complication by itself but combining it with an intuitive and elegant travel feature is genius. Some common complaints usually revolve around the small day/night and GMT indicators on the travel side. They can be hard to see at arm’s length. The only other improvement I would recommend is changing the home side day/night indicator to the wheel indicator JLC uses on their Septantieme and new Master 8 days watches. The current indicator has a distinctive boundary between the day and night side whereas the new Master 8 days has a more subtle transition as the dial moves through dusk/dawn hours.
In summary, the RG GMT is a superb watch. Beautifully designed and packed with useful features. If you are considering one for your collection, you won’t be disappointed.