JLC Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph: The Sailor Who Strapped Me

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“Your papers… are in order,” intoned the buff security guard at the checkpoint, returning my entry permit as he waved me on. “Welcome to the top secret C’angee Naval Base”.

Thanking him, I wondered what sort of top secret facility would actually declare itself as such. But I quickly snapped back to reality at the thought of my mission today. It had been 3 years since my meeting with the horological superspy K*Pang, and I was not particularly keen to renew this acquaintance, given what happened the last time we met.

K*Pang had not been idle, of course. Since that fateful day, he had successfully sneaked Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong. Extinguished multiple forest fires in Sumatra and Riau. Some even say he had a hand in ensuring Rafael Nadal did not progress beyond the first round at Wimbledon.

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“I see you made it,” came a voice behind me. Turning around, K*Pang appeared, adjusting the sleeves of his sparkling white, highly-decorated naval uniform that made him out to be the rank of a … lance corporal. “Don’t misunderstand,” he snapped, “the demotion is temporary. How the heck was I supposed to know that I should have deported Snowden back to the US instead of Russia?!”

Formalities over, we got down to business. Indeed, any writer who needs four paragraphs as an introduction to a watch review tests his readers’ patience. I began with a quick observation: that he no longer wore his Rolex GMT Master II.

jlc_vintage_deepsea_chrono4“Oh yes. Bummer. Lost it in a poker game at the Sands,” he explained. “It’s a pity I didn’t have time to remove the enriched U-235 from the crown before the bouncers stripped it off me. Still, I have this now.”

The Jaeger LeCoultre Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph glistened on his wrist, the leather strap replaced by a NATO strap for extra security. The matt black bezel and the dark, sandpaper-like dial contrasted strongly against the shiny stainless steel case. This modern facade was only betrayed by yellowed, faux-patina markers that hinted at a timepiece based on something from long past and altogether rather mysterious.

K*Pang’s voice broke my train of thought. “Don’t overthink it,” he advised. “They just made it look like an old watch.”

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I examined the watch more closely. The timepiece, while handsome, surely contravened one of K*Pang’s most sacred dictums when it came to watches: the lack of a date. K*Pang seemed unperturbed. “Listen,” he said, “you must the worst secret agent in the world if you have to check the date when you’re on an important mission, like disabling a nuclear submarine or stealing launch codes to Taepodong rockets. I’ll survive without the bloody date.”

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“I don’t care what you name them. Just make sure the words Deep, Sea and Chronograph are in there!”

A fair point, but one can point out that after the Vintage Deep Sea JLC launched two related models in quick succession: the Deep Sea Chronograph and the Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet, lazily-named pieces that are sure to raise confusion and havoc with JLC retailers everywhere. Surely, these successor models must be superior to the prototype? “Not really” he explained, “I mean, just look at the RX-78-II Gundam, which was the prototype for the Federation’s latest technologies. Or the Red October, which um, testbedded the Soviet Union’s advanced caterpiller drive system. Tell me, were any of their immediate successors better?”

I held my tongue as K*Pang looked increasingly agitated. Looking to break the silence, I asked him about the bezel. Is it made of Cerachrom (TM), or Liquidmetal (TM), or some other indestructible, unscratchable and heavily researched substance befitting a serious dive watch?”I think it’s um, stainless steel… with paint. Painted. With black paint on top,” he answered feebly.

jlc_vintage_deepsea_chrono3But it turns, right? Like all dive watches? And in both directions?

“No,” he said, after a long while. “It doesn’t turn in both directions. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t turn at all. And you wanna know why it doesn’t turn? Because Jaeger didn’t give this watch a damned turn-able bezel. They didn’t put their fancy Cermet on it. They didn’t give it a date, they didn’t give it a seconds-hand counter, they didn’t give it a day or night indicator. What they did give it was a gigantic price tag. BUT I LIKE IT.”

Standing up, the now spittle-spewing and extremely worked-up K*Pang unholstered his Magnum Research Incorporated Mk 19 Desert Eagle (TM) and waved it in the air, screaming, “You know what? I’m going to shoot the next guy who even dares look at me like it’s a bad buy. Like I should have spent the money on the Deepsea Chrono or a Rolex Submariner (TM) instead, because, because…”

I quickly approached to calm him down, but accidentally tripped over a badly but conveniently placed crate and knocked into the wildly gesturing K*Pang from behind, pushing him over the ledge into the icy waters of C’angee ocean.

“Yipee-Ki Yay Motherfu–” he screamed, plunging into the deep, deep sea.

I packed up my belongings and left the base quickly, trying my best to look like I didn’t just kill somebody by accident. K*Pang’s whereabouts as of this time are unknown.

Jaeger LeCoultre Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph, Ref Q207857J, Jaeger LeCoultre automatic chronograph movement 751G. 40mm stainless steel, 65 hours power reserve, 100m water resistance. Recommended retail price, S$13,500.00

 

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