Bring a Loupe: A 1960s Vulcain Cricket, A Cartier Tank Asymètrique Ref. 2488, And A Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Ref. E168

By Isaac Wingold

We might’ve taken a break for last week’s long weekend, but the train is rolling once again, with a little something for everyone. At the sportier end of the spectrum, we’ve got an unconventional though important dive watch from ZRC, along with an adventure-ready Geophysic from Jaeger-LeCoultre, and a Vulcain Cricket to wake you up for said adventure. For those that prefer something more sophisticated, we’ve got you covered with a limited Tank Asymètrique, and the perfect ladies Breitling. Let’s get right down to it.

ZRC Grand Fonds Series 2

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, so are there are more ways than one of achieving a functional dive watch design. Frankly, I want no involvement whatsoever in the former of the two activities, so let’s focus on dive watches for the time being. While we could wax on together about another latest and greatest gilt dial, four-liner to surface this week, I thought I’d keep things interesting with a piece you might not be familiar with. It’s called a ZRC Grand Fonds Series 2, and it’s as important as it is striking, with a rich history of use by the French Marine Nationale, in addition to divers working alongside Jacques Cousteau himself. Don’t let the crown at six o’clock fool you, there’s a lot to like here.

In comparison to the Series 3 variant of ZRC’s Grand Fonds, the Series 2 is perhaps more attractive, in my opinion. I’d attribute a great deal of this stance to that incredible, pseudo polka dot bezel, that really ties the room together, so to speak. As the seller notes in their listing, all too many examples of the vintage Series 2 Grand Fonds are fitted with aftermarket bezels, in that their OEM counterparts either cracked or aged intensely after years of dedicated wear. This makes the presence of the original bezel, in outstanding shape, an awfully welcome sight. To give you a little context, I know collectors who’ve spent upwards of three months tracking down decent to meh examples of Series 2 bezels, so this really is a rare treat.

All in all, this truly is one of the cleanest, compelling vintage dive watches available on the market right now. Aside from ZRC and Triton, there just aren’t all that many uniquely …read more      

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