Everyday. Versatile. Swiss Made.
Everyday watches that come with time + date are plentiful. They come in all shapes and forms, price tags, and levels of quality that could quickly make your head spin. From Swiss and Japanese household names to mom-and-pop shops you have never heard of. Making an everyday watch is how many micro and independent brands get started in this entrancing world that is horology. Making this kind of watch and doing it well is a sort of rite of passage for many brands that can make or break their reputation. On the one hand, they seem pretty straightforward, so how could they mess it up? On the other hand, they are difficult to nail down because they are intrinsically so simple. At least in the way they look and operate.
But it is the seemingly simple things that are the hardest to nail down. That’s why I have a profound passion for minimalist design. I know that it is difficult to distill something to its very essence in order to make it work. It cannot be deprived of soul otherwise we would get tired of it almost immediately. And it must have enough personality to stand out and seduce us without overpowering its intended purpose. From an horological standpoint, the Le Jour Brooklyn is both a simple watch and an object that was carefully designed and crafted. It has the ultimate legibility that any everyday watch should have whilst coming with robust specifications.
In my book, everyday watches should come with specific dimensions. Although the Brooklyn is slightly outside my sweet spot—by a couple of millimeters—it is nevertheless a watch that would fit many wrists: a diameter of 40mm, a lug-to-lug of 47mm, a thickness of 11.5mm (including the crystal,) and a lug width of 22mm. The Brooklyn is objectively a well-proportioned timepiece that comes with versatile dimensions. Bigger and it would be unwearable and look awkward; smaller and it would look dainty. Getting the proportions of a watch right is not an easy feat, especially that of fixed-bezel sport timepieces that typically have more available real estate on the dial than necessary. (Meaning that negative space is more prominent and generally makes a watch appear too big.)
Under its go-anywhere-do-anything look, the Brooklyn comes prepared for your most daring everyday adventures. A Swiss made Sellita SW200-1 caliber that beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 42 hours of power reserve; 100 meters of water resistance; a screw-down crown and case-back; a flat piece of sapphire crystal with sloped edges and inner anti-reflective coating. What impressed me the most, I would say, is the intensity of the lume application on this watch. It has the best lume application I’ve seen under $1,000 and one that shines bright almost immediately. It’s so good that I felt a surprisingly huge amount of fun just traversing covered areas to admire the light show.
From a finishing standpoint, the Brooklyn comes with an alternation of polished surfaces on the bottom chamfer of the case, the fluted bezel, and the center links of the bracelet, and brushed surfaces everywhere else. The satin brushed finish is delicate and reduces the visual impact of the case, while the strategically placed polished surfaces make the Brooklyn shine a little brighter. I’ve never handled a bracelet that comes with polished center links and I was surprised to find myself liking it this much. It certainly adds a little oomph to the watch. Though I must say it is as hard to keep scratches away from the polished links as it is to keep a bee from a pot of honey.
Weird analogy, perhaps?
If I were to condense the design ethos of the Brooklyn into one word it would be “punchy.” I know, this might not be the first one that comes to your mind looking at the photos. But hear me out for a second. Yes, the Brooklyn is an everyday watch as it is indicated by its functionality: telling the time and displaying the date. Couldn’t be more straightforward than this. However, the functionality is complemented by design elements that transform it into a daily wearer on steroids. A bit like the Fiat 500 Abarth if you are into cars. (I’m not, it’s just a car that has caught my attention more than once.) The regular 500 is alright, it takes you places, looks somewhat comfortable, but that’s about it. The Abarth, on the other end, is punchy in that it has a better engine and design elements that indicate it is indeed made for speed.
First and foremost, let’s dissect the dial. It has a fine waffle pattern that disappears at certain angles and reappears with more punch at other angles. The long and pointy hour and minute hands visually complement the dial pattern and work in unison with the applied Arabic numerals and arrow-shaped markers to legibly tell the time. I particularly like the massive numerals with their perfectly polished surrounds and fine lume application. On the outside of the dial is a minute track that is magnified by the sloping edges of the crystal when looking straight down at the watch. It’s as if the hash marks of the minute track are doubled and were printed larger than they actually are.
Does that make sense?
The rest of the “oomph” factor comes from the date aperture at the 6 o’clock and the fluted bezel. I like dates at the 6 and I like how Brooklyn went about integrating it within the dial: a white date wheel with a matching white frame and numerals printed in black. (I normally prefer color-matched date wheels but here I understand its purpose: to make reading the date easier without having to enlarge the date aperture.) The fluted bezel is a first for me and I was surprised to like it as much as I did. I always assimilated fluted bezels with vintage Rolexes worn by old people playing golf or bridge. I know, that says a little too much about me.
The Heart of the Matter
At the heart of the matter is the fact that Le Jour, a brand you may or may not be familiar with, makes a solid everyday watch that comes with its own personality for less than $1,000—$800 to be exact. Getting an original design and a watch made in Switzerland for this price is the epitome of a good horological deal to me. Although the case—in my very personal opinion—would be best if it were to go on a diet with the goal of shedding 2mm, it is nevertheless wearable on my 6.25”/16cm wrist. Getting the proportions right by way of keeping the lug-to-lug to 47mm and the case thickness to 11.50mm contributes to making the Brooklyn a great everyday wearer. It’s a solid watch made of stainless steel all around which doesn’t weigh too much on the wrist.
Besides its attractive design, the Brooklyn also comes with a couple of tricks up its sleeves. The first one being the short clasp that comes with six holes of micro-adjustments, something rather simple yet unique to see on a watch of this type. I know, drilling holes in a clasp is probably not the most difficult part of making a watch, however I was surprised—pleasantly so—to see that Le Jour made the best of the clasp length. They maximized it by putting the holes on the entirety of its side walls, all the way up to the safety latch. Given that the links are long, having many micro-adjust holes means one can fine-tune the length of the clasp to get the right fit. Something objectively simple to do yet rare to see.
The other trick the Brooklyn comes with—and which is a little difficult to convey with words—is the versatility of its design. In my experience, everyday watches either look too simple (read: boring) or too fancy. Think Rolex Datejust or A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia: two everyday watches that come with their own definition of horological elegance, neither of which, however, I would feel comfortable wearing. The Le Jour Brooklyn has enough elegance (the polished applied markers, the waffle dial, and polished center links on the bracelet) and just the right dose of everyday vibe (the brushed surfaces, larger case size, and Arabic numerals.) It’s as if someone melted together a Datejust and Explorer 1.
I kinda like it.
Many watch enthusiasts (myself included) are under the impression that one has to spend more than $1,000 to get our hands on a decent Swiss made everyday watch. With a few exceptions from Tissot perhaps, Swiss daily timepieces tend to retail for more than we would like to spend for a watch that we want to wear everyday. If you are like me, you are perhaps on the look out for a timepiece that is well-built, pleasing to look at, yet one that wouldn’t attract the wrong attention onto your wrist. A watch you would feel comfortable wearing in your everyday life as well as when traveling—or, as it is my case, wearing in a large city where watch theft is notoriously a more frequent occurrence.
If you are this person, then I’m happy to say that you may have very well found your everyday watch. If you live in Europe like myself, I suggest checking out Watchbandit’s website to pick your favorite version of the Brooklyn. They come in six variations and I’m sure you will be able to find the right one for you: black, blue, green, cream, mint blue and two-tone black and rose gold.
Thanks for reading.