Jacques Bianchi watches are related to a watchmaker whose workshop overlooked the port of Marseille. Back in the early 1980s, he created a so-called destro dive watch with a left-sided crown for enhanced ergonomics. This quartz diving tool was also recognizable by the silhouette of a frogman on its dial. The JB200, standing for “Jacques Bianchi 200 metres”, was subsequently used by the French Navy’s helicopter and onboard divers in the late 1980s. The model was reimagined and reborn in 2021 with a modern automatic version launched on Kickstarter. Following the success of this comeback, the French dive watch returns with an octopus on its dial and now a Swiss mechanical movement. Meet the Jacques Bianchi JB200 Poulpro.
First and foremost, the JB200 Poulpro retains its characteristic features and its unmistakable 1970s tool watch look. At 42mm in diameter, its destro barrel-shaped case stands out with its left-sided crown hugged by square-shaped guards. Fashioned out of 316L stainless steel, it is fitted with a 60-click unidirectional bezel with an anodized aluminium insert and a fully graduated 60-minute diving scale. The solid caseback and the crown are screwed, and, as the name suggests, the JB200 water-resistance rating is still 200 metres.
The main visible change with this new JB200 is its dial. Instead of a frogman, it features one of the most incredible and enigmatic marine creatures, one very dear to every diver in the Mediterranean: an octopus. The name Poulpro itself is a nod to this fascinating animal called poulpe in French. The indexes and hands retain the traditional JB200 design. The extensive use of Super-LumiNova on the dial, hand and bezel ensures great visibility in all conditions.
The other major change for this new edition is its movement. If the first re-edition of 2021 was powered by a Seiko NH35, the 2023 JB200 Poulpro now beats at the rhythm of a Swiss movement, the Soprod P024. This automatic movement is an alternative to the ETA 2824. As such, it runs at a 4Hz frequency and boasts a 42-hour power reserve. It displays the hours, minutes, seconds and the date at 6 o’clock.
Two different editions are offered. We had the Mediterranean blue edition for our hands-on session, and there is also an Encre de Seiche (squid ink) black version. The watch comes on a blue or black tropic-like rubber strap with a steel pin buckle.
All in all, the Jacques Bianchi JB200 Poulpro is a classic diver with cool tweaks and original spins. On the wrist, it wears comfortably and feels solid, should I say utilitarian. This limited-edition watch is now available for pre-order. The blue model is only available for a week, while the black edition will remain available for two weeks. At EUR 646 (excl. taxes), it makes for a pretty accessible package, given the watch’s specifications.
For more information, please visit www.jacquesbianchi.com.