In New York City you can spot a tourist. No, not by his campy t-shirt, fanny pack or outrageous shoes; the sure-fire tell of a tourist is a craned neck, positioned so he can stop and stare upward at a skyscraper. Pointing his finger, the interloper exclaims, “Hey, look! It’s the Empire State building.” You might think he was gazing on the eighth wonder of the world, mesmerized by the building’s design, the brilliance of the sun’s reflection off its surface or the colossal scale rising before him.
Don’t be surprised if your Terrascope garners the same reaction: “Hey, look at that watch!” Like a tourist stopped in his tracks, we spent the last month gawking at the JEANRICHARD black dial Terrascope. We have shared JR’s aerial affinity in our articles about their Aeroscope collection, the Neroscope and our interview with captain Sully; but here, JEANRICHARD looks to the earth in their Terrascope collection, and we, with both feet on the ground, consider a terrestrial watch built for King Kong. It is a landmark for the wrist.
JEANRICHARD’s stated philosophy is “A new way of conceiving time. Caught up in the joy of discovery.” These watches are made for rugged exploration. Our Terrascope enjoys a luxurious construction, and the black dial may be the dressiest of the bunch, giving it more of an urban jungle predilection than of the jungles of South America. Lacking male models in pinstripes to highlight the watch’s sophistication, we photographed it outside in its natural habitat, terra firma.
This watch shines. It is as if the paparazzi are marking your entrance because at almost any angle, light bursts off the surface and reflections abound. The comprehensive steel makes an overall impression of a smooth watch devoid of outer ornamentation, but the point seems to be more about the light’s play against the steel textures. Taking photographs for the article was a challenge. Having the steel bracelet only adds to the overall effect of alternating polished and satin-finished stainless steel, and combined with the rhodium coated indexes and hands, you have a chunk of aggressive prominence.
New for the Terrascope is the distinctive black dial with its brushed-finish to match the satin-finished steel sections. Visually, the black dial seems the apotheosis of the Terrascope collection, which offers traditional dial colors like white or bolder choices like blue, dark green or aubergine, but the brushed black dial has a wow-factor that stays with you.
The mechanical features of the watch are straightforward: hour, minute, second with a date complication. The real features, however, are visual. For instance, when you view the dial from directly overhead, all you can see is stain-finished steel except for the outer polished edge, which continues onto the lugs. Rotate the watch on the wrist, and along the sides of the terraced case, new outlines of mirror-polished steel sparkle like facets on a diamond. At the top is an elevated round bezel, extending from an intermediate layer of four corners (think square), and at the bottom is a cushion-like foundation with curved sides much like parentheses. The 3-D effect of the outer case with its many edges looks like an architectural sketch. Normally fitting a round peg in a square hole is a bad idea, but the geometric shapes here defy convention.
The minute/hour hands continue the smooth steel façade, but with a twist. The hands are skeletonized to overlay their luminous material, which affords an ample surface for lume. A close inspection of the hands reveals that the steel outlines are bending downward on either side. Imagine a center line running from the base to the point of each hand, and the steel outline folds downward on either side of this central line – an inverted V. The brilliance of this watch lies in just such subtleties, keeping the design svelte.
The second hand contributes a splash of contrasting color with its red tipped arrow point, which is also lumed. The point fits precisely into the chapter ring and is balanced by a nominal counterpoise.
On the dial, the index batons resemble the hands in their skeletal sandwiching of the applied lume with the ends left uncovered for greater visibility. Matching the outer 3-D appearance is the chapter ring’s inner slope with Arabic second/minute numerals in increments of five. The index at three o’clock is shortened to accommodate the date window, and kudos to JR for a black background and white date numbers.
The cushion case is signature JR DNA. Though no one would mistake this watch for a Patek Philippe Nautilus, they do seem to be telling a similar story; comparison, however, ends at a cursory, overall impression. Side by side, they are two completely different designs. The Terrascope is 46mm and with the bracelet, qualifies for the heavy weight division at 220 grams. The watch is a beast. Remember, it is bred for outdoor adventure.
The bold look of the case back’s engraved JEANRICHARD logo fits with the watch’s scale and contrasts against a matt background. The eight indentions for case back removal create a symmetry around the circumference and add to the watch’s tough demeanor. Despite all that is happening on the back, the Terrascope still sits smooth against the wrist. With only 100 meters water resistance, this watch is made for land, but can handle the sudden downpour or treacherous creek crossing, and if needed, you might use it to hammer nails.
The crown vaunts the JR logo, which is also etched on the case back. The crown has a beveled edge with deep wells, some of the only texture visible, but they are more for look than grip. Deploying the crown was a bit tricky because it was hard to grasp. Approaching it from the top and inserting a nail worked best, but it took trial-and-error to settle on this method.
The steel bracelet, despite the added grams of weight, makes the watch ultra-masculine. Can’t get to the gym? Just do curls with your Terrascope. The steel bracelet combines the same interplay of polished and brushed satin steel, its inner edges playing peek-a-boo with the polish. Since gleam is the selling point over texture, the steel bezel solidifies this theme 360 degrees around the wrist, and without a buckle for the butterfly release, the bracelet runs seamlessly from end to end.
The JR Calibre: 11 ½ is a modified Sellita movement as opposed to the JR 1000, their only in-house movement used in their 1681 collection. As would be expected, the Calibre 11 ½ has 26 jewels, a 38 hour power reserve, and a 4hz frequency. Though nothing fancy, the watch boasts time tested specifications, giving it a workhorse movement for reliability.
This watch grew on us with each passing day. For a watch that has an endless supply of plain smooth steel, there was always something new to discover – a great testament to its design. First, there was the light, the gleam; then came the unfolding discovery of all the shapes, lines and geometry of an architect’s world; and finally the dial held a level of sophistication to match the overall testosterone. The only problem with reviewing such a watch is having to send it back.
The Verdict: Pro and Con
- The strengths of this watch are aesthetic, and it had an architectural feel.
- The brushed black dial.
- The shine, dare I say bling, of the watch.
- The alternating satin and polished finishes of the steel.
- The cushion case shape with its round raised bezel.
- The smooth continuation of the bracelet at the clasp without a visible buckle.
- The solid construction of seeming indestructibility.
- An affordable entry to match its Sowind Group cousin, Gerard-Perregaux.
- For the price, we would like screw instead of push links, but do appreciate the inner friction sleeve for the push pins, which offers more security.
- Given the company’s adventuresome spirit, a screw down crown would be more functional and would avoid the awkward deployment with the current design.
- With the steel bracelet, the watch is heavy and would benefit from a titanium option like the Aeroscope has.
- Though only noticeable through a loupe, our model lacked the precision of a finished edge without overlap between the rhodium coated hand outline and its luminescent material beneath. The lume protruded (infinitesimally) beneath the hour big arrow hand and is likely an unfortunate one-off of this specific watch because the ones at Basel were spot on.
- Polished and vertically satin-finished stainless steel case, diameter is 46.00 mm, height is 12.60 mm
- Antireflective sapphire crystal
- Case-back, screwed-down, engraved, water-resistant to 100 m
- Dial: black vertically satin-finished dial, applied rhodium-coated indexes with additional luminescent dot, rhodium-coated hands with luminescent material
- Cognac or brown vintage calfskin, black rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet, stainless steel folding or butterfly buckle
Movement JR60, self-winding
- Calibre: 11 ½’”
- Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz)
- Jewels: 26
- Power-reserve: minimum 38 hours
- Functions: hour, minute, second, date
Unless noted otherwise, all photography by Max Reddick