Review-JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope Limited Edition Watch

In order to mark the partnership of JeanRichard and Arsenal, JeanRichard released two new specially Swiss designer watches last year. There’s a simple time-and-date-only three-hand model and a limited edition chronograph. Nowadays, we are going to take a look at the latter watch called the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope Limited Edition.

However before we dive into the watch, a bit of introduction is essential. JeanRichard is a brand that may not be that popular for everyone, partly since it has – for the most part – been in the shadow of its more illustrious sibling, Girard-Perregaux. In 2011, Kering (previously known as PPR) purchased the Sowind Group, which had Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard as its watch brands. After the acquisition, Kering took steps to further build on both brands. While Girard-Perregaux continued its focus on the high-end market, JeanRichard was repositioned to appeal to a younger crowd; and therefore, while it has watches containing its in-house movements, the majority of its offerings use movements sourced from ETA and Sellita so that they can keep prices competitive. Furthermore, it is striking up partnerships in an attempt to reach a wider audience as well, and one of the most considerable partnerships it has established so far is with Arsenal Football Club.

According to Forbes,Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in British and European football, Arsenal was the fifth most valuable club in the world in 2014. Its period of greatest success came arguably in the late 90s and early 2000s. In the 2003-2004 season, Arsenal finished the entire English Premier League season (38 games in total) undefeated. It was a feat never to be repeated and earned the team of 2003-2004 the nickname of “The Invincibles.” Though the club’s fortunes have faltered somewhat in recent years, they have showed glimpses of returning to their old form in recent years. A bright spot was that they defended their FA Cup trophy in the last season successfully, after having won it in the 2013-2014 season.

The thing with limited edition watches is that they can have an unfortunate tendency of coming off as rather tacky: a giant logo here or a large crest there, and the dial ends up looking all cluttered, disjointed, and a moving advertisement for the brands involved. Thankfully, the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope Limited Edition avoids being that. In practice, its association with Arsenal is kept discreet and the end result is a watch that only those in the know will appreciate.

The magic is all on the dial,consequently the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope has the same cushion-shaped case as JeanRichard’s other Aeroscope watches. The case is exceedingly light to hold on account of its grade 5 titanium construction – the bezel is  made out of the same titanium material as well. The case is 44mm wide, which is a good size for a sports chronograph, but it also has very short lugs that curve downwards steeply. At 12.8mm thick, the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope Limited Edition is actually pretty thin for a chronograph that sports an automatic modular caliber (more on the movement later),thus thickness isn’t actually an issue. This, combined with its short lugs, allows it to fit well on small wrists like mine.

What's more,it is difficult to look at the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope and not be captivated by the dial. The dial is rendered in the same bright striking red of Arsenal F.C. and it also features a stamped honeycomb pattern that gives the dial a lot of texture. The three sub-dials are recessed and have circular guilloche, which adds depth and juxtaposes well against the honeycomb patterns on the dial. The date is shown in a cut-out in between four and five o’clock. The JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope also has a very prominent flange upon which the minute markers are placed.

Fans of Arsenal, more affectionately known as the Gooners, will by now notice the cannon from Arsenal’s crest that now acts as a seconds hand. It’s a very subtle nod to JeanRichard’s collaboration with Arsenal, and I also think that this beats having a large Arsenal logo on the dial, as that seems a bit too obvious for me. Thanks to the animated nature of the seconds hand, the cannon is always turning, which makes it the highlight of the dial. Any football fan that spots this on your wrist will know the significance of the cannon and your association with Arsenal F.C at once.

All in all,he combination of all the different elements - the honeycomb pattern, recessed sub-dials with guilloche, deep flange, skeletonized hands, large markers, and most of all, the cannon seconds hand - converge to give the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope a lot of texture and depth, and makes the dial very interesting to look at.The JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope comes with a black rubber strap with a deployant clasp that has a matching DLC finish to complement the case. The deployant clasp is compact and easy to operate,nevertheless if there’s one thing I’m not really fond of about the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope, it is its rubber strap. The strap feels considerable stiff, but above all, it feels sticky to the skin, in particular if the weather is warm. In person, I would swap the rubber strap out for something more comfortable, but making sure that the replacement strap is compatible with the supplied deployant clasp, or at least that it is also DLC finished so that it looks congruous with the case.

If you are already sold on the looks of one of JeanRichard’s numerous Aeroscope watches - and there are many, plenty of variants to choose from - then the JeanRichard Arsenal Aeroscope is certainly worth deliberation, especially when you consider that it is priced at around $6,800. This means that it only costs a couple hundred more than a comparable “regular” JeanRichard Aeroscope with a DLC case. On account of a couple of hundred more, you not only get more exclusivity, you also get to show the world in a very sophisticated and understated way where your football allegiance lies. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Pity I’m not an Arsenal fan.