The display, which combines jumping hours and a retrograde minute hand, has served as the basis for many creative and playful watches. I’m thinking first of all of Gerald Genta Fantasy, which featured characters from the Disney universe, including Mickey and Donald, who were the most representative of it. The principle of the display, thanks in particular to the very large retrograde central hand, gives a lot of charm to these watches since its alternative and original character is consistent with the atmosphere in which the dial is immersed. Since its inception, Reservoir has based its entire catalog and its collections around this display but in a context that I would describe as mechanical and serious, in order to recreate the specific universes of the dashboards of vehicles or various and varied instruments, whether they whether land, sea or air. The display allows the expression of a wide creative potential. The hand can simulate a tachometer, the jumping hours aperture evokes a digital display and the power reserve indicator resembles a gauge. Even if Reservoir will always continue to exploit this link with measuring instruments because it is its raison d’être, the time had come to explore another theme, more offbeat (and perhaps less rigid): that of the band drawn.
Thus this year was presented the Blake and Mortimer “By Jove” watch which joins Reservoir’s permanent collection, even if its production will remain limited. This watch is very important for Reservoir in several ways.
First of all, it allows Reservoir to get out of its comfort zone and demonstrate its ability to tackle a different subject while maintaining what makes it strong: loyalty to the source of inspiration. And let’s talk frankly: Reservoir perhaps also needed to change its image with more humor and relaxation. It is always useful especially when we are in times of crisis: customers want to have fun above all by buying a futile object such as a mechanical watch.
Then, it will, logically, give Reservoir the possibility of reaching a public distinct from that which has constituted its customer base since the beginning of its activity.
Finally, its price is below 3,000 euros (2,990 euros to be precise). The reason for this attractive price (almost 1,000 euros less than the lowest price in the catalog until then) is the removal of a function compared to the other models of the brand: the display of the power reserve. The watch therefore goes straight to the point, displaying only the hours and minutes. I thus rediscover the spirit of Gérald Genta’s first Fantasy which, they too, had no complications. Subsequently, “bi-retro” versions that included a retrograde date were developed, but I found that simplicity suited this type of watch much better.
In any case, Reservoir applied a very well-mastered recipe to create and produce the Blake and Mortimer “By Jove” watch. I found the quality of the finishes quite correct and the brand has managed to maintain its usual rigor in the interpretation. The font is faithful and very pleasant to read. Fortunately, it is also used for the hour digits. The dial offers a dark background that highlights the characters, the latter being represented in a neat way. The dial offers several touches of relief such as the brand logo or the edge of the jumping hours window. But it is obviously the arm of Francis Blake which accentuates the feeling of depth because of its position in the foreground.
The steel case has a diameter of 41.5mm. This size may seem large but the watch seemed balanced to me. First of all, I find it relevant that it has a sufficient dimension to be able to appreciate the characters and take full advantage of the atmosphere of the comic strip. Then, the opening of the dial remains reasonable because of the flange inclined in a curved way. The case is not very original but it does the essential: it leads us to focus primarily on the dial. The brushed finish is suitable in this context. The case back is completely solid and has a small decoration which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the release of the first volume of the adventures of Blake and Mortimer, The Secret of the Swordfish. Note that the water resistance is 50 meters.
The movement that drives the watch is made up of an ETA 2824 base and the usual display module from Telôs. It is therefore a known and proven configuration. The caliber ETA 2824 has enough power to animate the module. Its reliability and the fact that it is widespread ensure excellent durability. The downside is more at the level of its power reserve (a little less than 40 hours for a frequency of 4hz) which is modest in comparison with the standards from more recent calibers.
This does not prevent you from enjoying the Blake and Mortimer “By Jove” watch with great pleasure. The quality of the interpretation of the dial highlighted by the anti-reflective sapphire crystal, the care given to details and the flexibility of the calfskin strap (I am less seduced by the folding clasp, which is too thick for my taste) are real assets and we quickly let ourselves be drawn into the adventures of the two characters by following the slow movement of Francis Blake’s arm. It stands to reason that you better be an Edgar P. Jacobs fan to appreciate the watch theme. That said, it can also reach a wider audience, looking for an original and fun piece. Its reasonable price will surely tip the scales in case of hesitation because many customers are wondering about the potential weariness generated by a watch of this type. It is true that I cannot consider it as a basic collector’s item. But as the owner of a Gérald Genta Fantasy, I always let myself be charmed when I put it on my wrist. I’m sure the Blake and Mortimer “By Jove” watch will have the same effect.
The first batch was very successful and the entire production was sold very quickly for delivery at the start of the school year. The watch will be available again because, as I said, it is permanently part of the collection. The partnership with Editions Dargaud is not just limited to this piece and other models will follow, which suggests good prospects. One thing is certain: Reservoir does not have to regret such a partnership because it brings a nice dynamic to the brand and allows it to diversify both in its creation and in its clientele.