Friday, April 12, 2013

JARDUR: The History & Anatomy of a Watch Resurrection

JARDUR: The History & Anatomy of a Watch Resurrection (part 1 of 2) 

The Jardur watch company, previously known as the Jardur Import Company, was started by Samuel Klepper in New York City N.Y. in 1937.  Samuel was a pilot and the watches he designed were for a special class of users for whom the management of time was an important element of their profession.

The original Bezelmeter 960 for example, was designed for pilots. It was essentially a cockpit instrument for the wrist. Two features incorporated in the design give clear evidence of this intent. The bezel on the case is an independent chapter ring graduated in counter clockwise hours. Rotating the ring to align the mission duration hours with the hour hand on the dial at take off gives the pilot a quick reference of the flight time remaining during any point in the mission.

On the dial was a red degree meter scale graduated from 0 to 180 degrees of angle. Aircraft have control settings which will produce a standard turn rate of 3 degrees per second. By starting the chronograph sweep second hand at the initial point of turning, the sweep second hand position indicates the instantaneous course deviation in degrees on the red degree meter scale. This information is more reliable than using magnetic compass instruments which are subject to inertial forces during turning maneuvers.
Jardur distributed its watches and navigational flight plotters exclusively to the military through post ex-changes and ships stores, clear evidence that the Jardur watch company regarded their watches as professional tools.

Research into the history of the era reveals numerous occasions when the Jardur Bezelmeter also was the watch tool of choice. In 1941 just prior to WWII a privately sponsored mission to South America called the Inter American Escadrille was under taken to strengthen diplomatic ties and explore the feasibility of extending commercial air travel throughout Latin America: a Pan American skyway. Lawrence Rockefeller loaned his amphibious Grumman G21 (tail number NC37000) and his crew was lead by James Evan Ferris. Jardur supplied the watches they wore.

In 1942 the president of North America Aviation James Howard “Dutch” Kendelberger chose a Jardur Bezelmeter 960 to present to Jimmy Doolittle. This watch is now in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. On the back is engraved ‘To Jimmie Doolittle and Shangri La from Dutch 6-1-42’ (32267 (1). North American built the sixteen B25B Bombers which Lt. Colonel Doolittle led off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 600 miles off the coast of Japan. Shangri La was the Hornets code name.

In between those events which circumstances happened to capture were countless others which drummed along without fanfare and many Jardur watches also went along. Each has a story.

The effort to trace this brand back to its origins and answer many questions regarding the source of the expertise which went into the design gradually took on another dimension. The new Jardur was born.

The revealed history of the original watch was too compelling to stand without a concerted effort to revive the marquee.

JARDUR: The History & Anatomy of a Watch Resurrection (part 2 of 2)  

Now a newly formed company pays homage to the original Bezelmeter 960 with the introduction of a modern version which incorporates all of the advancements in materials, manufacturing methods, and design features which comprise state-of-the-art watch making. Some of the dial complications have been removed to reduce the sources of sensory overload present in today’s environments. The degreemeter-the DNA of the original is still there however. No other watch has this unique feature.

The first thought was an exact replica of the 960. It even writes its own specifications.  This held a serious downside however. Although a well done example might have brought an aesthetic satisfaction there was a falsely implied promise that, like the original, you could hold one to your ear like a seashell and hear the coughing sputter of the Pratt and Whitney engine of a B17 readying for departure at 0600 hours.

A more honest approach was to bring the company forward instead of taking the watch backward in the form of the original 960. The object was then to use everything now known about the original goals of the company and to design a current version with as much JARDUR function and DNA as possible.

At the best solution of the design of a new genra of JARDUR called the Degreemeter.  The new watch would be first and foremost an aviation chronograph, as much an instrument watch as the original, and incorporate a state-of-art” best practice” design philosophy.

Every machine has a man-machine interface. The watch (machine) measures time which is extracted by the user across the interface. The objective is always the ambiguous error free transfer of information; the perfect transfer state. There are, however, inherent environment and human factors which can combine to degrade the perfect transfer state and increase the potential for the introduction of errors into the extracted information. Primarily these are related to visual acuity. Most of these factors are well known, as are their mostly physical sources. For example, the necessity of covering the dial with a transparent crystal creates a lens susceptible to distortion and reflects incident light, an environment factor. Complexity interferes with the efficient transfer and resolution of information, a human factor since the cognitive elements of human perception are involved. Although both factors interfere with information transfer the design counter-measures are different.

The study and application of this type of analysis emerged first as human engineering and became human factors as the discipline was adopted by medicine, aerospace and other critical professions. It is now commonplace in industry. Since the Jardur Company was apparently steeped in technology it seemed reasonable that they would have continued in this manner and base design decision on ergonomic practice.

In the case of the new Degreemeter this did not require any new analysis because the problems and solutions were mature. The reason this is not widely adapted is mostly ascribed to cost and brand styling especially for the class of watches not in the true instrument category. The following factors and the related rationale which was used in the design of the Degreemeter components: 

Dial crystal, case and movement:

·         Full Arabic numbers for better resolution…The brain is wired for the counting of integers.  White against black for conspicuity…Which allows the best light absorption/reflection (contrast).
Borderless Subdials:
·         This is for unnecessary distraction from the scale graduations.
·         SOP for aircraft instruments.

Open 60 seconds Track:

  • ·         For the best operational feedback.  Best viewing for confirmation that the watch is running and facilitates hacking to a standard time.

Omission of Tachometer and Telemeter scales:
  • ·         Removes unnecessary complication.
Date Only:
  • ·         Clears dial of unnecessary distractions.
Standard Rate Turn Scale (SRT):
  • ·         Provides an atavistc feature.  It is valid when an aircraft has a 3 degree per second turn rate. Classic Jardur DNA.
Red 2 Minute Triangle on the Chronograph Minute Track Subdial:
  • ·         A cross check limit on the SRT scale in operation.
  • ·        Allows for visual acuity. Functional and resists scratches and wear which cast shadows on dial.
Long Radius of Curvature minimally convex:
  • ·         Also allows for visual acutiy.
  • Design minimizes distortion of informational transfer. Pressure of crystal acts to tighten edge seal.
AR Treatment:
  • ·         Changes the phase between incident and reflected waves by one/half wave length; cancelling by interference.

42 MM Diameter:
  • ·         Increases visual acuity 20% in dial area from 38 mm diameter.
Non Locking Chrono Buttons
  • ·         Demand ready. No pre planning for use.
20 MM inside Lug Width:
  • ·         20 mm straps readily available.
Spring Bars Drilled Through:
  • ·         Best pin interference. Easy strap changes.
Satin Finish:
  • ·         Bezel chapters contrast with minimal glare distraction.
  • Valjoux 7750:
·         The 7750 has been in wide use since 1970 by many brand manufacturers and has
and has demonstrated robust, failure-free performance. Parts are readily available and the minimally complicated movement is easy to service.

Words in a specification of requirements are not adequate to express the finished appearance. For this it was necessary to translate these into artwork using a graphics designer who can adjust positions and proportions to achieve balance and to avoid optical illusions.
The result is a watch designed as a true instrument in the traditions of the original Jardur Company. An instrument relevant for professional users and those who are provisioning for their next adventure.

We here at Jardur Watches thank you for your time in reading this piece and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me personally at side email: or call 406-396-1342.  Sincerely,  CC

I will end with this wonderful piece, (unknown author):
There is nothing more personal to us than our Time; how we spend it, enjoy its passing moments, especially how we measure it and look upon its face in a watch. Our Life is a measure of passing Time it surrounds us in its Past, Present and the Future.

And so it is with watches. We can translate the very thinking and reasoning with the way we feel with our love for watches mechanical, and quartz.

Quartz watches are independent and will function without our attention. If we left it in a drawer for a year, it will still run. It will still be accurate we can take it for granted, and it does not need us. By nature, they are cool and aloof and so are our reactions, they fail to touch our hearts in the deepest sense.

Mechanicals, on the other hand depend on us for their very survival, we give it Life and sustenance. The automatic takes its power from our very motions and is a symbiotic organism on our wrists. It feels alive on your wrists. Without the movement of our own bodies, there would not be the energy stored in its barrel for its heart to beat it would die of lack of attention. It is we who feed it and care for it.

These timepieces give back to us that visual splendour of a beautiful work of art. Its very beating heart laid bear by the window into its soul, allows us to gaze upon it in wonderment at the intricacies of its moving micro-organs. The graceful sweep of the seconds hand enthrals the best of us. The rapid beat of the tick-a-tick-a quickens our own pulse. And aahh, the quiet whirr of the rotor as we swing our arms What do you call this, but pleasure of the highest order, from its existence on your wrist? What better feedback can we ask for? This and the comforting feeling that they will be by our sides faithful companions sharing our lives and experiences being there with us for a long time to come. Something that we cannot say for sure with the quartz. Once their life is up, they will fall by the wayside.

It is the same with a winding watch our careful, gentle, loving ministrations in our ritual winding coaxes it to life. It is our own special time that we spend with it every day. And oooh that feel of a Patek winding experience deliciously smooth and creamy, coming together with that fine pitched ratcheted sound tactile ECSTASY!

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