IN-DEPTH: The LeJour Coral Diver – vintage notes with unique twists at an attainable cost

IN-DEPTH: The LeJour Coral Diver – vintage notes with unique twists at an attainable cost

Fergus Nash

If you thought that a resurrected brand famed for its 1970s chronographs would be pigeonholed with its releases, think again. LeJour in 2022 is a very different beast from the distributor who worked alongside Heuer and Yema in the ‘70s, now creating vintage throwback watches with unique twists at an attainable cost. The Coral Diver is a wild ride of inspirations, culminating in a watch that’s thoroughly contemporary and full of character. With bold and brash attitude, tempered with elegant flowing lines, the LeJour Coral Diver is ready to make a mark on its own terms while still providing a brand name you can be proud of displaying.

LeJour Coral Diver

The case

The Coral Diver doesn’t shy away from anything, and certainly not its own size. Although the case measures 42mm in diameter, the bezel does overflow slightly to 43mm, giving it a huge amount of wrist presence. It’s only 14mm thick, but the slab-sided case profile makes it look and feel like a chunky statement. The lug-to-lug distance is 48mm, but the first link of the integrated bracelet is fixed, leading the end-link to end-link measurement to be closer to 55mm.

If you’ve ever worn a Full Metal Square G-SHOCK before, this watch wears quite similarly. The length of the case is made wearable by the in-built downward angle of those lugs and end-links to slope off the wrist, but if your wrists are smaller than average then this watch likely isn’t for you. If you’re around or above the average though, the LeJour Coral Diver is an appropriately bold choice.

The dial

LeJour Coral Diver

LeJour’s Coral Diver is of course named after the reefs in which you may find yourself diving with this watch, however the dial appears to be evoking that same environment. Swirling around like a hypnotic whirlpool, the depth of the pattern engraved into the dial creates thick ridges and troughs that you can get absolutely lost in. Some watches make you forget what time it is when you check them, and this is one of those. It’s available in black, blue, grey, green and brown variants, although the green version with matching ceramic bezel is surely to be the standout popular choice.

The hands are very modern looking, with wide spaces for heaps of C3 Super-LumiNova to be applied for excellent after-dark legibility, and the luminous paint even has a faint lime-green hue in the light. Although all logos are subjective, I also think the LeJour logo is one of the best among affordable Swiss brands.

The bracelet

The LeJour Coral Diver is outfitted on a three-piece H-link stainless steel bracelet, primarily brushed throughout and integrated into each end of the case via its broader center link. The outer facets of the broad center links, along with the bevels on the outer shoulders of the H-links, are rendered in a high polish to introduce further elegant light play. It is also secured to the wrist by a twin-trigger folding clasp with clamshell closure.

The movement

Behind the frankly extraordinary coral relief-engraving on the solid caseback, the LeJour Coral Diver uses a Sellita SW200 automatic movement for 38 hours of power at 28,800 vibrations per hour. With this movement gaining a near omnipresence in the past couple of years, it makes sense that LeJour have opted to prioritise artistry instead of a display caseback. They are well-regarded for their reliability and accuracy, with fairly affordable servicing costs as far as Swiss movements go.

The verdict

LeJour Coral Diver

The LeJour Coral Diver is an example from a brand that isn’t afraid to break away from tradition. Although the modern company has very little to do with the original one, it would be easy for them to ignore imagination and just reissue some of the vintage examples that are floating around. The retail price is listed as $800 USD, which is fairly competitive amongst other Phoenix brands such as Yema, Nivada Grenchen and Alsta, but the quality of production and the consideration of design are both definitely still there.

LeJour Coral Diver pricing and availability:

LeJour Coral Diver

The LeJour Coral Diver is available now for purchase via the LeJour website here. Price: $800 USD

Made in partnership with LeJour Watches. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.