A few months ago, we presented a selection of 10 single-hand watches under €1,000, which many of you enjoyed. For one of our first tests of 2022, we’re continuing this theme with a young French brand. So here’s a summary of our day with the Gustave & Cie Jules Automatiquea mono-needle assembled in France and inviting to travel.
Gustave & Cie and the Jules collection
Gustave & Cie is a young brand from Dijonwhose creation dates back to 2014. It has made watches mono-hand a true signature. After offering 12- and 24-hour quartz watches, as well as a moon-phase model, it is now switching to automatic, much to our delight. For each collection, it’s a historic French personality to whom it pays tribute. Following in the footsteps of André Citroën, Louis XVI, Georges Méliès and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, it’s the turn of Jules Verne. The Jules collection is the young brand’s very first series of automatic watches, and is a direct reference to the French author of “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, “Around the World in Eighty Days” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. Zoom in on this mono-needle inspired by the famous author and packed with detail.
Let’s start with the shape. Gustave & Cie has chosen a case inspired by the famous compressor and super-compressorcreated in the late 60s. The case type and shape are reminiscent of the Nautic-Ski by LIP, the legendary French diver. It features a double crownThe first is located at 2 o’clock to adjust the inner bezel, the second at 4 o’clock to set the time. Their conical shape makes them easy to use and adds character to the case. Please note that the time-setting crown is screwed in, thus guaranteeing comfortable operation. 20-bar water-resistanceor 200 meters. It also features highly angular, open-worked hornsand complete this Jules’ uniqueness. The whole is topped with a domed sapphire crystal domed sapphire crystal, for a voluminous effect that contrasts with the protruding appearance of the case. The transparent caseback is lightly tinted blue, subtly revealing the details of the Russian caliber. In addition to other technical indications, the xxx/500 inscription can be read around the caseback. In fact, Gustave & Cie has made the judicious choice of number the first 500 examples of the Jules Automatique.
Despite its 20 bar resistance, its internal bezel is not related to scuba diving, but offers a second 24-hour scaleallowing a second time zone to be displayed. A clever way of offering a GMT function while retaining the single-hand aspect. In addition to its function, the bezel is shaped like a plunging bezel towards the dial, adding real depth. Moving towards the center of the dial, we find a second 24-hour graduation, with even-numbered hours marked byapplied hour markers very well proportioned, supported by quarter-hour highlights. If you take a step back and look at these bar indexes, you’ll recognize the spokes of a boat’s helm. Then there’s the brand logo at 12 o’clock, and the inscription “Automatique 200 M”, symmetrically arranged on two lines. The shape of the hand is unique and perfectly matches the overall inspiration of this creation. It has been designed to ensure perfect readability of the two time zones. This dial also features a ingenious compass functionindispensable for all navigation. At 24 o’clock (6 o’clock on a traditional dial) there is an “N” for North; you need to point the hand towards the sun for the “N” to indicate North. Gustave & Cie has chosen a very effective combination of colors: an midnight blue background with gold and white details. Note that the Jules Automatique is also available in other color codes.
Let’s move on to the mechanics. While Gustave & Cie watches display the “Made in France” label, the engine of this Jules is unfortunately not made in France. It’s a Russian movement manufactured by the historic Manufacture Vostok the caliber 2431. The latter is equipped with 31 rubiesThe movement’s unique design avoids wear due to friction, thus increasing its robustness and longevity. The small limitation of this movement is that it offers a power reserve limited to just 31 hours. In terms of precision, Vostok and Gustave & Cie claim a perfectly acceptable tolerance of -10/+20 seconds per day. It is beautifully decorated, with its blued screws, gilded gears and oscillating weight engraved with a sailboat accompanied by the Latin phrase “Fluctuat nec mergitur”, which translates as “It is battered by the waves, but does not sink”.
On the frame side, this Jules is equipped with a bracelet in smooth brown calf leather. The latter is fitted with tone-on-tone stitchingand subtle horizontal stitching in the colors of the French flag. It blends harmoniously with the blue background of the dial. But the French brand hasn’t limited itself to this dressed-up leather option, cleverly complementing it with a Tropic blue or blackto choose from. The latter offers a sportier lookwhich brings it closer to its diver side and justifies its maritime inspiration. Both frames are equipped with fast pumps so you can switch from one to the other with ease. So you can take full advantage of this Jules on land or at sea.
For the case, Gustave & Cie has chosen a relatively standard boxbut very effective. From cubic shapewith an imitation wood appearance and blue colorThe case provides effective protection for the watch, and can also be used to store the second strap. It comes with a user manual and warranty, as well as a certificate of authenticity bearing the first name of the watchmaker who inspected the watch. A human touch that makes all the difference.
Our opinion on this Gustave & Cie watch
We spent a very pleasant day in the company of this Jules Automatique. The Dijon-based brand has successfully made the transition to automatic timepieces with, as usual, a creation which brimming with detail and a complete inspiration very well done. It offers a remarkable wrist presencethanks to its well-proportioned, angular case shape. Despite the seemingly oversized dial, the latter is easy to readextremely well-balanced and full of detail. À 759€Gustave & Cie offers a single-hand automatic watch equipped with a sturdy and reliable Russian movement, assembled in France and carefully designed: a real success story. If you’re interested in the Jules, don’t delay: numbered copies are still available, a great way to acquire a unique piece.
Gustave & Cie Automatique Jules Silver and Blue Watch / Features
- Case : Stainless steel / Polished finish
- Width : 40mm
- Length : 50mm
- Thickness : 14mm
- Lining : 26mm
- Photoluminescence : No
- Glass type : Domed sapphire crystal
- Case back : Transparent / Blue smoked glass
- Movement: Automatic / Vostok Calibre 2431
- Power reserve : 31 hours
- Bracelet : Leather or tropic
- Buckle : Buckle
- Water resistance : 20 ATM / 200 meters
- Warranty : 2 years