Reservoir x LabelNoir Meets Popeye the Sailor Man: A Playful And Relatively Affordable Jump Hour – Retrograde Minute Complication, “I Yam What I Yam And That’s All What I Am”
by Martin Green
There is something fascinating about jump hour watches, especially when combined with a retrograde minute hand. There is something volatile about this complication, as all its power is released in a fraction of a second. At the same time, it is also a delicate complication that is quite challenging to make.
Managing the energy needed to change the hour disk and let the minute hand return back to zero simultaneously and instantly is challenging. It asks for a robust movement, but also one that is very finely tuned. When the hour disk is even the slightest fraction off, it will be annoyingly visible, and the same with a minute hand that doesn’t return properly to its starting position.
That is why Reservoir, an expert in this complication, teamed up with LabelNoir and chose Popeye the Sailor Man as the latest theme for a timepiece, following the excellent version featuring Blake & Mortimer.
Reservoir chooses rightly, as many of us have fond (childhood) memories of this charismatic cartoon character, Popeye the Sailor Man. Together with the woman of his affection, Olive Oyl, and Swee’Pea and his arch nemesis Bluto, Popeye entered the world on January 17, 1929, in the “Thimble Theatre” comic series by E.C. Segar. Almost a century old, Popeye has proved its staying power and remained relevant. With his love for spinach, he can now even be considered a trailblazer. In many ways, so is Reservoir.
While this jump hour movement is not exclusive to Reservoir, they have made it their own in a unique and playful way. Like their own version of Popeye, they have given it spinach and put a spotlight on it. At the same time, Reservoir wrapped the watch in attractive packaging to delight seasoned watch collectors while attracting new ones.
The Popeye version features a 41.5mm case, which is still small enough to be worn comfortably, yet offers plenty of space to showcase the comic character and highlight the unique complications. The bezel is relatively thin to maximize dial space and is coated with grey Diamond-Like-Carbon. Also known as DLC, this coating both puts more emphasis on the dial and enhances the luxury experience. While it is deliberately whimsical, the execution is what you expect from a high-end watch brand.
Paint it Popeye
Popeye is hand-painted on the dial, which is quite a feat. His muscled arm, complete with an anchor tattoo, points firmly towards the correct minute, which can be read with a great degree of precision.
The window for the hour disk is large, making it very easy to read. Reservoir also picked a font suiting the character and this makes for a visible union between the dial and the hour disk. Thanks to the black DLC-coated case and crown, there is a minimum of distraction, making Popeye the eye-catcher.
Moving a jump hour
There is a sapphire insert with a Popeye application at the back of the Reservoir x LabelNoir Popeye. The caseback is firmly secured with five screws and coated with grey DLC. The water resistance of this timepiece is 5ATM/50 meters, and while a watch like this is no diver, I wonder if there wasn’t an option to bump it up to 10ATM/100 meters. Popeye is, after all, a sailor, and this Reservoir is quite a sporty watch.
A jump hour with retrograde minute hand requires a powerful and reliable movement, and Reservoir has this covered with its caliber RSV-240. The base caliber is the La Joux-Perret G100 automatic movement, running at 28,800 VpH/4Hz and offering a generous power reserve of 56 hours. It is fitted with a proprietary module developed together with the Swiss manufacture of Telos. This gives the timepiece both the power and delicate features required to create a reliable jump hour watch with retrograde minute hand.
The price is right
I don’t usually discuss prices because that’s like comparing different types of fruit. However, the €4,700 that Reservoir is asking for this Popeye timepiece is quite reasonable. You not only get a well-executed watch with a unique set of complications, but it is also limited to 200 pieces.
The Reservoir x LabelNoir Popeye comes in an attractive box with all the characters from the comic on it, as well as a piece of embroidery and a chrome-painted figure of our hero. The timepiece itself is executed with an eye for detail and a particular kind of passion we often see with smaller and exclusive brands like Reservoir.
The cherry, or should I say spinach, on top is, in my opinion, the taupe grey nubuck leather strap with contrasting red stitching, finished off by a buckle with grey DLC coating.
For more information, please visit www.reservoir-watch.com/vintage-watch-collection/partnership/#popeye
Quick Facts: Reservoir x LabelNoir Popeye
Case: 41.5 mm, stainless steel with grey DLC-coating
Movement: automatic Caliber RSV-240 (base LJP-G100 base), 56-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency; Télôs Watch S.A.module, exclusive to Reservoir
Functions: hacking retrograde minutes, jumping hours;
Limitation: 200 pieces
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