The 1970’s were a legit transition point for the Swiss watchmaking industry, which attempted to survive the quartz onslaught (brought on, ironically, by Seiko) by contracting with other brands to do whatever it took – even if it meant putting their names on watches that weren’t, well, obviously Swiss.
One of these was LeJour, a French brand known in the United States by its export name, Yema; regardless, LeJour at least didn’t stray far from the normal tried and true chronograph formula the brand was known for, leaving us with this recently full serviced fetching black PVD example here for women. With the patina’d lume and a slender yet poignant red central chronograph hand, there’s more than enough visual contrast going on here to make the watch visually engaging. Couple this with an angled inner tachymeter bezel, and it all adds up to 1970/80’s Porsche gauges and later German watches.
During the 1970/80s, LeJour specialized in more affordable versions of watches nearly identical to Heuer and Porsche Design/Orfina offerings of the era – such as the "Poor Man's Heuer," LeJour's popular Valjoux-powered chronograph, which was identical to the Pasadena, save for the absence of the Heuer logo. These represent an interesting facet of Heuer’s history and provide a way for individuals to collect these chronographs on a more reasonable budget.
Heuer manufactured these LeJour chronographs under a private-label arrangement in the 1980's, and, under the terms of the arrangement Heuer manufactured an array of watches, which LeJour then distributed; some, like the Heuer Pasadena and LeJour model 7750, used the exact same cases and dials. The difference between the two being, naturally, no Heuer-signed dial.
And, just in time for the 2021 release (maybe?) of the sequel to the movie that made Tom Cruise’s career, namely “Top Gun,” the Orfina PVD variant of this watch (marketed under the Porsche name brand) adorned the wrist of Cruise’s LT Pete "Maverick” in the original 1986 Top Gun flick.
This LeJour comes with a PVD-coated stainless-steel bracelet, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
Women's 1970’s LeJour PVD Valjoux Automatic Watch
DIAL: Brilliant and detailed original black LeJour-signed three register dial. Original hour, minute, and chronograph hands.
CASE: Original 29mm (31 w/crown) x 33mm lugless PVD steel case, this case is quite thick at 11.5mm. PVD coating is uniform throughout the case, pushers, and crown.
CRYSTAL: Flawless mineral crystal, no scratches.
BAND: This LeJour comes with a black PVD-coated stainless-steel bracelet, with some - not heavy - wear typical for its age, which will fit an approx. 7.5 inch wrist.
MOVEMENT: Original LeJour three register Valjoux 7750 automatic mechanical movement - this watch has received a full service.
CROWN: Original unsigned PVD crown.