I recently had a chance to test drive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT Navy Seals (yes that full name is quite a mouthful) for a day and this is by no means a small watch. I'm glad that it's made of titanium as after a day you really do feel its heft. I shudder to think how my arm would feel had it been made of steel. I'm sure it would be a very good muscle building exercise.
There is no doubt that this is a big watch. You know how some watches might seem big on paper but wear smaller? With this one, what you see is what you get. Really. You feel every millimeter and it does sit quite high, I can see why this particular watch in the Navy Seals range has people divided in their opinions. It is definitely a watch you will not get away with wearing it with a suit. There is no way it'll fit under the shirt cuff. However, it goes great with jeans.
Now having only worn it for a day I can't comment on the time keeping aspect of the watch but I'm sure it's fine. It is very discreet in its branding and from a distance it could be any dives watch. Only those in the know will be able to recognize its telltale compression crown and pushers.
I suppose one thing, if anything that Navy Seals need is for a watch to be able to tell the time, and sure enough the time is certainly highly legible, thanks to the great contrast between black and white. However, if you want a dial that's cleaner and less crowded you can do much worse than having a look at the dive alarm, or even the dive auto, which differs from its brethrens by being made of stainless steel. (This is also the one that Paul Walker wore in the movie Fast 5)
The articulated rubber bracelet I'm a big fan of. It's comfortable, and subdued. The only thing I wish they'd coated in rubber was the clasp. It is highly scratch prone, and as a desk diver, I find that the clasp begins to look very second hand quite quickly.
For someone who actually likes big watches, I hate to say that this watch is perhaps a little too big for my wrist. I mean, I do manage to pull off some 50mm monstrosities, but this one, even at a mere 46 point something, I felt it was too big. I think that the 44mm alarm is the pick of the bunch, and the various fora would seem to agree with this assessment.
Affectionally referred to as the NSA, it has become a sort of a strap darling, much like Panerais where people have a strap collection to match the watch. And, just like a Panerai, the watch can pull off the different looks that various straps give it. I think the watch looks best with a good solid thick strap that you perhaps bought for the Panerai. Hey, they are both dive watches, built for the Navy!
[Disclosure : [o] is an employee of JLC. All views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the views of JLC]