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As watch aficionados, we live in quite exciting times.
There’s never been a bigger number of watchmakers fighting for our attention and trust.
While going for the top mainstream brands with the longest presence in the market is the safest bet, there’s value to be found with some less-known watch companies.
Many of these offer excellent-looking timepieces with accurate complications, sometimes at price points a few times lower than the more renowned competitors.
One brand that’s been around for quite some time and yet is still largely untapped is Jacques Lemans.
The Austrian watchmaker has been offering stylish timepieces for nearly 50 years now and is considered one of the hidden gems of the industry.
In this Jacques Lemans watches review, we will take a detailed look at the brand’s background, quality, and the most popular watch collections.
Without further ado, let’s go.
Jacques Lemans History & Background
The company was founded in 1975 by Alfred Reidl who is the company’s owner and managing director to this day. The brand was set up in the Austrian city of St. Veit / Glan and has been a family-owned business throughout its five-decade-long history.
Although now Jacques Lemans is a successful watchmaker that sells in 120 countries worldwide, it had pretty humble beginnings.
For the first few years, Riedl himself had to travel around Austria and Germany to sell watches. The process of acquiring new sales partners and entering a new market was slow but steady.
Patience has been one of the main ingredients Riedl attributes to Jacques Leman’s success. Because let’s be honest, no watchmaker without success would have survived that long in one of the most competitive industries known to humankind.
Nowadays, apart from offering well-crafted timepieces, Jacques Lemans has also a jewelry line.
During its history, some high-profile people have been spotted wearing Jacques Lemans watches. One of them is an Oscar winner, Kevin Costner. Another is an Olympian gold medalist in snowboard, Anna Gasser.
All critical parts of Jacques Lemans’ success, such as research, strategic planning, development, marketing, quality control, and distribution, are handled at the company’s headquarters in Austria. This allows for fast decision routes, as well as the ability to react swiftly to new trends.
Let’s now have a look at the quality of these timepieces.
Are Jacques Lemans Watches Any Good?
The best way to evaluate the quality of any watch brand is to see how well it fares against watchmakers operating in the same price basket.
Looking at the prices of Jacques Lemans watches, we can easily classify the Austrian brand as a low-to-mid budget watchmaker.
So, is Jacques Lemans a good watch brand?
To answer the question, let’s have a look at all the major aspects contributing to the overall quality of the brand.
You can’t make the first impression more than once, right?
Fair to say, Jacques Lemans makes a very good one.
For the most part, JL watches boast an extremely elegant style. There are some models that are more minimalistic and some with more adventurous designs. In general, however, we could say these watches oscillate in the dressy spectrum.
What links all collections is the fact that they all look better than the moderate price tag would suggest.
Jaques Lemans utilizes genuine, robust materials that ensure not only a head-turning design but also longevity.
And since we’ve touched on the subject of longevity…
Even the most splendid design won’t make up for poor durability standards which play a pivotal role in a timepiece’s lifespan.
Quite frankly, there’s not much to point a finger at in this field either.
It’s common knowledge that the watch glass is the first line of defense against what could potentially be serious damage.
Not only is a cracked dial window hard on the eyes but it also vastly increases the chances of moisture getting inside the face which pretty much equals movement damage.
Jacques Lemans watches are doing absolutely okay in this aspect.
Depending on the watch model (and its price), you can expect two types of glass – hardened crystex crystal and sapphire crystal.
The first type is basically Jacques Lemans’ interpretation of mineral crystal glass which is a common choice amongst low-to-mid budget watchmakers.
Sapphire glass, on the other hand, is by far the most crack- and scratch-resistant material out there. It’s widely used by all the top watchmakers from Rolex to Omega. The more pricey Jacques Lemans models utilize the glass.
The vast majority of watch models utilize stainless steel cases.
This is very much the standard choice not only amongst watchmakers sharing the same price category but in general.
Stainless steel is a relatively cheap-to-obtain material with excellent anti-corrosion properties. The exact type of stainless steel used in Jacques Lemans watches is 316L which is even more stain-resistant than 314L.
There’s a small selection of watches that use either ceramic or titanium cases. Both types are usually a bit pricier.
Crucially, all cases include screw-down crowns and casebacks. This greatly reduces the chances of any moisture getting inside the watch and its movement.
The brand offers a wide selection of watch straps and bracelets. Whatever is your preferred type, you’re bound to be spoilt for choice in this aspect.
You can choose from:
- stainless steel bracelets – present in a huge portion of watches. Not only do they look stylish but are also extremely enduring. The number of links varies between 3 and 7
- genuine leather straps – probably the easiest on the eye but also the most fragile
- High-Tech Ceramic bracelets – pretty much ceramic on steroids. Extremely light and shiny, yet quite tough-to-break
- wooden bracelets – the unique collection of wooden watch models is constantly growing. However, they’re quite delicate
- silicon straps – used with a small portion of sporty models. Extremely durable and easy to clean
All Jacques Lemans watches offer some level of water resistance.
Normally, timepieces with a strong dress appearance are water-resistant up to 50m.
Watches combining dressy design with additional functions can mostly withstand a pressure of up to 100m.
Finally, some sporty models offer as much as 200m WR rating.
Jacques Lemans Warranty
All JL timepieces, as long as they’re purchased from the brand’s official website or an authorized seller, come with a 2-year warranty.
It’s pretty much a standard duration in the industry, especially for watchmakers listed at similar price points.
During the guarantee period, the watch is protected against all manufacturing defects. Naturally, any damage caused by your own negligence won’t be considered for free repair/replacement.
The selection of movements is really impressive.
For a large part of its history, the company has been offering a wide choice of watches powered by either quartz or automatic movements.
However, nowadays the brand also offers two additional movement types: Hybromatic and solar.
Let’s have a quick peek at all movement types below.
The movements are either Swiss or Japanese.
Battery-powered timepieces make up a large portion of the entire collection.
These are the best option for folks who above all value excellent accuracy. They are highly unlikely to lose or gain more than 15 seconds monthly.
Timepieces powered by automatic calibers are usually the most sought-after type amongst aficionados.
Powered by your wrist’s motion, these watches never need a battery replacement and the complications are just so much more complex.
The number of Jacques Lemans automatic watches is considerably smaller than quartz-powered models. Those that are available mostly use Japanese movements, oftentimes manufactured by Seiko.
However, there’s a small portion of models that utilize Swiss calibers. These are usually at the higher end of the pricing table.
There’s a fair chance this is the first time you’re coming across this movement name.
That’s because it’s used exclusively by Jacques Lemans. It’s just another term for meca-quartz watches.
A meca-quartz movement, as you can probably guess by now, is a hybrid.
In short, JC Hybromatic watches combine the accuracy of quartz with the crisp feel and performance of a mechanical chronograph.
The natural arm movement is sufficient to keep the extraordinary watch operating in this manner.
What’s more, the storage elements ensure an outstanding 180-day power reserve.
A watch with a meca-quartz movement can be thinner, more durable, and more reliable than a traditional completely mechanical chronograph, as well as cheaper to maintain and faster to service.
Finally, there’s also something in store for those of us who are environmentally conscious.
The collection of solar-powered watches is on a constant rise.
These timepieces utilize an advanced solar technology that allows any artificial or natural light to charge the watch. They, of course, are battery-powered models with excellent quartz accuracy.
Jacques Lemans Collections
Jacques Lemans groups its over 600 watch models into 8 collections:
Each collection has its own tweaks, particularly related to the design and functionalities.
Let’s now have a brief look at the collections, as well as the most popular models from each.
As far as men’s watches are concerned, the classic collection is definitely the one with the strongest dressy vibes.
It also includes women’s timepieces but ladies have an even more stylish collection named “Elegance” which we will have a look at later.
As you’d expect from a dress watch, the case diameter is moderate. Jacques Lemans Classic timepieces for men measure anywhere between 38mm and 42mm. The size of ladies’ watches is 28mm-40mm.
When it comes to straps, you can pick from genuine leather bands and mesh bracelets made from stainless steel.
For the most part, the watch faces are fairly minimalistic.
A two or three-hand configuration with either stick indices or Arab numerals is a popular theme, offering excellent legibility. However, there are also some more modern-looking models with additional sub-dials functioning as calendars.
All Classic watches are battery-powered (quartz).
From the most stylish and toned collection, we’re diving straight into the most adventurous one.
Through workmanship of the highest caliber combined with cutting-edge materials, Jacques Lemans Sport ensures functionality even under the most extreme conditions.
The Sport timepieces for both men and women combine a sporty style with classic elements. This unique combination makes them ideal for every occasion, whether it’s a regular workday or a sporting expedition.
A large portion of these watches is chronographs.
Because of the inclusion of three sub-dials, these watches are naturally a bit bigger. The case diameter can reach as high as 49mm for men’s watches and 40mm for women’s models.
The collection also includes some stylish dive watches. These are equipped with a unidirectional dive bezel and large baton indices with strong luminescence. Naturally, they also offer higher water resistance properties. Most can withstand a pressure of up to 200m.
Jacques Lemans Sport line features either automatic or quartz watches.
As the name suggests, this collection consists exclusively of automatic watch models.
Normally, these are the more sought-after type and so the pricing of these timepieces is oftentimes a bit higher. The calibers are either Japanese or Swiss.
Men’s models are available in 38mm or 42mm size while watches for ladies measure 34mm or 35mm.
In terms of straps, you can choose either leather or stainless steel (3-link bracelet).
This is the collection the Austrian brand prides itself on the most.
High-Tech Ceramic watches are made from, you guessed it, high-quality ceramic which is considered stronger than stainless steel. It’s also lighter.
What’s worth noting, only bracelets utilize the material. Cases are again made from stainless steel.
This is the collection that allows you to pick from either round or rectangular cases.
The range of sizes is understandably bigger. Men’s watches operate in the 28mm-44mm range while ladies’ measure between 20mm-40mm.
The watches have pretty minimalistic faces, with tiny hands pointing to stick indices. Individual models include a date window or chronograph timers.
The collection consists entirely of quartz models.
This collection is a match made in heaven for people who care about the environment.
Thanks to innovative technology, timepieces in this line are powered not only by sunlight but in fact any form of light.
Watches with wooden bands are another standout feature of this line. Some models also use AppleSkin straps which is a bio-based leather alternative. In other words, it’s vegan leather made from apples.
Again, there are many design variations available.
Some models are really minimalistic, while others come with more flashy elements like gold-tone bracelets or chronograph sub-dials.
The line is entirely powered by solar quartz movements.
Due to the movement, the Hybromatic collection is probably the most unique one.
As already mentioned earlier, these watches combine two types of movement – quartz and automatic. They have the excellent precision of quartz watches but are wound by the movement of your wrist, just like regular automatic models.
Because of the complex mechanism, Hybromatic watches are one of the most pricey in the entire offer.
At the time of writing, the Hybromatic collection is made exclusively of men’s watches.
As far as the exterior is concerned, the timepieces in the line are clearly inspired by the iconic Rolex Submariner. At first glance, all resemble dive watches, particularly down to the unidirectional bezel with large markers.
The models are available with silicone, leather, or stainless steel bands. They co,e in 38mm, 40mm, and 42mm sizes.
The line’s strongest selling point is probably the power reserve of 180 days.
It’s the first of the two collections designed exclusively for ladies.
The line certainly lives up to its name as all the timepieces scream style and grace.
Although the Elegance models are for the most part pretty minimalistic, some include stone-adorned bezels or dials. The brand uses Swarovski crystals for this decoration.
There’s also a fair number of models with Mother of Pearl dials which gives these watches a natural shine and charm.
A lion’s share of Elegance watches utilizes stainless steel bands, either with links or in the form of mesh bracelets.
The range of sizes is pretty huge, with the smallest models measuring just 32mm and the largest 44mm which is fairly big for a women’s watch.
The collection is exclusively quartz.
Last but not least, the Design Collection is another created with women in mind.
In contrast to the Elegance line, Design watches look way more adventurous due to the selection of vibrant colors (ie. orange or pink). There’s also a fair number of watches with square faces.
The square-shaped models measure 30x30mm while timepieces with round dials are available in 36mm or 38mm size.
On the strap front, you can pick between leather and stainless steel.
Again, all the watches in the collections are battery-powered.
Where Are Jacques Lemans Watches Made?
Jacques Lemans watches are manufactured and assembled in Austria.
However, it’s worth noting that important watch elements, such as the movement, are outsourced from other countries.
Some watch models are Swiss-made which not only means they run on Swiss calibers but achieve a minimum 60 percent Swiss value criterion. These are also cased up and have a final examination in Switzerland.
Other models use Japanese movements.
How Much Are Jacques Lemans Watches?
As already indicated, Jacques Lemans is a low-to-mid budget watchmaker.
Some of the cheapest models can be snatched for less than $100 while the more pricey watches are approaching the $500 mark.
With that said, the vast majority of Jacques Lemans’ timepieces oscillate in the $200-$300 brackets.
Where to Buy Jacques Lemans Watches?
Jacques Lemans is a renowned enough watchmaker for there to be a wide selection of replica models – especially online.
Hence, it’s important to know where to do your shopping.
The first obvious choice is the brand’s official website. There you will find the biggest selection of watch models by some distance. You can also use the Storefinder to find timepieces in physical stores near you.
The choice of Jacques Lemans watches is also huge on popular marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. The first one offers really competitive prices on new models while the latter is known for good deals on pre-owned models.
Stay away from the likes of Aliexpress and Wish.
Jacques Lemans Watches Review: Conclusion
If you’ve been a bit keyed up regarding the purchase of your first Jacques Lemans watch, we hope that the article has helped you make the right decision.
Summing up the Jacques Lemans brand review, it’s only fair to say that the Austrian watchmaker provides really solid value for money.
Frankly, we can easily see why some enthusiasts refer to the brand as a hidden gem amongst European watchmakers.
The fact that Jacques Lemans is an ultra-affordable brand (cheapest models are available for $100 and the most pricey don’t break the $500 mark), means it’s a low-risk investment.
Many watch enthusiasts who decided to give the Austrian brand the benefit of doubt seem to be extremely happy, not to say pleasantly surprised with the purchase. Apart from appreciating the design of the watch, some are particularly impressed with its longevity.
And this shouldn’t be a surprise.
Jacques Lemans watches not only look good but they’re well-crafted and use solid materials that contribute to the impressive lifespan. The inclusion of sapphire crystal in watches even as cheap as $250 is particularly impressive.
While singing the praises, we also can’t overlook the wide selection of reliable movements. Apart from offering automatic and quartz Japanese- or Swiss-made calibers, Jacques Lemans prides itself on its Hybromatic collection – timepieces that combine the accuracy of battery-powered models with the winding process of automatic watches.
If there’s some information you feel is missing from our Jacques Lemans review, make sure to let us know in the comment section below. Also, feel free to share your own experience with the brand!