Watch Test: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Navy SEALs

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Navy SealsIn 2011, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a limited-edition version of its Master Compressor Diving watch designed with the input of United States Navy SEALs. WatchTime got hold of one and put it through our in-depth watch testing gauntlet. Scroll down to see the results of the test, originally published in our print edition, along with photos by Nik Schölzel.

In 2002, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a new line of sports watches called Master Compressor, characterized by round cases and distinctive protruding crowns. In recent years, watch manufacturers have taken to partnering with various elite military units to emphasize the toughness and professional utility of even their most luxurious sport models. For this Master Compressor Diving watch, Jaeger-LeCoultre teamed up with the U.S. Navy SEALs. The typical Navy SEAL is trained to perform equally effectively in the air, on land, and in the water (hence the acronym, which stands for Sea, Air and Land). His equipment must be rugged and always reliable. At the start of the project, Jaeger-LeCoultre outfitted several SEALs with Master Compressor divers’ watches and took note of their feedback. For example, the testers remarked that the cases and rotating bezels reflected light too strongly and that the surfaces of the watches should be less shiny and more matte. The SEALs also suggested that the construction of the bezels needed rethinking, because they sometimes separated from the cases when the watches were subjected to the SEALs’ tough daily regimens. Jaeger-LeCoultre created a modified version of the Master Compressor, based on their suggestions, at its headquarters in Le Sentier, Switzerland. Called the Master Compressor Diving Automatic Navy SEALs, it is limited to 1,500 pieces, and engineered to be tough and sturdy under all conditions, including under water, to depths of 300 meters. (Click the watch photos for larger images.)

Jaeger-LeCoultre MC Diving Navy Seals

In addition to toughness and absolute reliability, the legibility of its time display is the single most important aspect of a divers’ watch. Jaeger-LeCoultre deserves praise in this area, because it would be difficult to imagine better styling for the dial and hands. The high contrast between matte black and white, the clear typography of the numerals, and the shape of the hands combine to ensure perfect legibility of the time under all conditions — even without nonreflective treatment on both surfaces of the sapphire crystal. In the dark, the watch glows so brightly and for such a long time that it almost seems as though there were a light source behind it. Jaeger-LeCoultre has applied a new, extra-powerful Super-LumiNova to the numerals, indices, and hands, as well as to the little marking triangle on the rotatable ceramic bezel, which clicks cleanly into place in one-minute increments. Each click is rich and resonant, a contrast with the weak clicks of so many other divers’ watches.

Jaeger-LeCoultre MC Diving Navy Seals side view

The rotating bezel clicks into place in one-minute increments.



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About Alexander Linz

Alexander Linz is an Austrian watch journalist, watch collector and blogger ( He belongs to a small group of European journalists who have been covering the Swiss and Japanese watch industry for decades. Alexander writes on a regular base for the Austrian daily newspaper "Die Presse", Austria's leading watch and jewelry trade magazine "Uhren-Juwelen" and the leading watch magazines in Germany "Chronos" and "Uhren Magazin". His interviews and features appeared in many of the world's leading watch forums and are frequently being shared by watch experts and journalists.


  1. Roadster says:

    Over rated...I owned a JLC world extreme chrono...not an accurate brand when it comes to telling time which to me is the whole point of wearing a watch...I sent it out 3x times to JLC in NY and in fact met w their master watch maker/director who was in charge of everything...technically speaking...
    As their advertisement says...\"have you worn a real watch?\"...
    The answer to that is yes!...its called a BALL world timer diver...

  2. Tha-B says:

    During WWII. Lots of watchmaker made watches for military. No surprise JLC make one for SEALs.

  3. Paul says:

    As a former owner of this particular watch, i can confirm the test result from the review conducted. My watch was bought brand new from a local AD amd it was already running fast +12 sec ish per day. I took it back to them and they timed it, had similar results with the review above. Afterwards i noticed the minute markers on the rehaut did not align centered to the lume marker at 6, 9, and 12 position. I had the watch sent for servicing via my AD who acknowledged the mis alignment as well. 6 months later it came back, supposedly from swiss as the regional service center did not have the capacity to service the watch.

    Guess what? The movement timing still show similar results, and the watch still gained 10+ secs per day. The rehaut misalignment? Still the same. Nothing was done to fix it. This does not include the fact the wacth came back with caseback scratches too. Long story short, i sold off the watch, took quite a loss, but i\'m very happy with the replacement i got, from another brand. I\'d never touch another JLC after the experience.

  4. Allen Irwin says:

    You do not no the history of Jaeger,look at the Reverso and its origins.I am a diver so I am aware of the obuse a divers watch has to take.If this is tested in the most extreme way in development great.And yes I am in the process of purchasing one over a Rolex,and I am a working man not a rich tycoon.Regards Allen

  5. Dan says:

    I think it cheapens the JLC brand to do these types of pieces. Its akin to omega pimping James Bond editions of the Seamaster. No real world SEAL is ever going to choose this watch over say, a g shock, to actually take into combat. They might wear one of these when they retire but that\'s about it. Leave the pimping of rugged watches to wannabe SEALS to Luminox

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