When “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger announced his partnership with the newly refocused Jeanrichard watch brand last year, it was only a matter of time before Jeanrichard released a special-edition timepiece in his honor. Jeanrichard and Sully announced the launch of that watch, the Jeanrichard “208 Seconds” Aeroscope on January 14. Here’s what you need to know about it.
1. The watch’s release commemorates the five-year anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
The date of the launch announcement — which took place at New York City’s Tourneau TimeMachine on 57th Street and Madison Avenue, was not chosen at random. It was on January 14, 2009, that Sullenberger saved the lives of 155 people on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 by executing an emergency water landing in the Hudson River after the plane’s engines were damaged by a flock of Canada geese. The launch event, hosted by Jeanrichard COO Bruno Grande and featuring Sullenberger and his wife Lorrie as guests of honor, was also attended by VIPs such as CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King and representatives from Sullenberger’s favorite charitable organizations (more on which below).
2. The watch’s nickname is a direct reference to Captain Sullenberger’s memory of that fateful day.
As Sullenberger related to WatchTime in an interview at last year’s event announcing his partnership with Jeanrichard, he remembers having precisely three minutes and 28 seconds — 208 seconds — in which to assess the damage to the plane’s engines and to make the fateful and risky decision to attempt the landing on the Hudson. The dial of the Jeanrichard 208 Seconds Aeroscope features a visual reference to this historic slice of time, with three concentric white rings representing 60 seconds each and an inner partial ring in red representing the 28 seconds. (Red is also used in a segment of the chronograph counter at 9 o’clock and for the central chronograph seconds hand.) And while Grande emphasizes that the Aeroscope is not a “pilots’ watch” in the strictest sense, its design is influenced by classical aviator watches, including in its use of a Barenia calfskin leather strap with contrast stitching.
3. The Aeroscope contains an in-house movement with a high-end chronograph module.
According to Grande, The “208 Seconds” Aeroscope is powered by the automatic JR66 movement, which pairs Jeanrichard’s manufacture base caliber with a module from the chronograph specialists at Dubois-Depraz. (The “new” Jeanrichard, in its mission to distinguish itself stylistically and from a pricing standpoint from Girard-Perregaux, its sister brand in the Sowind Group, has been refreshingly forthright about the sources of its movements.) In addition to the chronograph function (which is displayed on the dial by two gray subdials with circular satin finishing), the hours, minutes and small seconds, Caliber JR66 powers a date indication at 4:30.
4. The Aeroscope’s case appears to be steel, but is actually polished, high-grade titanium.
Like the other watches in Jeanrichard’s revamped collection, the Aeroscope is distinguished by its multi-layer case that combines a round bezel with a cushion-shaped case middle. At first glance, the polished and satin-brushed finishes make the case (which measures 44 mm in diameter) appear to be made of stainless steel, but holding the watch in one’s hand quickly reveals that it’s actually made of lightweight, grade 5 titanium, the only grade high enough to receive a polished finish, contrasting with the lower grade 2 titanium, which tends to have a more matte appearance. The numbers on the bezel are engraved and filled with black paint; beneath the bezel is a cushion-shaped titanium case part coated with black DLC. Another material, a carbon fiber composite, makes a cameo appearance on the top inserts of the chronograph pushers.
5. When you purchase one, you may be indirectly helping to save lives.
The Jeanrichard “208 Seconds” Aeroscope is a limited edition of — you guessed it — only 208 pieces, and will be priced at a relatively accessible $5,400. Part of the proceeds from sales of the watch will support two of Sullenberger’s philanthropic endeavors — the American Red Cross, whom the now-retired pilot thanked profusely for its efforts in assisting the “Miracle on the Hudson” passengers after the historic water landing; and the Rory Staunton Foundation, which supports education and outreach efforts that aim to diagnose and treat the disease sepsis, particularly in children. (Staunton, the 12-year-old whose untimely death from sepsis inspired the founding of the charity that bears his name, was an aviation enthusiast with whom Sullenberger had a personal connection.) The very small production run and the price is likely to make these watches very collectible very quickly; a Girard-Perregaux representative told WatchTime a day after the launch event that he’d already received an order from one of the passengers on Flight 1549.