REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic Watch

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REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic Watch

Postby Mortuus » August 3rd 2016, 12:02am

Dead Man’s Note: This is a review which I should have completed far earlier than I did, but as “they” always say, Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans. Which means that this review was “overcome by events” a few times along the way. I think you’ll understand why as you read further, but this was one review that I wanted – even needed – to get done right, so I took my time with it. I hope you find the end-product a good and entertaining read.

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One of the common quirks of Americans is their loyalty and even devotion to their respective almae matres. (That’s “schools attended,” for you folks in Rio Lindo and Perth-Fremantle.) For some it's a matter of pride due to the school's sports teams, while for others it's all about the school name and the éclat it connotes. Nonetheless, there exists that same depth of school pride even for those of us who didn't go to a school with a legendary basketball or football program, or a name that conjures up images of ivy-covered brick walls and professors in their snazzy corduroy sport coats with suede elbow patches. Case in point: Yours Truly.

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I'm a very proud graduate of the California State University's Long Beach campus, where the only sports we as a school excelled in were baseball (Google “Cal State Long Beach Dirt Bags”) and surfing, which happened to be an obsession of mine during the time I attended -- and still is, though I've not stood atop a board and ridden a wave in, oh, let's just say a long while and leave it at that. At any rate, those two sports are not exactly the kind of activities that would tend to make good old Long Beach State a sports powerhouse. And it's not exactly the kind of school that anyone would take for an "ivy league" institution, despite being able to boast such famous former attendees and/or graduates as Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin, Snoop Dogg and commercial aviation pioneer, Mortuus Praesepultus. Okay, so maybe that last one is a stretch, but all of them would no doubt tell you that CSU Long Beach is truly "the shizzle."

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And all of this has exactly what to do with your review of this watch, Mort? you ask, and rightfully so; after all, no one likes digressions very much -- just ask Holden Caulfield's speech teacher at Pency Preparatory Academy, a first class bastard who'd have his students yell "Digression!" if some poor sap strayed from the subject of his in-class public address. (Now how's that for a digression, eh?)

So all of that sets the stage for an afternoon last summer, when I sat down at my computer to explore the Montres Edouard Lauzières website (http://www.edouardlauzieres.com), looking to find that perfect Swiss watch. It is at this point where I suppose I need to add the disclaimer that, in the four years since becoming a member over at BDWF, I have gotten to know Mr. James Elsener, owner of Edouard Lauzieres watches and fellow BiDWiFfer, and I consider him to be my friend. So does that mean you wouldn't bust on his product because of that? you ask. My completely honest answer: nope. I call ‘em as I see ‘em. (Unless, of course, there’s vast amounts of cash involved, then hey, it’s every man for himself.)

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Anyhow, I'm looking at the EL (or, as they refer to it, the ƎL) website, when I come across this watch called the Long Beach, and suddenly I'm transported back in time to those amazing college daze of wine, women and song. And there I am, freezin' my keestoi' off in the early morning haze, jogging the three blocks down to the beach, surfboard under my left arm, and the upper half of my partially unzipped wetsuit bouncing up and down on the back of my legs. And then, after a couple hours of perfect wave riding, I'm getting bitched out by my fraternity's "house mother" for getting sand on the Persian rugs in the foyer. And then, still more hours later, it's me and a few of my Kappa Sig brethren, getting bitched out by the same lady, this time for "smelling of alcohol, like a bunch of common inebriates." And so on. (If nothing else, she had a wonderful vocabulary…but I digress.)

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Photo courtesy of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Cal State Long Beach - My home of four years 8-)

(Okay, for you folks in Rio Lindo and Perth-Fremantle, here’s where the actual review starts, so you can wake up now…)

The Edouard Lauzières watch brand is not widely known here in the U. S., but it is fairly well-known throughout Europe and South America. It is a genuine Swiss watch company that can lay claim to its products having been actually made in Switzerland, and no one doubts the veracity of that statement. Each watch proudly features “Swiss Made” on both the dial and the reverse. And while I might be a bit on the biased side, each is truly a fine example of Swiss design and craftsmanship. The Long Beach model is a superb example of the brand’s high standards.

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Mr. Elsener makes use of the ƎL website (http://www.edouardlauzieres.com) to explain the watch's Long Beach moniker thusly:

“On a sunny day I was rummaging around the house and looking for a piece of cloth I knew I had put away on the attic. I wanted it to show it to [an associate] because of its colour. I had a very special dial in mind.

“The cloth I did not find but I stumbled over a glass bottle full of sand. When I turned the bottle the label read Long Beach and the colour was exactly like the one of the cloth I had been searching for.

“And to this day we do not know whether the sand in the bottle hails from the beaches of Long Beach NY or Long Beach California.”


Of course, Mortuus Praesepultus (that’s me, for you folks in Rio Lindo and Perth-Fremantle), proud native southern Californian and graduate of Long Beach State, is pretty damned sure (like around 99.999% certain) that the sand in question came from the vicinity of his beloved alma mater, though I’ve no way of proving it. Sometimes you just know.

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Technical Information*

Reference: 122-GDC-10
Movement: EL-18, based on Claro 888-2 self-winding, with 18 jewels, blued screws, decorated bridge and Côte de Genève decorated and hand-calibrated rotor
Function: date at 3 o'clock
Case: 316L stainless steel, high-gloss polished
Back: 316L stainless steel-framed see-through sapphire crystal
Diameter: 38mm (without crown)
Thickness: 11.35mm
Weight: 74 grams
Glass: sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: 5ATM - 50 meters (165 ft)
Dial: hand-guilloche, sunburst pattern
Hands: luminous dauphine style hands, silver coated seconds indicator
Index: applied numerals
Crown: ƎL-engraved 316L stainless steel
Band: vintage style calf skin leather with matched stitching, embossed inside with ƎL logo, 23 cm (9 in)
Buckle: ƎL-engraved 316L tang type
*Courtesy of http://www.edouardlauzieres.com

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Appearance

I’ll be right up front about telling you that if you’re not used to wearing smaller watches, the ƎL Long Beach is definitely going to look and feel a bit small to you when you first try it on, much like most vintage watches look and feel small to those who have had little or no experience with them. Nonetheless, the nicely balanced dial, bezel width and lug-to-lug distance all combine to make the watch’s size a very good look for your wrist, even if you’re up there in 8” wrist territory.

The lovely sand dial color is both stylish and visually relaxing, making the Long Beach ideal for casual wear, though it’s certainly suitable as a dress piece, depending on your choice and shade of clothing. The rich, hand-guilloche “sunburst” dial pattern is striking, well-balanced against the size of the hour numerals and hands, and plays very well with the logo and other brand indications.

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Engineering

Like a lot of other collectors, I used to wonder whether the Claro-888 was really a Swiss movement, or just something “Swissy” to put in a case and call it a day. And then, during an online discussion, one of my best pals on the planet, over at “Another Site” goes out of his way to assure me that the CL-888 is definitely Swiss, no question about it. He never said just how he knew this, and I respected his advanced age and vast knowledge of watches enough that I never felt the need to ask.

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So fast forward it a couple of years, and here I am buying this lovely watch, somehow not at all concerned about the CL-888 Swiss question, because, well, ƎL is using a CL-888-2 based version in this watch, which they have given the moniker EL-18, which is a really cool coinkydink, because the movement just happens to have 18 jewels onboard. (These things don’t happen by accident, y’know, unless, of course, you happen to hail from Rio Lindo…but I digress again.) At any rate, and at the risk of sounding a bit juvenile, the EL-18 reminds me of that Sade song of 30+ years ago, Smooth Operator. Which, of course, it is. It has the tendency to pick up the occasional one or two seconds over a five-day period, which is pretty damned good. In the end, there is a definite – though hard to describe – feeling you get when you wind it up and put it on, where everything is nice and solid, and superbly functioning. (You know, like sliding behind the wheel of a brand new Mercedes SLK...but, yet again, I digress.)

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Summary

In summation, this is a beautiful, well balanced watch, both operationally and visually. Like the vast majority of Swiss watches, it is a genuine pleasure to slip it on and go about your day. And the sand dial color is just amazing, especially for an old LBSU 49er such as myself. Its calf leather strap is as comfortable as the leather seats in my old SLK-320, so much so that it often gets left on my wrist overnight without my realizing it. Put simply, it’s the complete package that all of us as collectors are looking for. 100% distinctive all the way.

James, you’ve done a marvelous job with this watch, and I genuinely love it. And for the rest of my ever-growing watch family, I think you will, too. This is the real thing, and so is the gentleman who builds it.

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As always, many thanks to all of you who’ve stopped by yet again to read one of my novellas. Be safe and well, all.

©2016 Mortuus Aviation, LLC. “Where your final flight is always a First Class experience.
Title/closing photo courtesy of http://www.edouardlauzieres.com.

Gunter. Globen. Glaussen. Glieben.
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby conjurer » August 3rd 2016, 5:18am

Excellent review, Mort. EL makes a great watch--they tend to be a little pricier than some of the competition, but well worth it.
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby eddiea » August 3rd 2016, 8:53am

Great review Don, personally? I dislike the Claro (and all the drama associated with the mov.) not a fan of EL designs either
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby Hawk » August 3rd 2016, 4:14pm

Speaking only for myself I found his reasoning on the Claro to be compelling. I tend not to base my purchase decisions on whether something may or may not be controversial lest I cut myself off from Bremont in its entirety.

Nonetheless I find the reliance on Saro in New York to be troublesome though I would never admit as much on BDWF.

Bottom line is that anyone buying Grand Seiko isn't going to be troubled by a 38mm watch case and I do find the 3L to be rather nice though perhaps out of reach due to limited distribution.

I respect the guy a whole bunch but for so long as I have to buy it from Saro I will likely not buy it. I find Ball to be more Swiss and their address on Google Maps looks to be a dead drop from a Tom Clancy novel.

But when it comes to knowledge and, more importantly, sharing that knowledge, Elsener is a treasure many forums would love to poach from BDWF. and I liked not only your review but the product you were reviewing.

I can't wait for you to get past this "38mm is small" stage. But you're young and allowances are to be made.
When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.

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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby artman » August 3rd 2016, 4:45pm

Thanks for the badass review of your cool new watch. That dial is gorgeous and 38mm is never too small.
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby Mortuus » August 3rd 2016, 5:15pm

Hawk wrote:Speaking only for myself I found his reasoning on the Claro to be compelling. I tend not to base my purchase decisions on whether something may or may not be controversial lest I cut myself off from Bremont in its entirety.

Nonetheless I find the reliance on Saro in New York to be troublesome though I would never admit as much on BDWF.

Bottom line is that anyone buying Grand Seiko isn't going to be troubled by a 38mm watch case and I do find the 3L to be rather nice though perhaps out of reach due to limited distribution.

I respect the guy a whole bunch but for so long as I have to buy it from Saro I will likely not buy it. I find Ball to be more Swiss and their address on Google Maps looks to be a dead drop from a Tom Clancy novel.

But when it comes to knowledge and, more importantly, sharing that knowledge, Elsener is a treasure many forums would love to poach from BDWF. and I liked not only your review but the product you were reviewing.

I can't wait for you to get past this "38mm is small" stage. But you're young and allowances are to be made.

Many thanks for the excellent/fun feedback read, Hawkster. As a collector of numerous vintage watches, 38mm is definitely one of the bigger sizes IMHO, but I guess I'm still thinking that the average Joe Six-Pack (Yeah, I gotta watch and uh brudduh!) views it as small. However, in all candor, your assertion rings true to me, and I will continue to work on it. ;) Oh, and thanks for referring to me as "young." Now, if I could just get that obese and edentulous old turd, Conjurer, to stop calling me old...

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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby Mortuus » August 3rd 2016, 5:17pm

artman wrote:Thanks for the badass review of your cool new watch. That dial is gorgeous and 38mm is never too small.

Thanks, Arty; you rock, you does... 8-)

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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby TemerityB » August 3rd 2016, 5:38pm

Great review, as always, mort.

As for the watch, I like the styling the more I viewed it. However, as s-s-somene wh-wh-who owns a watch with a Cl-cl-cl-Claro 888 auto, I don't know if I'd par-par-par-par-partake.
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby foghorn » August 3rd 2016, 5:53pm

Very J.Peterman-like




“On a sunny day I was rummaging around the house and looking for a piece of cloth I knew I had put away on the attic. I wanted it to show it to [an associate] because of its colour. I had a very special dial in mind.

“The cloth I did not find but I stumbled over a glass bottle full of sand. When I turned the bottle the label read Long Beach and the colour was exactly like the one of the cloth I had been searching for.

“And to this day we do not know whether the sand in the bottle hails from the beaches of Long Beach NY or Long Beach California.”
GET OFF MY LAWN
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby koimaster » March 25th 2017, 1:38pm

Ttt
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1946-2006

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With the lilt of Irish laughter

Every day and in every way

Now forever and ever after."
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby four of diamonds » March 25th 2017, 7:29pm

Mort:

Not sure how I missed your review last year. I bought an EL Tuscany from James in 2008. It has a beautiful hand crafted guilloched dial and of course the Claro movement. Like yours, mine runs within a few seconds after a week of wearing, has a 38mm case, and has excellent fit and finish. Your Long Beach is very nice as well.
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Re: REVIEW: Edouard Lauzières "Long Beach" Swiss Automatic W

Postby Mortuus » March 26th 2017, 5:00am

four of diamonds wrote:Mort:

Not sure how I missed your review last year. I bought an EL Tuscany from James in 2008. It has a beautiful hand crafted guilloched dial and of course the Claro movement. Like yours, mine runs within a few seconds after a week of wearing, has a 38mm case, and has excellent fit and finish. Your Long Beach is very nice as well.

Many, many thanks for your very kind feedback, 4oD; it is greatly appreciated, sir! 8-)

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