This is ‘Time Spent With,’ a monthly series where our Editor-in-Chief, Scarlett Baker, trials the broad scope of the watch world, spending time with a different watch each month, from the unique perspective of a self-confessed watch rookie. This week, discover the story behind Reservoir’s Hydrosphere the Greg Lecoeur Edition.
While we might be scared of the unknown, often we find intrigue in that which we don’t know. Much was the case with this month’s timely escapade, trialling out an unfamiliar model: Reservoir. My sheltered knowledge before entering the watch industry, predominantly made up of the watches my parents owned, meant that trialling a Reservoir watch was a curious step. So a dive into the unknown naturally had to be met with a diving watch.
For newcomer watch brands that join the horological rat race, up against brands that have been in existence for decades, a unique sales point isn’t enough anymore to stay alive. The onus on authenticity today means that if you’re joining the noise, you need a greater anthropological purpose that serves the preservation and restoration of the planet. What drew me to Reservoir was its contemplation of the past, and finding a place for that story in the future.
Considered an infant in age, but by no means its mindset, Reservoir was founded in Paris in 2015 by a former banker, Francois Moreau, who set out with the intention of creating something offbeat. Taking inspiration from vintage measuring instruments, Reservoir reflects on what has been, not with nostalgic eyes of yearning, but with the eagerness of modernization. Offering a radical time display, the Reservoir watch prioritizes the jumping hour complication, which I first game across viewing the Godfather of watchmaking, Gerald Genta’s Disney models. It does just as it says on the tin, jumping from 0-59 minutes before flicking back to the beginning with the advent of a new hour.
A Reservoir watch is crafted not just deploying horological dexterity, but with a historical purpose binding together the tales of days gone by with what lies ahead. Reconfiguring cult objects from automobile races, military aviation or the world of submarines, objects that have notionally retreated into the recesses of our minds given the influx of modern technology. It thrives in revalorizing retrograde techniques such as power reserves that read like traditional fuel gauges – apt given the translation of Reservoir in French delineates to fuel tank. Much the same, the company’s attention to often overlooked detail manifests through the brand logo, a shape often imprinted onto jerry cans in the Jeeps during the Second World War.
Enticed by the history, what did catch me off guard was the boldness in aesthetic. Inspired by the pressure gauges of the first divers, dubbed the ‘Hydrosphere’ meaning a combined mass of water, the imminent sense of submersion you feel is the weight of the watch on your wrist, that contributes to the immensity of its intent. Fastened with a blue NATO strap, the bronze watch case sits at 5mm, with a satin finish. Complete with a blue dial white index, and magnifier on the jumping-hour window, the Hydrosphere model offers up to 37 hours power reserve before you need to start self-winding again, enough time to meet a sure amount of the aquatic animal kingdom.
The story behind the collaboration of this watch greatly contributed to my enjoyment wearing it. At the age of 32, businessman Gref Lecoeur sold his company and with a diving instructor’s certification in hand, he spent a year around the world with his camera, dedicating his to the marine world, deeply committed to the preservation of the oceans. Using his photography to provide further knowledge on underwater biodiversity and the environmental heritage of the planet, the Hydrosphere offers a unidirectional, ceramic rotating bezel for reading the time at different depths.
As a Hydrosphere wearer, you’re ushered into Lecoeur’s vision. To buy it, you’re not just owning a timepiece, but broadening your horizons as an adventurer. Limited to a line of 50 models, the watch promised a half-day dive with Greg Lecoeur in the Port-Cros national park in France, an insight into Lecoeur’s photography, and most importantly, a gent for the replanting of coral through coral gardeners.
The driving force behind my time spent with the Reservoir Hydrosphere was the wider sensory experience at play, encouraging me to consider the greater meaning behind why this watch was made, other than any aesthetic purpose. Admittedly, it’s not so much a day-to-day model, given my weak wrists attempting to accommodate the weight of it, but nonetheless, it’s a watch that deserves to see the light of day and the water in the ocean. It’s a watch that was conceived to make change and make people realise that time to save the planet really is running out.