The Michael Kors Jetmaster mystery

This watch was plastered over the trams in Basel during Baselworld 2015, but Michael Kors wasn’t exhibiting there, and since then there hasn’t been much information at all about the watch, either online or from the Michael Kors PR offices. As far as I can ascertain, the Jetmaster (MK9011) is Michael Kors’ first automatic watch, 45 mm in diameter, in stainless steel, with 50 metres water resistance, sapphire caseback, power reserve 40 hours, and a unidirectional rotating bezel.

It seems to be a watch made by Fossil, who have manufacturing facilities in China and in Switzerland. Given the price, the lack of the “Swiss made” logo that is usually displayed wherever possible for its added value, and the curious swirls engraved on the bridges visible through the sapphire caseback (photo further down), I would guess that the watch is made in China.

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Michael Kors invents a new watch category – the non-chronograph

The dial is something of a mystery, because the watch is described in the press information as an “automatic chronograph” or as a “24-hour chronograph” but the subdials have calendar information on the top three (month at 12 o’clock, day of the week at 9 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock), with a 24-hour indication on the subdial at 6 o’clock. The press release doesn’t provide much information but says that there are “four chronograph subdials.” I had imagined that the red central-sweep seconds hand was for chronograph seconds, read off the quarter-seconds scale just inside the bezel, with 60 chronograph minutes on the top subdial, and 24 chronograph hours on the bottom subdial, and the subdials returning to their calendar function when the reset button is pressed. It would have been a nice idea. In actual fact, the “chronograph” pushers are just used to adjust two subdials, the top pusher for the months, the bottom pusher for the date, the recessed pusher on the left-hand side of the case for the day of the week. The bottom subdial shows the same time as the main hour hand, except on a 24-hour scale.

I tried it on, it sits nicely on the wrist and isn’t excessively heavy. The dial is complex, deconstructed so that parts of the movement are revealed below the subdials, so it’s quite hard to read the indications. The bracelet is comfortable and easy to use with the deployant buckle. But in my opinion it’s a watch that the world didn’t really need, with subdials so tiny as to be illegible, and a 24-hour dial that serves no function at all.

Above all, it’s the hype that seems to me unnecessary. Perhaps phrases like “the high-powered Jetmaster Automatic watch has it all: from a three-hand movement and chronograph sub dials” and “Take this travel essential on the next great escape—it will complete a sophisticated look no matter what the time zone”  may work in the fashion business, but they are misleading. No chronograph, no second time zone.

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Low price

The watch has a low price (£379, €429), showing the increase in interest in mechanical watches on the part of fashion brands (click here to read more about watches by fashion brands). The inadequate documentation is out of character for a brand that, though not up to the stratospheric level of Burberry when it comes to digital media, is nonetheless efficient in terms of communications.

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