Introducing: The New Jacques Bianchi JB200 Poulpro Dive Watch
Tracing its roots back to the 1980s, the Jacques Bianchi JB200 went from cult classic to mainstream success. This took place in 2021 when the watch was reissued after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised €791,406. The 1,116 backers who supported the project helped achieve 527% of the funding goal. Two years later, the brand now introduces the sequel to the JB200’s reissue. Instead of the signature “frogman” image on the dial, the new Jacques Bianchi JB200 Poulpro features the Mediterranean’s most intelligent eight-legged cephalopod, the octopus.
But aside from the dial’s shift from mammal to mollusk, there’s more to the new JB200. It does away with the Seiko NH35 movement used by the reissue model and opts for a Swiss alternative. On top of that, the new Poulpro model introduces a new “Mediterranean blue” colorway. The pièce de résistance, however, is an impressive stylized depiction of an octopus in the center of the dial. It holds on to the central pinion and reaches out toward the hour markers. I got my hands on a pre-production prototype of this very version to put it through its paces and give it a proper introduction.
The Jacques Bianchi JB200 Poulpro
It was RJ that covered the original reissue of the JB200 in 2021. You can find his article here. I won’t go into too much detail about the history of the JB200 today. It debuted in 1982 as a quartz dive watch, which was later ordered by the French Navy and issued to its combat divers. So the pedigree is certainly there. The watch also had a ton of character thanks to its destro Monnin-style case and the outline of a diver on the dial. The new JB200 Poulpro maintains most of these characteristic features. Aesthetically and dimensionally speaking, it’s faithful to the 2021 reissue (other than the octopus swapping places with the diver on the dial). The case maintains its 42 × 13.3mm size with a wearable lug-to-lug of 46.6mm. The bezel’s 39.8mm diameter makes it appear slightly smaller than the on-paper dimensions might have you expect.
The watch’s matte dial is a deep blue, similar to that of the Tudor Pelagos FXD, though slightly less purple. Both the hour markers and bezel markings have a subtle off-white aged-lume look. This is due to the Super-LumiNova used in all of these elements, giving them an impressive glow. The blue of the bezel is slightly different due to its metallic tone. It plays with the light, going from a darker blue to a nice light shade. The final blue element is the 20mm Tropic-style strap (which is black on the black edition). Inside the watch, operated by the large, unsigned screw-down crown, is a Soprod P024 movement. The new Swiss heart provides 42 hours of power reserve and improves the watch’s timekeeping. A welcome upgrade, indeed! A nicely balanced date window at 6 o’clock sits below the brand’s name. The text on the case back indicates its 200m water resistance rating.
On the wrist, the watch feels like the purposeful tool it sets out to be. The bezel is grippy, and its 60 clicks are precise and solid. It’s hard to think of another Swiss-movement-equipped diver with a similar heritage and specs in the sub-€1,000 price point. Even the Doxa Sub 200 sits above that price point these days, so the only option (off the top of my head) that measures up is the Squale 1521 Classic. Aesthetically, however, the Jacques Bianchi has a unique charm that’s hard to match in any price segment.
The new Jacques Bianchi JB200 Poulpro will be available for a limited pre-order. From the 7th of September for only 15 days, you’ll be able to place an order on the Jacques Bianchi website with a special pre-order price of €646 (excluding VAT). Note that the Mediterranean blue version reviewed here will only be available during a one-week preorder window. For more information, check out the brand’s website.
Finally, we wanted to acknowledge the recent statements on the legal dispute concerning the brand put forth by Montres Jacques Bianchi’s CEO Simo Tber and co-owners Fabrice Pougez and Jacques Bianchi. We are focusing on the watch, providing an impartial product review. For now, we will continue to reserve our comment on the situation due to the lack of concrete information.