LeJour Rallye
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LeJour Rallye

Chronographs and racing go hand-in-hand. There are myriad examples of well-known race car drivers favoring a particular model, intriguing collectors to this day. Formula 1 legends Derek Bell, Jochen Rindt, and Jo Siffert were Heuer guys, Jim Clark was often seen sporting a Gallet (although he was also frequently seen wearing Breitling and Enicar), and Paul Newman... well, you know the deal.

The good news is you don't need to spend a ton to get a super cool chronograph with a legit motorsports connection. It should come as no surprise that it comes to us from LeJour, one of our favorite lesser known brand names.

In the 1960's and 1970's, LeJour operated primarily as the U.S. brand and distributor for another of our favorite under-the-radar brands- Yema. Based in France, Yema is perhaps best known for its line of regatta timers, the Yachtingraf, but produced a whole line of colorful, creative, and well built chronographs that deserve serious consideration.

Known as the Rallygraf, or simply the Rallye, there's no hiding what this watch is all about. The distinctive dial is unabashedly racing-inspired, from the dashboard-like registers to the offset racing stripes- some variants even had checkered flags in the center! Beyond the dial, the Rallye is a proper sport watch through and through with its 39mm steel case, fixed outer tachymeter bezel, and a workhorse Valjoux 7730 hand-wound chronograph movement.

It seems that all of this was enough to catch the attention of a young Mario Andretti, who can be seen in several photos sporting a Yema/LeJour Rallye on his wrist in place of his usual Heuer Autavia. In fact, the gents over at Fratello Watches recently got in touch with Andretti and found that his was, in fact, a private labelled variant that he had bought himself and still owns to this day! More on that HERE.

This particular LeJour-branded variant has only gotten cooler with age. In particular, the outer bezel has faded to a pleasing blue-gray color, and the lume has fallen out of the hands, giving them a skeletonized look.

If you're a watch guy with a thing for cars, a car guy with a thing for watches, or just looking for a chronograph with a ton of character and a cool story, this LeJour Rallye is hard to beat!

Photo of Mario Andretti taken from the Internet. Thanks Internet!

Details

Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm in diameter (excluding the crown). Valjoux 7730 hand wound chronograph mvoement. Circa 1969.

Overall condition: Case is in excellent condition over all, with light, even wear from age and use and no signs of over-polishing. Dial is in excellent condition, with crisp printing. Hands have lost their luminous paint but are otherwise in great condition. Fixed outer tachymeter bezel shows scratches and wear and has faded to a blue-gray color. Screw down caseback and unsigned crown.

Includes a 20mm rubber rally-style strap and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.

SKU: TT01043

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