David Cornwell, better known as John le Carré, wrote wonderful novels that brought spies in from the cold of literary mediocrity. He died on 12 December 2020 at the age of 89 just as I was preparing to announce this torch, so I decided to dedicate it to him.
The Spy that went out into the dark
This is the story of a torch named Spy. Like every good spy it looks rather ordinary, but when you examine it more closely you'll discover there's a lot more going on – starting with that donut-shaped ring around the reflector. If you grill a torchaholic (I mean interrogate, not barbecue) he'll tell you it's a chip-on-board array (COB) which delivers an even pool of light for close-up work, while the main beam throws light onto more distant subjects. Just what a spy needs.
But... what's this? The head of the Spy swivels so it can point forward, sideways, or anywhere in between! And there's a magnet hidden in the tailcap so you can clamp the torch to a metal surface, giving you a hands-free light that you can aim in any direction while you defuse a bomb, fix your car or braai those tjops.
Click the button repeatedly and the light cycles through beam, flood, red flood and red flashing... so you could clamp the Spy to the roof of your car and pretend to be an ambulance – just what you need to slice through rush-hour traffic in Istanbul or avoid being demolished by a combi-taxi if your car breaks down in Isipingo.
The tailcap is flat so you can stand the torch on its bum and bounce the beam off a ceiling (still the best way to light up a room) and it has a detachable steel pocket-clip to serve as a lock-pick and prevent the torch from rolling off a table. And the coup de grâce is that the Spy can be powered by three bog-standard AAA batteries that you can buy from any corner shop in Karachi or Kokstad – as well as an industry standard 18650 or 21700 rechargeable lithium-ion cell.
Of course, like all spy gadgets, this one is horribly overpriced at... wait a sec, Control, what's this? Surely you've left a zero off this number?? How on earth can we sell it for R396? Next you'll be telling me that batteries are included and if you buy five of them courier delivery will be free!!? At this price all the civilians will be dishing them out to their kids, grannies and golf buddies, and parking them in every nook and cranny for when the power goes off. Again.
No spy was hurt in the making of this story. My Spy (with the little eye) does, however, really exist, just as described, and really does sell for R396 complete with a set of AAA batteries after a 10% discount when you pay by EFT into our account, improbable as this may seem.
I can't pretend the Spy has the Swiss-watch finish, performance and sophistication of my other torches, but it doesn't feel cheap and it makes a sensational gift or corporate handout that will be treasured by just about anybody – just check out the first reviews from my customers!
I've been told that most of my torches are too bright or complicated to give to a child or a geriatric (like me!) but, while the Spy has plenty of power for regular use, it won't fry any retinas and it's super-simple to operate.
Try to keep up, Bond!
And if you'd like an even better gift for yourself or someone special, here it is – the JLC Spy Li-Ionheart Edition!!
Yes, I'm now offering the Spy with a Trustfire rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery and two-channel USB Li-Ion charger for only R594 excluding delivery (free if you order three of these bundles!!) after discount. The batteries and chargers may not be quite up to the standard of my benchmark Keeppower and Liitokala accessories but they will certainly do the job and they are a gift at the price.
Even if you're a torch snob (like me) the Spy is a great place to park an old Li-Ion in its retirement so it can give you a few more years of service (old Li-ions don't die suddenly, they just don't run as long... also like me!) And the Spy is the best way to carry a spare 18650 or 21700 Li-Ion when you're travelling – most airlines won't allow you to carry these batteries unless they're inside a device – and you can easily buy a set of AAA batteries at the other end.
If you'd like to know more about the legacy of John le Carré, have a look at this brilliant article by The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland. And if you'd like to take advantage of my special discounts just drop me a line!