At Jaeger-LeCoultre, what is of paramount importance is achieving a perfect balance between precision techniques and the intricate craftsmanship required to perform them. This is reflected in many instances, such as the inventions of the Millionomètre to the Gyrotourbillon, and this balance is expressed in the diversity of the Manufacture’s Rare Handcrafts (“Métiers Rares”) and the many-faceted expertise of its master watchmakers, united in a common pursuit: to match technical sophistication with aesthetic finesse.
At the outset, the accuracy of the movement and technical precision are everything; pushing the bounds of precision is but natural, and every single step going into a watch is carried out under one roof, with almost 180 specialist skills and trades assembled in the Manufacture, along with nearly 1,250 calibers, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, and around 400 patents. Precision is also reflected in the many world firsts at the Manufacture, from the first grande complication pocket watch in 1895 to the Grand Prix de Chronometrie in 2009.
Always combined with precision is art; indeed, precision is an art form in itself at the Manufacture. Age-old skills like guilloché, engraving, gem-setting, and enamelling are still at the heart of the expertise preserved in the Maison and its Rare Handcrafts. It is in keeping with these rich traditions that Jaeger-LeCoultre has introduced two exceptional new models.
MASTER GRANDE TRADITION RÉPÉTITION MINUTES PERPÉTUELLE
This watch’s innovative gong system was designed to reproduce the idealised chime made by antique chiming pocket watches. Housed in a compact white gold case, this timepiece has two dial variations available — one a neoclassical silver-grained dial and the other a deep blue translucent guilloché enamel dial. The gong configuration is unique — instead of lying flat in overlapping coils, two gongs, welded together at their base, travel in the same direction around the periphery of the movement, making one near-complete tour before arching upwards, traversing the entire height of the movement. They then diverge and take a terminal semi-arc around the other side of the movement, stopping just before their ends meet. The winding rotor of the calibre 950 is hidden within the movement, positioned between the perpetual calendar and minute repeater mechanisms, in order to have a full view of the mechanism at the back of the watch. A security zone appears in a dial aperture near the axis of the hour and minute hands. This indication appears between the hours of 10 pm and 1 am, when adjusting the time or calendar is not advised due to the possibility of stressing or even damaging the movement. The watch is highly compact, with a diameter of 43 mm and a height of 13.72 mm. A new case, comprising more than 80 separate hand-finished parts, was created. The power reserve is 38 hours, and the watch is limited to 30 pieces
MASTER GRANDE TRADITION GYROTOURBILLON WESTMINSTER PERPÉTUEL
The watch features a tourbillon that is smaller than those in the preceding Gyrotourbillon timepieces. The Westminster chime is familiar to everyone as the famous melody of the Big Ben clock at the Palace of Westminster in London. The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel uses four sets of gongs and hammers to create the Westminster chime to indicate the quarters when the minute repeater is activated. Precision lies at the heart of the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, with a one-minute constant-force mechanism that provides a consistent level of power for the energy-hungry tourbillon without affecting its chronometric ability. The date in the perpetual calendar can be adjusted forwards or backwards. The pointer-style date indication further reinforces the precision aspect of the timepiece, as it jumps over the tourbillon aperture in order to provide the best possible view of the stunning rotating escapement. A retractable minute repeater pusher, first seen in the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon, preserves the smooth lines of the case. Hand guilloché, fine hammering (martelage) and grand feu enamel are seen in a subtle and contemporary way, culminating in the open-worked dial, produced either in a striking deep-blue grand feu enamel or in a more classic silver-grained version. This 43mm watch has a power reserve of 52 hours and is limited to 18 pieces.