A few weeks ago at SIHH 2014 we were given a special preview of this new skeletonized perpetual calendar from Jaeger-LeCoultre – and today we’re finally allowed to share it with you. The Master Grande Tradition à Quantième Perpétuel 8 Jours SQ is inspired by a JLC pocket replica watch from 1928 and places an ornately skeletonized and decorated 8-day perpetual calendar movement in an elegant white gold case accented by blue champlevé enamel rings. This really shows off both the technical prowess and high-end finishing abilities of Jaeger-LeCoultre in a way that doesn’t pull any punches.
The inspiration for this replica watch is the 1928 perpetual calendar pocket replica watch above, with its open dial, solid subregisters, and enamel accents on the gold case. The 8 Jours SQ is definitely modern though, updating the look and pushing the technical elements even further.
Starting with the basics, the 8 Jours SQ is an elaborated rendition of the Master Eight Days Perpetual released in 2004 with the caliber 876. This movement has 260 components (37 of which are jewels) and at only 6.6mm thick manages to display the time, day, date, month, year, moonphase, day/night, and the power reserve. That the two-barrel reserve is eight days, achieved with only fifty twists of the crown, just makes things even more impressive. The white gold case is simple, with a mix of polished and brushed finishes, and the 42mm x 11.5mm size makes it very versatile.
With the 8 Jours SQ, the movement has been opened up in a way that makes it look like a tilted globe from behind, with each remaining piece of metal ornately finished and decorated through hand-engraving. Getting the metal that thin while maintaining stability is very difficult, but you know with Jaeger-LeCoultre they’ve taken this into account. At the edges of the movement are blue grand feu champlevé enamel rings (one each on front and back), nicely framing the open caliber 876. It takes two days to create each pair of rings, because if they are fired or cooled too quickly the enamel can crack over the guilloché and the ring must be started again.
Floating over the caliber on the dial-side are all of the indicators. These are grained silvered dials that add some softness to the overall look of the replica watch. It’s much easier to read than you might think, though the asymmetrical day/night and power reserve indicators at 12 o’clock do get lost a little. The only indicator that is flat-out difficult to read is the year display, which uses a transparent digital display just to the left of the month ring. It shows the last two numbers in the year, standing in for a more traditional leap-year counter.
In case you need to make any corrections to the perpetual calendar – should you not wear it for more than a week and forget to wind it – there is a pusher in the caseband at 8 o’clock that advances all calendar displays one day. They advance together, meaning you don’t have to worry about mixing things up and causing major problems. Finally there is that security indicator that Jaeger-LeCoultre has used on replica watches like the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar, letting you know when it’s not safe to reset the calendar.
All in all, the 8 Jours SQ is a stunning replica watch that displays two very different sides of Jaeger-LeCoultre in one package. First you’re getting a technically impressive movement that packs a lot of complication into a relatively small and wearable case, and second you get top-notch finishing that shows off the technology.
The Master Grande Tradition à Quantième Perpétuel 8 Jours SQ is a limited edition of only 200 pieces, all in white gold. Price is available upon request. For more, visit Jaeger-LeCoultre online.