Here we have an absolute beauty from Jaeger-LeCoultre that we found stowed away in a case at SIHH 2014. It’s not very often that you see both a flying tourbillon and a perpetual calendar in one watch, let alone one powered by an automatic movement. Amazingly, the complex nature of this horological piece from Jaeger-LeCoultre is matched by an equally complex name . Feast your eyes on the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique a Quantieme Perpetuel offered in 18k pink gold for 2014 – it was originally released as a limited edition in platinum for 2013. Now listen, I don’t want to type that name again and you’re probably at work and not on your lunch break so let’s all respect what this is and just call it the Cylindrique Perpetuel.
The Cylindrique Perpetuel is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s complicated watchmaking at its finest. Based on a 42 by 13.1 mm platform in 18k pink gold with a silver toned dial, display case back, and a gorgeous layout that balances a flying tourbillon as well as a perpetual calendar display spread across three sub dials. The case is finished with its lugs and bezel polished and its flanks in satin.
A beautiful as the Cylindrique Perpetuel certainly is, JLC went all out when it came to the movement cased within. Using the automatic calibre 985, the Cylindrique Perpetuel is comprised of 431 parts which support the 48 hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vph. The movement is hand built and entirely finished by hand with an oscillating gold weight that bears the design from the medallion that Jaeger-LeCoultre won at the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition. With hours, minutes, seconds (via the tourbillon), as well as day, date, month, year and moon phase (within the date sub dial at three), complexity is the name of the game, even before we get to the tourbillon details.
With a titanium carriage, 14-carat balance and a cylindrical balance spring, this flying tourbillon looks as though it’s floating in place at the six position on the dial. With the combination of the tourbillon and their perpetual calendar technology, Jaeger-LeCoultre claims that the Cylindrique Perpetuel is the world’s most accurate perpetual calendar.
You rarely find chronograph watches with that durability. Now I know why “Diver” is a portion of the title of this watch. The high level of water resistance is aided by the special crown and pusher lock program unique to Jaeger-LeCoultre. If you aren’t familiar with the system, here is how it works; you twist the lock around the crown or pusher to lock the piece or let it operate. This is compared to a screw-in system, even though they functionally work is the same manner. This system is more convenient and you’ll end up enjoying it. The crown and pushers themselves are rubber coated.Lovers of all Jaeger-LeCoultre’s various Master Compressor watches in the last few years will feel right at home. Although I dare to suggest that the dial is a little more aggressive and legible within this model. The hands and hour markers are daring and offer with a high amount of contrast compared to dial. There’s thick and bright lume all over the dial. This is a small trade-off design choice actually. Not luming it allows it to be observable, but not distracting when appearing at that moment. I have to say that overall I prefer this style of second time zone hand integration as opposed to one which visually competes with the main hand. What JLC did was brush the surface of the hands to provide quite good visibility when you are looking for itthough it does not get in the way if you wish to just look at the moment. Going back into the lume for a moment, you’ll find that JLC uses different colors of lume for the hour and minute hand to enhance visibility is cloudy problems.
The Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique a Quantieme Perpetuel (copy and paste) will come fitted to a brown alligator leather strap with a matched pink gold buckle. Primarily the sort of flagship piece made for collectors and enthusiasts, the Cylindrique Perpetuel is priced accordingly at about $160,000. Regardless of its complexity or technological prowess, the aesthetic is distinctly that of traditional haute-horology and Jaeger-LeCoultre has a long standing presence in that space and the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique a Quantieme Perpetuel is further evidence of how they earned their place among watchmaking’s finest. jaeger-lecoultre.com