About the dial-side, the key parts of the striking mechanism — that the repeater spring barrel (the minute repeater function doesn’t feed off of the mainspring barrels), the governor, the hammers, and the gongs, amongst others — may be seen quite clearly. As you would expect, the finishing in front is every bit as good, with grained surfaces, and polished bevels and screw heads.To seal, or to seal? That’s the question. Water resistance at an instant repeater is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it protects ones expensively developed minute repeater out of water damage. On the flip side, the watch has to be sealed, and this hinders the escape of noise. But being the master innovator that it’s, Jaeger-LeCoultre came up with an ingenious method to overcome this dilemma: the crystal gong (Note: not to be confused for the crystal gong from the Chopard LUC Total Strike Minute Repeater at which the actual gongs are produced from sapphire crystal).
The two-tone color scheme of this watch front, with the skeletonised 18K rose gold hands and dart indices against the ruthenium-coated openworked dial, is well-executed — it is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functions to boost legibility.Inside this larger-than-life chiming watch sits its engine, the manually wound, in-house fabricated Calibre 947. The 413-part, 43-jewelled Calibre 947 features twin mainspring barrels along with a free sprung balance that defeats at a conventional 21,600 semi-oscillations a hour. There is not much of this Calibre 947 to see in the trunk as the movement is quite ‘front-loaded’. Nonetheless, this is not to say the back isn’t deserving of admiration as it’s superbly finished and decorated.With Jaeger-LeCoultre, there are a number of levels of movement finishing; this enables the producer to reach out to clients who want more features in their timepiece without needing to cover the premium of haute horlogerie finishing. This is compared to makers such as Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Sohne in which there is but 1 standard of completing. No compromises were produced in the Master Grande Tradition Minute Repeater nevertheless, as the highest level of completing provided by Jaeger-LeCoultre can be located on the Calibre 947. The big three-quarter plate and bridges in the case back are ruthenium-coated maillechort. Instead of the common Côtes de Genève, the bridges and plate are decorated with Côtes de Soleil emanating from the balance wheel. The borders of each plate and bridge are expertly bevelled and polished while the heat-blued screws add a dash of colour to an otherwise grey expanse.
All these attributes are supported by Jaeger’s calibre 945, a 527-part behemoth of a motion that is actually thicker than my Seamaster (12.62 mm thick, motion alone). Assembled by hand and left in german silver, the 945 is then treated to some of the finest finishing at the business.Obviously, to get a watch with this level of craftsmanship, technologies, and ornamentation, the price is going to be a supremely limiting factor. Watches such as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication would be the treasures that JLC creates for its many loyal, crazed and well-heeled collectors. If you fit that profile and have the spare finances, then everything you get in return is nothing short of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s definition of intimate haute-horololgy. We will update with cost information as it becomes accessible from Jaeger-LeCoultre. Building a minute repeater is tricky business, one that very few watchmakers could handle. The second repeater is a complication which chimes the time on demand — normally the hours, quarter hours and minutes — by activating a slide or a pusher.
2014 has brought a lot of impressive new Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, and this new version of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique a Quantieme Perpetuel ref. 5042420 is one of them. Having said that, because it is not technically a brand new watch, but rather, a slightly new version of a timepiece that is still just a few years old, Jaeger-LeCoultre released it in an almost under-the-radar manner. Nevertheless, despite the comically long and rather non-distinctive name, this is one of the top new Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces this year.
aBlogtoWatch first covered the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique a Quantieme Perpetuel when it was released during the SIHH 2014 watch show in January. The pictures alone showing Jaeger’s updated treatment of the dial was enough for us to swoon over it. Now, we take a hands-on look at what is an amazingly complicated, yet beautiful and comfortable to wear “Grande” timepiece.
One of the reasons that you will not hear as much about the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique a Quantieme Perpetuel as the piece might deserve is because 2014 also saw the release of the amazing (and still not yet quite finished) Hybris Mechanica 11 watch that has enough world’s firsts and merits to make you want to mortgage your home for the $400,000 plus watch. The timepieces are each completely distinct, but what connects them is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s sense of mechanical aptitude and design refinement. Each is a wildly complicated mechanism almost suitable for daily wear.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique a Quantieme Perpetuel is comprised of the in-house Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 985 automatic movement which is as modern as it is technically esteemed. First of all, for a highly complication tourbillon perpetual calendar movement it operates at a modern 4Hz (most tourbillons run at 3Hz) and is also an automatic. The tourbillon is also special because if you read the name of the watch carefully you’ll realize that it has a special hairspring. Rather than being a flat spiral, it is a cylinder. I believe that this is a feature that Jaeger-LeCoultre debuted with the Gyrotourbillon II. The later Gryotourbillon III (also not quite ready for action yet) continues to offer more novelty by having a spherical versus cylindrical balance wheel.
I find it rather tough to find a modern watch with a small diameter and a rounded shape, that can’t be immediately classified as boring or even as your typical grandfathers’ watch. Only few manufacturers master the art of producing a relatively small and classic dress watch. Patek Philippe is among these, Vacheron Constantin another and using a bit of imagination, Audemars Piguet has a few of these in their collection as well. You will find different watches in their collections which I would prefer. This Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Perpetual combines being a nice and ‘ultra’ slim design with a complication I truly admire, a perpetual calendar.Even although I have quite big wrists, the 39mm Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Perpetual suits me nicely. My colleague Gerard possesses the prior version, in 37mm. Hence the moon phases are at 6 o’clock, the year and month indicators at 12 o’clock. The movement in that opinion was caliber 889. Gerard told me that he purchased that opinion as it came out with a black dial, since they were mostly delivered using a silver dial. It is possible to find that specific 37mm version for approximately 9000 Euro on the pre-owned marketplace now. To me, that’s a no brainer if you’d like a perpetual calendar under 10.000 Euro, and have to choose between a new Frederique Constant or Montblanc with perpetual calendar or this Jaeger-LeCoultre. Not for me. So the size of 39mm (and only 9.2mm thick) is perfect for me, though I’ve large wrists.
On the dial-side, the key areas of the striking mechanism — the repeater spring barrel (the minute repeater function doesn’t feed from the mainspring barrels), the governor, the hammers, and the gongs, amongst others — can be seen quite clearly. As one would expect, the finishing at front is equally great, with grained surfaces, and polished bevels and twist heads.To seal, or to seal? That’s the question. Water resistance at an instant repeater is a double-edged sword. On the flip side, it shields ones expensively developed minute repeater out of water damage. However, being the master innovator that it’s, Jaeger-LeCoultre came up with an innovative method to overcome this issue: the crystal gong (Note: not to be confused for the crystal gong in the Chopard LUC Total Strike Minute Repeater at which the real gongs are produced from sapphire crystal).
When we envisage the attractiveness of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches, we need say very little. We are simply captivated by the pure wonder of these bespoke pieces whilst they do all the talking for themselves. From specially building and adjusting the intricate movements of calibre making, to optimizing every watch case through the polishing process — each exclusive phase of watchmaking practice is embraced and completed with substantial care at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s headquarters. The newest comprises a number of the rarest craft careers inside their watch labs to undertake the conversion of little pieces of metal into mechanical wonders, making stunning results which are now internationally recognized for their private appearance.The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 consists of a total of 569 human pieces to make up this recently developed integrated motion and the chronograph is undeniably at the forefront of the design. Comprised of an unprecedented jumping minute counter, this exceptional attribute matches the special appeal of its encompassing dial along with trapezium-shaped skeletonised hands on. The hour totaliser sits underneath the 12 o’cjaeger 2lock peak whilst the date window places itself in the three o-clock place, exposing the workings of the date barrel underneath. The chronograph complication makes use of a striking vertical clutch and column wheel. Elapsed minutes are recorded via a digital counter resembling that of an oversized date display. The magnificent open dial displays a window through to the home of a very intricate and complex watch motion. A push and slide lever to the wall of this case at 9 o’clock allows the wearer to hault the moments hand when wanting to stop the watch in its tracks.
Why shape a balance wheel like a cylinder, versus making it flat? It is about accuracy, as I believe these more space-consuming balance wheels are more accurate–at least, that is their historical use. Inside the watch, seeing the cylindrical balance wheel beat inside the deep tourbillon cavity is impressive and beautiful. Every lover of mechanical watches should experience seeing something like this at least once.
That the caliber 985 is an automatic is even more impressive. I love high-complication automatic watches and having the convenience of self-winding is in my opinion always worth having a rotor that partially blocks the movement. For this watch, the solid gold rotor happens to be an aesthetic item unto itself. Engraved into the 22k pink gold rotor is a motif of the medal Jaeger-LeCoultre received at the 1889 Exposition Universelle. This was the world’s fair and that year it was held in Paris. It is one of a few world’s fair events that Jaeger-LeCoultre as a brand receiving some distinction.