present - Cellini
Since 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has cultivated a reputation for making elegant
watches that keep time ﬂawlessly. But this year, the grande maison outdid itself.
BY VICTORIA GOMELSKY
n the 180 years that have passed since Andrew
“extra-white” platinum case — are equally indebted to
Jackson was sworn in as U.S. president and Charles
the style codes, not to mention technical achievements,
Darwin sailed around South America aboard the
of the 19th century. For starters, the model’s 22-karat
HMS Beagle, few things have remained as relevant
gold oscillating weight features a reproduction of the
gold medal Jaeger-LeCoulThat the firm — founded
tre earned at the 1889 Paris
by Antoine LeCoultre and
Universal Exposition, in
his son, Elie, in Switzerland’s
honor of “its horological
Vallée de Joux in 1833 —
expertise and spirit of inhas thrived throughout six
vention.” Then there is the
generations of watchmakmodel’s cylindrical balance
ing is a testament to the
spring, a tribute to marine
precision, accuracy and enchronometers of the 18th
during style of its timeand 19th centuries.
pieces, each built upon the
Which isn’t to suggest
horological advances that
that this Master Grande
came before it.
Tradition limited edition,
Nowhere is LeCoultre’s
issued in a series of 180
legacy borne out more clearly
pieces, is merely a reflecthan in the Master Grande
tion of watchmaking past.
On the contrary, the timeCylindrique à Quantième
piece is equal parts past
Perpétuel Jubilee, unand present. Its flying (or
veiled earlier this year in
cantilevered) tourbillon is
Geneva. The model, a comhoused in a titanium carbination perpetual calenriage, while the perpetual
dar and flying tourbillon,
calendar mechanism —
draws its chief inspiration
displaying the day, date,
from perpetual calendar
month, and year, along
The 42mm platinum case houses an automatic movepocket watches of the 19th
with the moon phases —
ment made entirely by the firm. The engraved gold
century, with which it
fits inside a movement
rotor turns to wind the mainspring, which holds two
shares some subtle yet imcrafted, assembled, and
days of reserve power.
portant aesthetic elements,
decorated by hand in the
including a silver-toned grained dial finish, classic daufirm’s manufacture, whose location in the quaint Swiss
phine hands and a traditional minute circle.
village of Le Sentier belies its reputation as a bastion of
The insides of the timepiece — sheathed in a 42mm
Drawing upon the aesthetic and technical
features seen in perpetual calendars of the 19th
century, the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel Jubilee
pays tribute to the 180-year legacy of the firm’s
founder Antoine LeCoultre.
TWICE AS NICE
In 2011, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrated the 80th anniversary of its much-loved Reverso model, an Art Deco masterpiece developed for colonial officers of the British
Raj, who had requested a feature to protect the crystals
of their watches while they played polo in India. The
model’s swiveling mechanism allows the wearer to flip
the case, revealing an engraved motif or monogram, or a
second face, on its back — a feature so distinctive that
it has earned the Reverso iconic status in the annals of
This year’s 180th anniversary sees the debut of the
Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface, a dual-time zone
version boasting two beguiling dials in day and night
versions. A silvered satin opaline finish, baton-type
hour markers, and black dagger-shaped hands distinguish the former, while a stylish black clous de Paris
hobnail guilloché motif defines the latter. It’s all contained in an elegant stainless steel or rose gold case
measuring just 9.14mm in thickness.
The model, however, isn’t just another pretty face
— or two, as the case may be! The manually wound
movement that powers both dual-time displays represents a technical innovation that can be traced to 1994,
features a silvered
satin opaline finish,
pictured in rose gold.
when the maison’s watchmakers pioneered the mechanical breakthrough in the first Reverso Duo. Here’s the
kicker: The caliber measures a mere 3.8mm thick, offering proof that Jaeger-LeCoultre is in full possession of
the considerable technical skills required to make such
a slender movement.
MASTERS OF THE GAME
The Master Ultra Thin Perpetual, pictured in rose gold, also
comes in white gold.
“For those who believe in traditional watchmaking, the
ultra-thin perpetual calendar is one of the holiest of
calibers,” writes Benjamin Clymer on the watch blog
Hodinkee, in a review of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master
Ultra Thin Perpetual. “So this watch, in a traditional
39-millimeter case, strikes a lot of chords with purists.”
While the model’s slim and streamlined silhouette
— just 9.2mm in thickness — is undeniably good-looking, its sleek design shouldn’t detract from the real feat
at hand: The mechanism at the heart of the timepiece will
continue to function without the need for adjustment until March 1, 2100. And just to be sure you don’t accidentally mess that up, a small window on the dial turns red
as evening falls to indicate the period when you’re advised to avoid winding it. During that time, the gear
wheels are already engaged in the complicated work of
changing the date at the precise stroke of midnight.
Consider the Master Calendar
something of a kid brother to the Master
Ultra Thin Perpetual, in its functionality
if not its styling. Housed in a resized
39mm case available in rose gold or
stainless steel, this 2013 introduction
boasts a slimmed-down bezel and lugs,
as well as a host of useful displays,
including hours, minutes, days of the
week, and month, as well as the phases of
When the Rendez-Vous collection debuted in 2012, watch lovers took notice.
Although Jaeger-LeCoultre has always
manufactured ladies’ timepieces, the ArtDeco inspired watches in the new line —
for whom actress Diane Kruger is an ambassador — represented a much more
serious effort to court female buyers.
Exhibit A: the new Rendez-Vous
Night & Day. Feminine without being
girly, sophisticated without losing its
playfulness, the self-winding model
features a distinctive day/night indicator, a gorgeous guilloché dial, and — best
of all — a diamond-set bezel that underscores its place at the intersection of
haute horlogerie and haute couture.
The date display at the heart of the
34mm Rendez-Vous Date appears
against the backdrop of a guilloché dial
framed by a diamond-set bezel — a signature look of this fetching ladies collection that has earned rave reviews from
women the world over.
In marking its 180th anniversary with
a collection of timepieces at once classic
and contemporary, Jaeger-LeCoultre
makes clear that it has drawn on its exemplary heritage without resting on its
laurels. Here’s to the next 180! ¨
Left: The moon
in the moon
phase display on
in stainless steel.
From left: The Rendez-Vous Night & Day, pictured in rose
gold with a diamond bezel, represents Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most serious effort to date to woo
women with timepieces that feature both aesthetic and mechanical achievements.
Shown in stainless steel with a diamond bezel, the Rendez-Vous Date is a reflection of JaegerLeCoultre’s increasingly important feminine side.