Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar – Unique In Its Kind
When Jaeger-LeCoultre released their Master Calendar in 2013, I wasn’t sure what to think about it, since there is so much competition in this section. Most of these calendar watches have the same dial layout, with a day and month aperture just below ’12’ and a moon phase above ‘6’, set on a light coloured dial. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s version did not really add anything, to what was on the market already, besides the beautiful manufacture caliber of course. This year however, Jaeger-LeCoultre announced another version of their Master Calendar but now with a stunning new eye-catching dial, and unique at the same time.
Let’s start with the review. Personally I am very pleased that Jaeger-LeCoultre sticked to a more traditional size and used their 39mm case for it. A watch with these dimensions, is very wearable with formal wear but also with a more casual outfit.
While the Master Calendar fits perfectly under a cuffed shirt, I won’t call it a ‘pure’ dress watch, since the case has a 10.6mm thickness. A bit too thick to wear it with a tuxedo, but ideal with a suit. The height of the Master Moon is logical when you consider the complicated automatic movement, that’s ticking inside and is also visible through a sapphire crystal case back.
A closed back could have made the case thinner. This mechanical automatic winding calendar movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 866, was as usually developed and produced by JLC, in their own manufacture in Le Sentier. It operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with a 40 hours of power reserve. Since the caliber is an automatic one and has various functions as; hour, minute, day, date, month and moon phases, the thickness of the 866 caliber, demands a case height of 10,6mm; absolutely not bad for an automatic caliber.
The gold hand for the seconds is located in the Moon phase window and makes a perfect match with the gold of the moon and stars. What we often see is Moon phases designed in a modern way that are hardly recognisable where they stand for. Not the one on the JLC Master Moon, this is the classic moon phase with a dark blue sky and stars. To indicate the date, Jaeger-LeCoultre chose for the classic pointer date.
The pointer date is actually a feature from the thirties and is not used that often anymore. But to me this is one of the most beautiful ways of telling the time and I wish that the industry would use this option more often, in classic style watches or in re issues.
The first thing that catches the eye is the dial, of this Master Calendar. It is very different from the classic silvered dial from 2013 and it is made out of Meteorite, with a unique anthracite kinda color. The dial is composed from a block of meteorite that was discovered in Sweden. It came originally from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. ???
Due to the fact that these pieces of meteorite contain a lot of iron, it is hard to get a perfect dial out of it. The block needs to be cut into very thin plates until the right structure is found and good enough to become a Jaeger-LeCoultre dial. After that it goes through the various steps of polishing until it reveals the structure of its stone, that features a unique pattern shown by each cut. At the end of the process, the material will show the beauty that was collected through several million years.
The result is a stunning looking dial, with a unique structure, since no dial will look identical and that’s the beauty of working with natural materials. Quite a task for JLC was to apply the gold hour markers on the meteorite and to cut out the rectangle windows for the day, the month and the round window for the moon phase.
The meteorite is very hard to work with and on the other hand also very fragile, when it comes to cutting out these windows.
Jaeger-LeCoultre packs a punch with this Master Calendar, since the result is a great looking watch, that sets it apart from the competition and is unique in its kind. The Master Calendar is available in pink gold or in steel and while I really like this pink gold version with the meteorite; for me the steel version with greyish meteorite dial, that makes the watch irresistible.
List price of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar reference 1552540 with meteorite dial is €24,400.- Euro. More information can be found here.