Watches with an extra time zone indicator, like a GMT or world timer always had my interest. I am a frequent traveler, but mainly within the same time zone. Unlike a few years ago, when I traveled for the investment bank and auditing firm I worked for. I used to have a Rolex GMT-Master II at that time, which was my loyal travel companion. Easy to set and I didn’t need to be very cautious with it.
Now that I am more or less in the time zone (and traded the GMT-Master II a while ago), the need for such a watch isn’t really there. At least not from a functional point of view, but as a watch aficionado I am still drawn to this complication. That’s also why I always had (and still have) this soft spot for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic. Earlier this year, Jeager-LeCoultre delighted the watch crowd with a trio of sector dialed watches: The Master Control Date, Master Chronograph and the one I have here today, the Master Geographic.
Some people had some criticism towards the sector dial of this trio, not being a real sector dial. But it didn’t disturb me much and I think the number of dial extremists are a small minority of the watch enthusiasts out there. The brushed silver grey track and the grained silver center of the dial are very pleasing for the eyes, and the combination with the blue hands gives a great contrast.
The watch was sent to me without box and manual, but knowing Jaeger-LeCoultre a bit, you don’t have to worry about those. After pulling the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic out of the pouch they sent it in, I found this little price tag attached to the strap. €9900 it said, including sales taxes. Although I knew the price of the chronograph version is €8350, I expected the Master Geographic to be about the same price. Anyway, I will get back to this later on.
The 39mm stainless steel case (thickness is 11.77mm) is very comfortable and the alligator strap – with pin buckle – is simply beautiful. From an aesthetics point of view, the watch is completely in balance. The blue used for the city disc at 6 o’clock is a bit lighter than the blue for the hour markers and hands, but it makes the watch a bit playful. If everything would be in the same tone of blue, it would get rather boring in my opinion.
Inside, you will find Jaeger-LeCoultre’s caliber 939B/1 movement, which can be admired through the transparent sapphire case back. A gold rotor, blued screws and a Côtes de Geneve finish on the bridges make it a wonderful mechanical ensemble. Because of the time zone complication, the movement consists of 282 parts, of which 34 are jewels. The power reserve of this movement is 43 hours. To me, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of these brands that make me want to watch the movement very often. As regular readers know, I don’t want to see every mechanical movement out there. But some deserve to be admired by its wearer, and Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of them. I find myself admiring the AP caliber 2121 in my Royal Oak all the time, which is based on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s caliber 920 from the late 1960’s.
Where, to me, a lot of Jaeger-LeCoultre Master watches from the past suffer from the “red pants and horn glasses” syndrome, the current and new collection of Master models has become more interesting for a wider audience. I’ve been raving about the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar (here) and the new Master models with sector dial were for me one of the high-lights of last SIHH exhibition in Geneva. With this bit of vintage inspiration, Jaeger-LeCoultre didn’t exactly create a retro watch or re-edition, they used elements of pocket watches in one of their contemporary models.
Now for the operations of this watch, you really don’t need a manual. The crown at 10 o’clock can be used to select a city (thus time zone) on the disc and the hands of the small dial just above that, will move accordingly. The second time zone indicator has 24 cities on the disc, representing 24 different time zones. The little indicator at 7.30 tells you whether it is day or night in the 2nd time zone. For setting the local time, and minute hand of the 2nd time zone, you use the crown at 3 o’clock (both times are set here at once). Both crowns are large enough to be grasped without problems.
Even for me, someone with fairly big wrists, the 39mm diameter of this watch is perfect. I noticed it is a perfect size for me for a dress watch, or at least a more classic looking watch. I can imagine it will still look fine on someone with slightly smaller wrists.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Geographic ref. 1428530 has a water resistance of 5 bar (~ 50 meters), but I wouldn’t advice you to go into the water with this watch. Not in the last place because of the alligator strap. The pin buckle is very handsome and I actually prefer it over a folding clasp. However, I am pretty sure you can order a separate folding clasp if you want.
This watch has a lot going for it: the design, the movement and the useful complication. An almost perfect package. The only thing that kept spinning in my head was the retail price of €9900. The three hand version (Master Control) has a list price of just under €6000 and the chronograph version is priced at €8350. I feel that €9900 is a bit much to be brutally honest with you, but hey, if you like it and can justify it, I am not stopping you. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic is a stunner on the wrist though and the design and combination of colors is pretty ‘timeless’, so you will be sure to enjoy this one for a long, long time.
More information via Jaeger-LeCoultre on-line.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more