Jaeger-LeCoultre is not only a high-end watch manufacturer but a very important one in the industry. The company, that came to existence in 1833, has been at the forefront of innovation. The company’s founder Antoine LeCoultre’s very first invention was an instrument that was able to measure the micron. It was called the millionometer. That set JLC on a path that brought them 1,200 calibers over time. Jaeger-LeCoultre has over 400 registered patents. Their manufacture, still to this day, masters old techniques in the decoration of their timepieces. Guillochage or grand feu enamelling just to name a few. JLC is also an expert in over 180 different watchmaking (and watch related skills) in their manufacture. The top of their 2019 SIHH collection is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel. An amazingly complex yet wearable and beautiful horological creation.
Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel
The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, as its name shows, is a very complex timepiece. It has different Haute Horlogerie complications on top of each other. To start with at 6 o’clock we can find a fifth multi-axis tourbillon by Jaeger-LeCoultre that has a smaller-than-usual size. The redesigned tourbillon parts make it possible for the watch to be smaller in size hence more wearable. The Westminster carillon minute repeater plays the chime of Big Ben. Many of us who have visited London are familiar with this melody. It has a silence-reduction mechanism that optimizes the melody cadence. The movement has an incorporated one-minute constant-force mechanism. This is crucial to provide consistent energy to the tourbillon, which results in a precisely changing minute hand and a more precise minute repeater. Haut-de-gamme finishing paring up with modern, size provides the sleek, contemporary aesthetics that makes the watch wearable.
It’s worth mentioning that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel is the latest generation of multi-axis tourbillons from the Vallée de Joux brand. Their first such creation was the Master Gyrotourbillon in 2004 followed by the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 in 2008. In 2013 they launched the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Jubilee and lastly in 2016 the Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon. However, as I have mentioned it above, the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel’s tourbillon is significantly smaller than its predecessors’ but that comes with a price. Reducing the size also means reducing the error tolerance. So, a reduced size does not only make the timepiece more wearable but also shows the complexity that goes into minimalization. All of this comes in an only 43mm wide and 14.08mm thick white gold case. It’s resistant up to 3 bars – not that it would ever see water.
Other than the Gyrotourbillon and the minute repeater functions the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel has one of the most convenient every day feature a watch can have; the perpetual (day/date/month/year) calendar. It automatically displays the correct date, no adjustment needed between the months. Obviously, Jaeger-LeCoultre took February and leap year into account. While with most perpetual calendars the date mechanism can be adjusted in only one direction, with this timepiece it can be done forward and backward giving more convenience to its owner. Since the tourbillon aperture cuts into the date on the dial between the 16th and 17th, the pointer date jumps over the cut-out always disapplying correct day. The caliber 184 is a manual-wind movement with 52 hours of power reserve. The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel is limited to only 18 pieces with either blue guilloche enamel or silver grained dials.
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