It was introduced in 2013 already, this Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual in stainless steel. This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre showed us the Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual with a beautiful black Sunray-brushed dial. The price remains to be under €20.000 Euro, including VAT.
A perpetual calendar under €20.000 Euro in time where some brands dare to ask that same amount for 2 or 3 hands watch in stainless steel. Apples to apples of course, but finding a perpetual calendar in stainless steel from a respectable manufacture brand like Jaeger-LeCoultre in the same price category is quite a challenge. In the pre-owned market, you will find a couple for sure, but in the market for new watches, it is quite an achievement by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
This Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual in stainless steel has a diameter of 39mm, a tad bit bigger than the previous version they made in the late 1990s and early 2000s with a 37mm case. You can debate about the size of these ultra-thin dress watches, but in the end I am convinced that 39mm is a very acceptable size for a mens dress watch. Perhaps a 37mm looks a bit more sophisticated these days, especially to those with a weak spot for vintage watches, but personally, a 37mm watch would look a bit small on my wrists.
Interesting enough, the former Master Perpetual (reference 140.8.80 S) and the new Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual I am talking about here (reference 1308470) have a dial lay-out that has been rotated 180 degrees. In the former 37mm version of this stainless steel perpetual calendar, Jaeger-LeCoultre used their caliber 889 movement. The current 39mm version has JLC caliber 868, that consists of 336 parts and only measures 4.72mm in height. The case of the watch is 9.2mm thick and has sapphire crystals on both sides.
You will notice a couple of small changes (the four digit year indicator, the longer indices, longer second hand, sub dial design, bold printing) besides the increased size that makes the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual reference 1308470 a more modern watch. If you are more fond of the former design and size, you can try your luck on websites like Chrono24. Expect prices around €10.000 for one in nice condition and complete with box and papers.
As you can see below, the JLC caliber 868 movement has a beautiful finish, as we’re used from the Le Sentier manufacture. The Côtes de Geneve and perlage finish looks wonderful and can be admired through the sapphire case back. The rotor is made of gold and also has this Côtes de Geneve finish.
This Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual will run fine until March 1st 2100. The watch comes with a tool to do the calendar corrections (setting hours and minutes is done by the crown in the 1st position (neutral/winding is position 0) to operate the little pusher at 8 o’clock. With this tool, you can correct the day, date, month, year and moon phase of this perpetual calendar. Be careful though, do not set the calendar functions between 8pm and 4am, you can mess up your watch. A little indicator just above the center pinion will show you when it is safe to set your watch (even the dauphin shaped hands have apertures so you will be able to see this indicator at all times). You don’t need to know whether it is a leap year (although I assume you know :)) or the current moon phase. This information has been programmed into the perpetual calendar, of course.
The beautiful black alligator leather strap (€345 Euro for a spare) on this timepiece comes with a signed folding clasp in stainless steel.
As said, this watch retails for €19.800 Euro (including 21% VAT) and more information can be found via Jaeger-LeCoultre on-line.