Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of those precious few brands that doesn’t try to make easy living by selling mediocre timekeepers whose only point of interest is that they are crafted from a piece of steel salvaged from an infamous cruise liner or a piece of crankshaft of a 1930s sports car. Instead, they invest astronomical amounts of money into developing of high-grade, extremely complicated calibers that easily leave blow dozens of wannabes out of the proverbial water and then leave them in the proverbial dust to, um, proverbially dry. What’s even more interesting is that they do this stunt systematically, almost literally year over year they churn out even more impressive gadgets for the super-rich. This year Swiss luxury watch maker Jaeger-LeCoultre will produce a very limited edition of their Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication watch.
It usually takes at least three standard complications (one of those that measure relatively short intervals of time, such as different types of chronographs; one for astronomical events, such as Moon phases or, say, Equation of Time that tells current differential between the solar and official local time; and one for striking complications, like different kinds of minute repeaters or alarms) for a watch to be considered as a Grande Complication timepiece.
Of course, there may be a lot more complicated movements with number of complications closing to three dozens! These beasts are so rare that, in terms of pricing, they easily surpass even the ultra-cars like, say, Bugatti Veyron. For example, the last year’s Jaeger LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie watch sports 26 complications –from flying tourbillon to minute repeater to perpetual calendar to… well, you name it– and costs whopping $2.5 million
The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication is not so exclusive, but, sporting only three standard complications, will hopefully cost a lot less than the aforementioned ultra-complicated model.
Speaking of complications, the watch is powered by the hand-wound JLC Calibre 945 movement, which is made of 527 parts and features a rotating flying tourbillon measuring the Sidereal Day, a minute repeater with JLC’s new trebuchet hammers, as well as a zodiac calendar, month and a 24-hour indicator.
The 34.70 mm x 12.62 mm movement is hidden inside a 44 mm x 15.6 mm 18 carat white gold case.
Although in its press release Jaeger-LeCoultre ensures prospective owners that the “pleasingly designed” case effectively “conceals” the watch’s thickness, I somehow doubt that. You see, the Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie watch was also presented in a similarly shaped case that was the same 44 mm in diameter and 15 mm thick. And, boy, it looked like a scale model of a Formula-1 tire!
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication watch (Ref. Q5023580) specification
Price range: No data, very expensive
Movement: JLC Calibre 945, hand-wound, 527 parts, 49 jewels, 28,800 vph, in-house, 12.62 mm high, 34.70 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Complications: Rotating flying tourbillon and sky chart, minute repeater with cathedral crystal gongs, zodiac, month and 24 hours indicator
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case material: 18-carat white gold
Bezel material: 18-carat white gold
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire crystal caseback
Case size: 44.0 mm
Case height: 15.6 mm
Dial: Blue, depicting the sky chart of the Northern hemisphere
Hands: White gold
Strap: Dark blue alligator leather with folding clasp
Water resistance: 50 meters