Traditionally reserved only to Swiss-based watchmakers (with an overwhelming majority of them serious brands who, like experienced bluesmen, know exactly what they are doing even while improvising in a state of extreme intoxication,) the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Geneve is always ready to stun you with dozens and even hundreds of gorgeous, no-nonsense timekeepers from the major watchmaking houses. Stuns you to such an extent that it often hard to chose between truly original and carefully calculated designs. While the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition a Tourbillon 43 (Ref. Q1662510) self-winding wristwatch seems to fall into the latter category, to yours truly, it still looks like a real jewel in the gorgeous crown that the renowned Swiss Manufacture has presented during the SIHH 2011 trade show.
Well, technically, this is not a new watch, since it build on a design of a time measuring device that was introduced during the previous decade.
If my memory serves me well, the original Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition a Tourbillon (the name was somewhat different, but that’s not very important here, is it?) was presented about four years ago and featured the same dial layout and was powered by the same JLC Caliber 978 automatic movement.
However, even despite featuring virtually the same guts inside its stunning rose gold case, the version “43” has been beautifully face-lifted in order to match the 2011 MY collection of the classic-styled watches.
Gone are the Arabic numerals at 3 and 9 o’clock; the hour and minute hands changed their shapes; and the 24-hour second time zone indicator at 12 o’clock lost its intricate guilloche decoration.
However, the centrally placed date indicator still jumps easily from four o’clock to eight o’clock so as not to obstruct the gracefully rotating minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock.
The case also seems to be unchanged. Whole 43 millimeters in diameter, it is on the larger side of the family, but it is still slim enough at just 13 millimeters front to back to be worn with long-sleeve shirts. Also, its lugs are rather short, so wearing one even on a narrow wrist will probably not be a problem.
The Ref. Q1662510 model (pictured) comes in a rose gold case, but there will also be a lot more expensive (not that the rose gold version is anywhere close to being cheap) model in platinum, which will be limited to only 200 numbered pieces and will probably cost like a small villa on the French Riviera.
See also: Calibre de Cartier Multiple Time Zones
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition a Tourbillon 43 (Ref. Q1662510) automatic watch specification
Price: $80,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, JLC Caliber 978, in-house, 33 jewels, 302 components, 28,800 vph, 7.05 mm in height, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Skeletonized and engraved oscillating weight in rose gold, vertical Geneva stripes, blued screw heads
Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon, date, second time zone (GMT)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case material: Rose gold
Bezel material: Rose gold
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.00 mm
Lug/strap width: 21 mm / 18 mm
Case height: 13.00 mm
Hands: Rose gold, polished
Hour markers: Rose gold, applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Brown alligator leather strap with 18 carat pink gold pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire