Last week, during the recent SIHH 2012 trade show, the Swiss watchmaking specialist has presented a refreshed range of its minimalistic Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche series that are equipped with power reserve indicators. In two words, the new watch has become thinner, more legible and even more elegant.
As usual, the new timekeeper is available in two versions: a dressy rose gold and an understated stainless steel, which may be especially desirable for those introverted individuals who want to feel a piece of fine mechanics gently hugging their wrist, but wouldn’t care to draw too much attention to it.
Although a classic dress watch usually has its functions limited to displaying hours, minutes and, sometimes, seconds and date, this one adds to the mix an easily readable power reserve indicator.
Surprisingly, despite having three sub-dials on its eggshell-white dial, the watch doesn’t look like overloaded with functions. Perhaps, the reason for this is that the five hands are very successfully differentiated from each other with their colors and shapes.
The rose gold, dauphine-shaped hours and minutes hands, for example, are superbly matched by similarly shaped applied hour markers that are crafted from the same precious metal.
The indicators on the power reserve, date and small seconds sub-dials (placed at 10, 2 and 6 o’clock respectively) have their steel hands blued and also sport different shapes: the first two are leaf-shaped and the last is the baton-shaped. Although these hands look a lot more contrast on the clean, spotless dial, it is immediately clear that they play on the sidelines.
According to JLC’s press release, the watch, which has become slimmer than the previous model and now measures less than 10 millimeters in height and 39 millimeters in diameter, still features the same JLC Caliber 938 automatic movement.
Although Jaeger-LeCoultre tries to position it as an ultra-thin movement, it is not exactly so. At 26 millimeters in diameter, the cal. 938 is 4.9 millimeters high, which makes it even thicker than the mass-produced ETA 2897 ebauche that, too, sports an automatic winding system and sports the same basic functionality.
On the other hand, comparing the two is like equating a Bentley Continental GT and a VW Beetle on the merit that both cars have four wheels, two doors and one internal combustion engine.
As to the price, expect the version in stainless steel (Ref. Q1378420) to retail for some $10,000 and the one in rose gold (Ref. Q1372520) to play in a higher league commanding a recommended price of at least $20,000.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche in Rose Gold (Ref. Q1372520) automatic watch specification
Price: $18,700 (MSRP, version in rose gold)
Movement: Automatic, JLC Caliber 938, 273 components, 4.9 mm x 26 mm, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 41
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, power reserve
Power reserve: 43 hours
Case material: 18-carat rose gold (Ref. Q1372520) OR steel (Ref. Q1378420)
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 39.00 mm
Case height: 9.85 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Eggshell-white or Silver
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Chocolate-toned alligator leather strap with 18-carat gold pin buckle (or black alligator leather strap with steel folding clasp for the model in stainless steel)
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating
Case back: Sapphire