Officially unveiled in January 2010, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme LAB 2 (refs. Q2032470 & Q203T470) automatic chronograph was a worthy addition to JLC’s Master Compressor line and, for what it is worth, was also the most interesting among all timepieces presented by the Swiss company during the SIHH 2010 event.
The watch is available either in red gold (Ref. Q2032470) or in titanium (Ref. Q203T470) and, depending on the case material, is powered by the JLC Calibre 781 and JLC Calibre 780 automatic chronograph movements respectively.
The only difference between the two highly complicated engines is the chassis material: the first is built on TiVan15 high-grade titanium alloy and the second features good old 18-karat red gold.
To ensure its resistance to strong magnetic fields, the movement is fitted with a silicon escapement wheel and some of its gears and trains are made of an anti-magnetic alloy.
Well, a good ole’ soft-iron antimagnetic cage could probably have served a better job, but the watch itself could also have become obscenely fat and JLC’s marketing department couldn’t let this happen. Period.
Both movements store enough energy to power the watch up to 60 hours and include such complications as the second time zone with 24 hours indication, date, power reserve, and chronograph.
What’s the most interesting about the chronograph function is that it displays the elapsed minutes in digital form using a jumping minute counter at 12 o’clock. Judging by the looks of it, JLC is experimenting with an adequate answer to the last year’s A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk revolutionary time measuring device.
The movement is encased in a larger than life sandwich-structured body 46.8 millimeters in diameter and impressive 16.5 mm in height.
As you can see on the photos, the watch sports a very busy skeletonized dial, but thanks to its high-contrast color scheme there is no problem reading the basic information, such as time (both local and GMT) and date.
Of course, this is not a diving watch: with a water resistance rating of just 100 meters (330 ft,) it is just not suitable for anything more adventurous than some shallow water snorkeling. Also, it would be a real shame to ruin the gorgeous alligator leather strap in salty water, wouldn’t it? Otherwise, it is a great timekeeper with impressively complicated, high-quality calibers and refined, yet sporty exterior. The prices of $50k and $67k for titanium and rose gold versions respectively may scare away plenty of potential customers, but something tells that this was exactly the idea: who doesn’t love to pay a premium for an extremely exclusive piece of luxury?
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme LAB 2 specification
Price range: $54,000 (MSRP, in titanium) / $67,000 (MSRP, in rose gold)
Movement: JLC Calibre 781 or 780, automatic, 569 parts (Calibre 780) and 566 parts (Calibre 781), 34.7 in diameter, 8.55 mm in height, 28,800 vph, in-house
Complications: Date, chronograph, GMT, power reserve
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case: Titanium (ref. Q203T470) or Red gold (ref. Q2032470)
Bezel: Black ceramic
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire crystal
Size: 46.80 mm
Case height: 16.50 mm
Dial: Black, skeletonized
Hands: Titanium or Red gold
Strap: Double alligator leather strap with tang buckle in rose gold or titanium
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating
Water resistance: 100 meters