During the SIHH 2012 international trade fair, the Swiss-based manufacturer of luxury timepieces has presented its new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon (Ref. Q1322510). Offered in a nicely finished rose gold case that, pretentious name notwithstanding, is actually not that thin as one could have imagined, but is still slim for a piece powered by a self-winding movement with a tourbillon escapement, the new gadget looks like a perfect choice for those looking for a dress watch with a twist[er.]
Frankly, I am not sure whether it is correct to call the new JLC Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon an heir to the legacy of the last year’s gorgeous Master Grande Tradition a Tourbillon 43 (Ref. Q1662510,) but I would dare to do so since both models share a lot in common.
Well, at least they share a lot of exterior design clues with the eggshell-beige dial featuring the same dauphine-shaped rose gold hands, the same applied arrow-shaped hour markers and a similar tourbillon carriage.
In fact, from where I sit, the new timekeeper looks like a stripped-down version of the Tourbillon 43 with its case slightly reduced in size in order not only to match the new trend of watches getting “smaller, but better”, but also to make it more wearable for a person who simply needs a nice accessory for their custom-tailored suit not an oversized vehicle of making a -rather loud at that- personal statement.
Alas, JLC’s engineers didn’t manage to slim down the timekeeper’s case below the psychologically important 10-millimeter mark.
Exactly 40 millimeters in diameter, the body is more than 11 millimeters thick, which is around 1.45 mm thicker than the case of the Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche (ref. Q1372520) model that, too, was presented at SIHH 2012 event.
The guilty party here is, of course, the JLC Caliber 982 self-winding movement. Built on 33 jewels, comprising 262 components and beating at a pretty much standard frequency of 28,800 vph, the movement is 30 millimeters in diameter and 6.40 millimeters high.
Perhaps, the reason for this is the dimensions of the tourbillon carriage, which is hard to slim down (on the other hand, Glashutte Original’s in-house Caliber 94-12 that sports the same functionality plus a date module is only 5.40 mm thick, but that’s because the German watchmaker uses a micro-rotor winding system in the movement, while the Caliber 982 comes with a full-size oscillating weight that adds around a millimeter to the mechanism’s overall height.)
Featuring only one spring barrel, the movement will keep going for at least 48 hours after being fully wound. Not really impressive by today’s standards, but should be enough for most owners.
Anyway, if you are not obsessed with millimeters, this is a nice watch that is as dressy, and highly legible, as it is simply pleasant to look at.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon (Ref. Q1322510) specification
Price: $77,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, JLC Caliber 982, 30.00 mm x 6.40 mm, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 33
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds (tourbillon)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: Rose gold
Size: 40.00 mm
Case height: 11.30 mm
Lug width: 18.00 mm
Hour markers: Applied, rose gold
Hands: Rose gold, dauphine-shaped, sand-blasted
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Chocolate-toned alligator leather with 18-karat rose gold pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, cambered, anti-reflective coating
Back: Sapphire, antireflective