Jaeger-LeCoultre did everything right at SIHH. Their collection surprised and delighted in equal measure with a little something for everyone, from high-end tourbillons to fresh takes on the feminine Rendez-Vous, and sexy new variants of old favourites (we’re looking at you, black and pink gold Master Compressor). But it was the trio of watches comprising the refreshed Master range that really stole the show. That’s not just thanks to their undeniably handsome looks, but also their smart pricing, and the fact JLC seems willing to listen to what consumers want, and offer an on-trend addition to their typically timeless fare. The only question left to answer is, which do you prefer: the Date, Chronograph or the Geographic?
If you like watches (you do) and exist in a digital age (also affirmative) there’s a good chance you’ve encountered the garrulous Adam Craniotes – heck you might have even seen his tour of NYC. And if you’ve come across @Craniotes, you’ve probably heard the story of his IWC Perpetual Calendar, and how he had to borrow cash off his mum to get it, and the Delilah-esque toll she exacted. (We’re not going to tell you that story, but you can read up on it here if you like.) On this occasion, we asked Adam to tell us about his Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Alarm Navy SEALs (the Incursion Edition, just in case you were wondering). As with all things this modern-day raconteur is involved with, there’s a tale behind the watch. A tale of deceit and skulduggery we’re sure will resonate with many of you…
For many consumers and manufacturers, now is not the time for extravagant, outlandish watches. That’s not to say SIHH doesn’t have its fair share of outlandish, extravagant and (it must be said) amazing timepieces – but they’re very much a niche proposition. The vast majority of real-world buyers are after something simpler and in a soft and uncertain economy the versatile round steel watch, free of gimmick and full of quality is an appealing option. Happily, this year SIHH is delivering quite a few watches that fit this bill. For me, one of the best is the revivified Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control collection. For the past 25 years, these clean, round watches have been the starting point for many who’ve wanted to get into the brand, but (for whatever reason) haven’t heeded the call of the Reverso. These new Master Controls are pitch perfect heritage-ish watches that do everything right. The collection includes a dual time and a chronograph that we’ll show you down the track, but for now we’d like to focus on the Master Control Date. Before we get to that stunning dial, it would be remiss of us not to mention the well-proportioned 39mm steel case, which is très slim… Read More
As far as origin stories go, the Reverso has one of the best. Back in the 1930s, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most famous model was conceived to withstand the rigours of polo, thanks to its ingenious flip-over case design. When the mallets started swinging and balls went flying, the watch could safely bury its face until the action was over, using its caseback as protection. Much later (1994 to be precise) the line evolved to include two-faced models, and the story became less about hiding away when the going got tough, and more about choosing which side was best equipped for the task in hand. It was a split personality. And really, who doesn’t love the idea of that? We’re all familiar with the double lives led by Batman and Bruce Wayne (in fact, both Kilmer and Bale have worn Reversos in their turns as the Caped Crusader), Spider-Man and Peter Parker. And let’s not forget it’s more than just comic book stuff – the alter-ego concept stands up in just as well IRL. Take Beyonce and Sasha Fierce – the ballsy character she used to step into when she needed to transcend her pre-show nerves (maybe she borrows Jay-Z’s from time to time). But if that’s… Read More
One of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s finest releases for 2016 was also one of the easiest to miss. Firstly because it’s not a Reverso, secondly because it’s not really a ‘new’ release. We first saw the Master Ultra Thin (MUT) Perpetual Calendar back in 2013, but this year JLC treated this exceptionally stylish stainless steel version to a snazzy new black dial. Perpetual Calendars are enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment with ‘accessible’ offerings from Montblanc, Frederique Constant and now Baume & Mercier helping to popularise this complication combination. It’s important to note that accessible is a relative term, as all these examples are still north of $10k. While they’re all attractive watches, for me none of them have the edge on the JLC in terms of looks or sheer élan. For me, this largely comes down to just how slender the watch is – 9.2mm thick for a perpetual calendar is very impressive – but also the harmonious design. Thirty-nine millimetres is a perfectly sized case, large enough to be contemporary, but still quite orthodox. And the dial is supremely well balanced; with no sense of the overcrowding or illegibility that can plague complex pieces like this. The only possible jarring… Read More
Editor’s Note: Meteorite dials are nothing new – but we rarely see this exotic dial material on otherwise conservative pieces. The juxtaposition creates a truly special watch with a one-of-a-kind dial that we’d never get tired of staring at. One of the watches we were most looking forward to seeing in the metal at SIHH 2015 was the brand new, meteorite dialled Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar Meteorite dialled watch. From the press shots we weren’t sure if we’d love this watch or (how do we say this politely) – prefer the traditional dialled version. Luckily for all concerned the watch wears very well – the meteorite doesn’t overpower the traditional aesthetic of the JLC Master Calendar, but rather the depth and texture of the dial compliments and contrasts with the sobriety of the calendar design. The dial is a single thin slice of meteorite, treated to show of the iron rich structure of the stone – which makes it a very difficult material to work with, but the results are worth it. I think the combination of pink gold and grey dial is a particularly handsome combination. Somewhat surprisingly, these watches are not limited edition, but rather limited production. This meteorite dial… Read More
Based on the coverage of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s SIHH releases, it’d be fair to assume the brand put out nothing but dressy Reversos this year. Well, that’s not true. One of the more under-the-radar releases was a handsome update to the Master Compressor Chronograph Ceramic. Physically and functionally, the new version is unchanged from the 2014 original. It’s still the same imposing black ceramic 46mm case, paired with a technical-looking ‘Trieste’ calfskin strap and utilitarian dial layout. What’s new is the colour scheme. Previously the Master Compressor Chronograph ran with the ever popular black-on-black with red highlights, but JLC has softened this approach, replacing the red flashes with a navy blue, and adding contrast to the dial thanks to the pale grey chronograph subdials and minutes disc. And while a fresh coat of paint isn’t the biggest innovation in the world, it’s remarkable the difference it can make. The military feel of the watch is greatly toned down, making it feel lighter, and even more summery. More yacht, less attack helicopter. Aside from the new look, the Master Compressor Chronograph is still the same, quite impressive, piece of kit. In addition to the chronograph, the watch has a GMT and day/night indicator, located between the logo and the… Read More