Jaeger-LeCoultre are known as the watchmaker’s watchmaker with good reason. Over their nearly 190-year history, the brand has produced movements used by most major Swiss watch brands with more than 1000 calibers developed over that time. And while 2021 is all about the Reverso as the brand celebrates the 90th anniversary of the famous design, we can’t forget the high-complication watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre released in recent years, from the almost microscopic caliber 101 to the dancing Master Gyrotourbillon.
Jaeger-LeCoultre looked to celebrate some of these complicated curiosities with an event hosted at Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula.
This marked the first watch event of this COVID-stricken year, which I was particularly excited about, meaning a chance to catch up face-to-face with collectors and industry colleagues after a break that felt like far too long.
Present was the Australian Country Manager of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Justin Devaux, who delivered a presentation on some of the watches that were on display.
In the presentation Devaux went into some detail about the manufacturing process behind the development of the watches, as well as the craftsmanship that goes into such pieces.
One of the pieces that he focused on was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Gyrotourbillon 1 that’s powered by the caliber 177 and features a bi-axial tourbillon, a retrograde perpetual calendar and an equation of time.
The movement was so complex that it’s development was one of the first calibers the brand produced that required a computer to help design and engineer it. Science was needed to develop the caliber, after which watchmaking art took over in the assembly process to ensure the movement worked as intended.
It was a pleasure to spend the afternoon in good company, both in the watches that were displayed and the people that were present. But because we’re all here for the watches, let’s take a look at five standout pieces that we saw yesterday.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Gyrotourbillon 1
One of the most complicated watches that the brand has ever produced, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Gyrotourbillon 1 is a visual tour de force that is honestly hard to tear your eyes away from.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface Fagliano Limited Burgundy
Released in the last month of 2020, this was one of the most recently announced references in the Reverso collection that nicely encapsulates the elegance of the design on the eve of its 90th anniversary.
Aesthetically, it’s hard to beat the warmly toned combination of this burgundy sunburst dial and the pink gold case and dial furniture.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Reine
I’ve never been told I was “too excited” about a watch before, but there is something about the Joaillerie 101 Reine that just gets the heart racing. While the diamond set bracelet is an impressive piece of jewellery work, the caliber 101 within is something that the mind struggles to comprehend.
It contains 98 different parts, yet weighs less than 1 gram. Another feather in the cap of the watchmaker’s watchmaker.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface
One of the more complicated Reverso references, it features a 60-second flying tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position and has two dials that are each able to display different timezones at once.
This manually wound watch is cased in platinum, giving it a hefty presence on the wrist.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Tourbillon
For a wristwatch from a watchmaker known for their ultra-thin timepieces, the Geophysic Universal Time Tourbillon is very three-dimensional. Thanks to the sloping world-time disc around the circumference of the dial, playing off against the domed globe in its centre and the tourbillon aperture there is a lot to take in with this masterful blend of complication.