Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948
Here at Watches and Wonders 2022, Jaeger-LeCoultre delights us with a new outstanding watch, the Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948, which is an artistic interpretation of the Universal Time.
JLC creates watches that displays several time zones simultaneously back from the ‘30s, but when they introduced the Calibre 948 it was a major step in the watchmaking industry. It has been the first time when a complication like the world-time was been united with a flying tourbillon.
· A new expression of the world-time complication unites artistry and technical prowess
· Multiple skills from the Manufacture’s Métiers Rares atelier are brought together to create the domed, open-worked and enamelled dial – the product of 70 hours of work
· The Universal Tourbillon rotates in 60 seconds and makes a complete circuit of the dial in 24 hours
The Universal Tourbillon makes a complete circuit of the dial every 24 hours – the length of a mean solar day. A true expression of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s technical expertise, the automatic calibre was conceived, developed and entirely produced within the Manufacture. The splendid new aesthetic expression of the world-time complication showcases La Grande Maison’s artistic creativity and mastery of the decorative crafts alongside its technical prowess.
A World of Time on the Dial
In a subtle allusion to the depth and complexity of time measurement, the dial is made of several parts. At its centre, in keeping with world-timer tradition, is a map of the world as seen from the North Pole. However, unlike the traditional flattened image, this map floats above the dial bed on a domed skeleton formed by the longitudes and latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Created by the master artisans of the Manufacture’s Métiers Rares (Rare Handcrafts) atelier, the outline of the continents is cut from a sheet of white gold and decorated with champlevé enamel.
Champlevé – which translates literally as ‘raised field’ – is a noble and ancient enamelling technique that was first practiced almost 2,500 years ago. With great skill, the artisan must first carve out a depression in the raw metal, conforming exactly to the outline of the desired image – in this case, the shapes of the continents seen from the North Pole. This hollow area is then filled with multiple layers of enamel – fired at very high temperatures after each layer – until it is flush with the original surface. On the completed enamel surfaces, miniature-painted details of the continents’ major landscape features have been painstakingly added, enhancing the work with even greater intrigue and refinement.
For the new Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948, the enamelling of a single dome requires 55 hours of work. Measuring just 25.5mm in diameter, each dial is a remarkable work of art in miniature, requiring almost 70 hours of meticulous work altogether.
Beneath the dome, representing the oceans, the dial bed is a disc of vivid blue translucent lacquer applied over a wavy guilloché pattern that suggests the movement of the sea and the lunar influence on its tides. In circular aperture to one side of the map, the flying tourbillon appears to float weightlessly above the blue oceans, spinning in 60 seconds.
As on all classical world timers, each time zone is represented by the name of a city, arranged in a ring around the central dial. Set outside the city ring are two concentric fixed rings: a 24-hour indicator with applied numerals and rectangular indexes, and a minute track laser-engraved on a ring of blue lacquer that matches the blue oceans. Mimicking the rotation of Earth on its axis, the domed Earth map – together with the Universal Tourbillon and city ring – makes a complete 360-degree revolution in 24 hours, always indicating the right time in each city.
The Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 is very simple to read: the hour marked on the ring adjacent to the city name is the time in that city’s zone. It is equally simple to operate: the time is set with the crown, which synchronises all of the time zones around the world. On arrival at a new destination, local time is set by the same crown, which moves only the hour hand, in one-hour jumps forwards or backwards, allowing the minutes and seconds to continue running accurately.
The Master Grande Tradition case is a perfect complement to the dial. Comprising more than 80 parts, its convex bezel contrasts with broad bevels on the lugs, and the hollowed-out lug sides add dynamic tension. Different surfaces are micro blasted, polished and satin-brushed to maximise the play of light.
Blending art and mechanics, the new Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 is testament to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s dedication to maintaining the fine balance between a passionate drive to innovate and profound respect for tradition.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948
Reference: Q52834E1 – Limited edition of 20 pieces
· Material: white gold
· Sapphire case-back
· Diameter: 43mm
· Height: 14.13mm
· Dial: blue translucent lacquer over a wavy guilloche pattern; domed skeleton structure decorated with champlevé enamel
· Water resistance: 50 m (5 bar)
· Calibre: Automatic mechanical Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 948
· Frequency: 28,800 vph
· Functions: hours/minutes, universal flying tourbillon, world-time display (24 time zones), 24-hour indication
· Power reserve: 48 hours
Strap: alligator leather with deployant buckle
The price for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 Ref. Q52834E1 is $227,000 and is a limited edition of 20 pieces.