The highly regarded Manufacture once again shows the depth and breadth of its expertise with the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition à Quantième Perpétuel 8 jours SQ. The new model is inspired by a historical Grande Complication pocket-watch from 1928. Eighty-six years after, the skilled hands of skeletonisers and enamellers created a masterpiece of contemporary Haute Horlogerie in a limited edition of 200 timepieces.
The engravers know the necessary tricks. “Our customers want to be able to see as many of the details as possible. But when we skeletonise a movement, we must assure that neither its rigidity nor its reliability could potentially be undermined.” The engraver began by obtaining the relevant documents for Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 876 from its designers. He then determined which components could safely be pierced and which portions of those components could be cut away. In collaboration with watchmakers from the ateliers for Complications Horlogères, he specified every tiny detail in his sketches and plans. Of course, he could rely on the many years of experience and on the legacy handed down to his generation from his predecessors in the Manufacture, who had used similar technical aids to accomplish the intricate tasks of skeletonising.
Alongside the technical aspect, the Master Grande Tradition à Quantième Perpétuel 8 jours SQ prioritises and embodies lofty aesthetic standards because its creators were eager to pay tribute to the model from 1928 and simultaneously to prove that the non plus ultra had not yet been achieved.
After completing a detailed skeletonising plan, the master and his team take their traditional jigsaws and limes in hand and begin the delicate work. Millimetre after millimetre are meticulously sawn away to eliminate superfluous “flesh” from the movement. The skeletonising process is irreversible, so even the slightest error would be fatal. All parts of the movement are then bevelled, polished and elaborately engraved by hand, one by one. The farther the work progresses, the more clearly this synthesis of the horological arts comes into view.
Now a watchmaker from the atelier for Complications Horlogères begins to unite the more than 200 springs, levers, program wheels, pinions and gears with the tiny artworks from Dominique Vuez and Miklos Merczel. But anyone who assumes that this ticking objet d’art is finished would be mistaken, because the assembled timepiece is now subjected to meticulous tests of its functions and to numerous stress tests, which are performed in the Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 1000 hours control unit. The examiners here are unforgiving because the Manufacture’s high standards of quality must be unconditionally upheld. Only now is the artwork of the Master Grande Tradition à Quantième Perpétuel 8 jours SQ complete.
Hand-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 876 concatenates 262 components, including 37 rubies, but is a mere 6.6 mm tall. To the greatest practicable degree, this calibre is manufactured, assembled and elaborately decorated on the Manufacture’s premises. A glance at its surfaces instantly discovers côtes soleillées decorations, which are reserved for the exclusive creations from Jaeger-LeCoultre. The balance, which has no regulator, oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour. After the mainsprings have been fully wound, the power reserve suffices to keep the movement running for eight full days. Only afterwards must one take the watch in hand and turn its crown, thus refreshing the supply of energy stored in its two barrels.
A total of 200 Master Grande Tradition à Quantième Perpétuel 8 jours SQ wristwatches will leave the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, and each one of them is unique! The engravers and enamellers cannot possibly fabricate two absolutely identical models. Numerous tiny details necessarily distinguish one skeletonised movement from all others, and the grand feu enamel in one watch will never be wholly identical with its counterpart in another.
- Mechanical manually-wound movement, skeletonised and engraved, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 876SQ
- 8-day power-reserve
- 262 parts
- 37 jewels
- 28,800 vibrations per hour
- 6.60 mm in height
- Grained and silvered dials on a skeletonised and engraved movement
- Guilloché flange with translucent blue enamel
Back of the watch:
- Skeletonised and engraved movement, guilloché flange with translucent blue enamel also visible on the back of the watch
- Hour, Minute: Feuilles
- Hour, Minute
- Perpetual calendar:
- day, month, date, year and moon-phases
- The perpetual calendar functions are adjusted with the help of a single corrector situated at 8 o'clock
- Security indicator
- Day/night indicator
- Power-reserve indicator
- 42 mm in diameter
- 11.55 mm in height
- Water resistance: 5 bar
- Sapphire case back
- Pin buckle in 18-carat white gold