SIHH 2019: JLC Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster PerpétuelBy Suzanne Wong
Didn’t I tell you guys that Jaeger-LeCoultre was particularly strong this SIHH? Okay fine, maybe I didn’t tell all of you, but I definitely told a lot of you.
Fans of La Grande Maison’s multi-axis tourbillons can rejoice as Jaeger-LeCoultre releases the fifth iteration of its famous Gyrotourbillon, the series of ultra-sophisticated rotating escapements that first debuted in 2004.
Not only is the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel the latest Gyrotourbillon from Jaeger-LeCoultre, it is also the most complicated, featuring a grande sonnerie with Westminster chime and also a perpetual calendar.
The last time we saw a grand sonnerie from Jaeger-LeCoultre — and the only other time in the modern history of the manufacture, actually — was in the 2009 Hybris Mechanica Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie. In combining this exalted complication with the Gyrotourbillon and a perpetual calendar, Jaeger-LeCoultre are truly showcasing the extent of their in-house savoir-faire.
Although not made explicit in the name of the watch, one of the most outstanding features of the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel is its one-minute constant force mechanism, that drives the jumping minute hand.
Apart from providing a consistent level of torque that supports the chronometric performance of the energy-hungry tourbillon, the constant-force mechanism also allows for the minute repeater function — when activated — to be perfectly accurate in its reading of the time. Conventional minute repeaters bear the risk of chiming out a time that may differ from the actual time display by one minute, an eventuality that is compensated for by a sprung component called the “surprise piece” that emerges from behind the minute cam as a security feature when the repeater is activated.
The chiming mechanism of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition builds on the extensive body of knowledge already present at the manufacture. Prior innovations such as the crystal gongs, square gong cross section and trebuchet hammers which promote chime transmission, are all present here and in certain aspects even improved.
Although the multi-axis tourbillon is by definition a bulky mechanism, Jaeger-LeCoultre have worked on reducing its dimensions. The resulting watch is an extremely reasonable 43mm in diameter and 14.08mm in height, given its stunning complement of functions.
Its aesthetic is simultaneously forceful yet grounded, featuring a range of traditional decorations and finishes that are applied in the in-house Metièrs Rares atelier.
Stay tuned for our in-depth analysis of the technical innovations in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel.