Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar — How did they fit 336 parts in to a 1/3-inch case? (original pics)

Crafted in steel, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-thin Perpetual Calendar retails for less than $20,000.

Crafted in steel, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-thin Perpetual Calendar retails for less than $20,000.

Earlier this year we introduced you to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar watch as it was being unveiled in Las Vegas. Now, we take some time for a close up look at a watch that brought a new opening price point to the brand and that marked the first time Jaeger-LeCoultre combined a perpetual calendar and an ultra thin.

Complete with case, the MasterUltra-Thin Perpetual Calendar measures just over a third of an inch in height.

Complete with case, the MasterUltra-Thin Perpetual Calendar measures just over a third of an inch in height.

We love the ultra-thin concept for an elegant watch. It has a sleek profile, and a classic feel to it. While some people prefer a bulkier look, the ultra-thin watch is the perfect fit under any suit jacket because of its slimness. Additionally, ultra-thin watches are challenging for a brand to create. Making a watch ultra-thin requires the top watchmakers to re-think the insides of the case – not just making parts thinner yet keeping them strong, but also often reconfiguring wheels and gears so the caliber thins down.  This is exactly what Jaeger-LeCoultre had to do in the making of this 39mm watch with streamlined lugs and a slim bezel. The watch measures just 9.2mm thin – and for those who don’t like metrics – this equals just about a third of an inch in height! This means the watch looks so good on the wrist. The question is- how did they fit 336 parts in to that thin of a case?

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is offered in rose gold, white gold and steel.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is offered in rose gold, white gold and steel.

The answer is –no easy feat. A little reconfiguring and a lot of perseverance in the R&D. The 336-part Caliber 868 takes into account unequal lengths of months and automatically adjusts (even for leap year).  The movement also enables the wearer to change the dates on the calendar simply via a single corrector on the side of the case that moves the calendar one day forward.  The watch even offers a four-digit year indicator. All of this is packed into a steel timepiece that retails for an incredible $19,995. Of course, it is also made in 18k white gold (for $34,700) and in 18k rose gold (for $31,600), but the steel version is truly a steal. This may well be the must-have watch for the brand this year.

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