Retailing for just about $385,000, or for approximately $475,000 depending on the model, the recently unveiled Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grand Tradition Grande Complication has captured hearts and souls around the world. And rightfully so. This is one important watch from a brand that knows all about important creations. Jaeger-LeCoultre is a master at complications and has been a pioneer in tourbillon advancements and minute repeater advancements decade after decade. This newest watch is built using both of those important horological feats — and a lot more.
What’s Inside The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grand Tradition Grande Complication
The horological movement that powers this exceptional Grande Complication is the Caliber 945, built with 570 individually finished and assembled components — and each is more alluring than the next. Of course, no one would expect any less from this legendary master of horology.
Let’s start with a tour of the complications chocked into this watch. To begin with, there is an orbital tourbillon — so instead of a one-minute tourbillon cage/escapement viewed via an aperture on the dial as in most tourbillon timepieces, this watch has an orbital flying tourbillon that turns on its own axis every 60 seconds and makes a complete counter-clockwise rotation of the dial once every sidereal day. The Sidereal day, which is based on Earths’ rotation relative to the fixed stars (23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds), is slightly shorter than the solar day that we base our 24-hour timekeeping on.
Additionally, the minute repeater in this watch uses the brand’s proprietary high-tech crystal gongs — invented 15 years ago in 2005 and made of synthetic sapphire — that offer the ultimate sound when chiming the hours, the quarter hours past the hour, and the minutes past the quarter hours. The crystal gongs are attached directly to the dial crystal instead of the case side to further induce clear and strong sound. The system is equipped with a patented silent strike governor that eliminates background noise — allowing for “clear as a bell” chiming.
An astronomical delight as well as an audible and visual delight, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grand Tradition Grande Complication boasts a celestial star chart with constellations in the northern hemisphere, the aforementioned sidereal time indication, and a golden sun-shaped pointer that indicates date, month, signs of the zodiac and 24-hour scale (marked on the inner flange of the dial).
The Design Of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grand Tradition Grande Complication
As mentioned, there are two version of the Grande Complication watch — each created in an incredibly limited edition of just eight pieces. One model is crafted in 5 N 18-karat rose gold with rich slate-gray-colored dial (approximately $385,000). The second is a stunning 18-karat white gold version with a mesmerizing blue dial and a bezel set with 44 baguette-cut diamonds weighing 3.76 carats (approximately $475,000).
The dial of the Grande Complication is a multiple-level dial that offers depth and beauty — especially in the blue version where the celestial theme seems to really resonate thanks to the starry pattern and constellations against the blue. A filigree gold outer structure echoes the constellation partners. The star chart depicts the Northern Hemisphere as seen from the latitude of the Valley de Joux in Switzerland — where Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded in 1833.
Personally, my favorite version is the blue one — and not because it has diamonds. I love it because it beautifully recalls the sky with its rich tones. For me, it would be fine without the diamonds — but what’s a little extra sparkle on a significant watch? Some may ask, “why does all of this matter?”. The answer is simple: we must keep progressing, innovating and envisioning the future in order to make it happen. Jaeger-LeCoultre seems to know that very well.
Technical Specifications of the Master Grand Tradition Grande Complication
Dimensions: 45 mm
Calibre: manual mechanical movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 945
Functions: hours/minutes, month, 24-hour indication, orbital flying tourbillon indicating the sidereal time, minute repeater with cathedral ‘crystal gongs’ soldered directly to the sapphire crystal, celestial disc with star chart indicating the constellations in the north hemisphere
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case: satin, micro-blasted and polished finishes, pink gold or white gold with bezel set with baguette- cut diamonds (44 diamonds – 3.76 carats)
Dial: black dial with golden laser welded structure (pink gold version) or blue dial with silvered laser welded structure (white gold version)
Case back: open
Water resistance: 5 bar