The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Enamel is an eloquent expression of La Grande Maison’s philosophy.
With their elegant proportions and restrained styling, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Ultra Thin collection epitomises the sophisticated dress watch and, in 2023, it is enriched by a magnificent new interpretation of the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Enamel. Contrasting with the fully polished pink gold case, the blue dial of the new timepiece provides a dramatic backdrop for the tourbillon and the date display, and reflected light dances across the sunray pattern of the guillochage with every movement of the wrist. The hand-guilloché pattern is a work of immense precision and skill: each of the 180 ‘sun rays’ required six passages of the hand-operated rose engine lathe, making 1,080 lines altogether.
Guided only by the eye and hand, the master guillocheur must ensure that every line is absolutely straight, evenly spaced and perfectly aligned, radiating out from the centre to the edges of the dial. In addition, the date sub-dial is hand-guilloché in a circular pattern (known in French as azurage) to create a subtle texture that contrasts with the sunray. This is another work of remarkable precision, representing more than 1,100 gestures in total by the guillocheur.
Once the guilloché work on the main dial is completed, the master enameller applies Grand Feu enamel in multiple layers – one layer at a time, followed by firing at 800oC and carefully managed cooling – to create the desired intensity and depth of colour. This is a newly developed shade of blue, created by mixing pigments in various proportions and testing the results – a lengthy process of iteration made necessary because the nature of Grand Feu enamel means that the outcome of firing is highly unpredictable.
In the lower half of the dial, a laser-engraved seconds counter provides a visual anchor for the tourbillon aperture; a mirror-polished pink gold bridge secures the tourbillon cage and draws the eye deeper into the mechanism, its transparency and lightness amplified by the contrast with the colour of the surrounding dial.
The strap is alligator in a shade of blue created to perfectly match the dial and, in a further touch of refinement, it is lined with small-scale alligator and fitted with a pink gold folding clasp.
Harnessing La Grande Maison’s Tourbillon Expertise
For Jaeger-LeCoultre, the tourbillon has been a key element in its pursuit of precision. Invented to counteract the impact of gravity on the oscillations of the escapement, it is a delicate mechanism consisting of the balance wheel and hairspring rotating inside a cage. Since creating its first tourbillon movement in 1946, the Manufacture has invented many new tourbillon configurations and different hairspring shapes – the latter possible only because it is one of the very few Maisons to possess the highly specialised skill of crafting hairsprings in-house.
The movement powering the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Enamel is the latest generation of Jaeger- LeCoultre Calibre 978, which won an international chronometry prize in 2009, the year of its launch. The calibre has been Jaeger-LeCoultre’s mainstay tourbillon movement ever since, and received a comprehensive update in 2019 to harness new technology. Comprising 77 components, including a titanium cage, it weighs less than half a gram and is equipped with a flat, two-level hairspring designed with a specific curve at the attachment points to help ensure that the oscillations are as regular as possible, thus delivering a high level of timekeeping accuracy.
With its dramatically beautiful dial and sophisticated calibre, the new Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Enamel is an eloquent expression of La Grande Maison’s philosophy of uniting technical virtuosity with enduring beauty and timeless aesthetics.
About Jaeger-LeCoultre – The Watchmaker of WatchmakersTM
Since 1833, driven by an unquenchable thirst for innovation and creativity, and inspired by the peaceful natural surroundings of its home in the Vallée de Joux / Switzerland, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been distinguished by its mastery of complications and the precision of its mechanisms. Known as the Watchmaker of WatchmakersTM, the Manufacture has expressed its relentlessly inventive spirit through the creation of more than 1,400 different calibres and the award of more than 430 patents. Harnessing 190 years of accumulated expertise, La Grande Maison’s watchmakers design, produce, finish and ornament the most advanced and precise mechanisms, blending passion with centuries-old savoir-faire, linking the past to the future, timeless but always up with the times. With 180 skills brought together under one roof, the Manufacture creates fine timepieces that combine technical ingenuity with aesthetic beauty and a distinctively understated sophistication.