The unveiling of a collection, in such conditions, is not an easy exercise. What to do? How the message will be welcomed when most of the people is living such an extraordinary moment, lockdown, fearing for their health and seeing Economy going down in a fatal way? People may have other priorities than watches, indeed...
Jaeger-Lecoultre opted for a partial unveiling of the novelties. More will come all along the year, for sure. But for the moment, the Manufacture opted for highlighting 5 new models, or more precisely, one iteration, the Reverso One which comes with a different dial, and 4 novelties, the Master Control Date, the Master Control Calendar, the Master Control Geographic, and the Master Control Chronograph Calendar.
When you read these names, you will tell me that these are not new models, at the exception of the Master Control Chronograph Calendar... The names don't change, indeed, we all know them very well, as they are classics in the catalog for decades, some of them, even, are modern interpretations of watches from the Forties, Fifties or Sixties, such as the Triple Calendar or the Geomatic.
The Ref 2721:
You can be deceived by these names, indeed. But they are true novelties. Why? Because they all have some common points, a new case, a new rose gold alloy, a new movement and some important technical improvements, a new dial ( for the Chronograph Calendar ) or redesigned ( for others ). And these are in depth changes, as we will see.
1/ THE MASTER CONTROL DATE.
Among the new Master Control watches unveiled here, this one certainly is the most understated, discrete, sober and intellectual one.
The dial doesn't show major changes. The hands are enjoying a different shape, the applied 6 / 9 / 12 seem a bit more centered, and that's all I see from the official pictures.
The case has been totally redesigned, and that is a major improvement. The new case gains in class and elegance, while the former started to be a bit outdated.
Look at this profile, now... Isn't that convincing?
The lugs are generously bevelled, which is another good point. And the bezel seems to be slimmer, too. A very good point, in my opinion.
The case size is 40 mm big, and 8, 78 mm high.
The other good thing is the movement. It still is the Cal 899, but deeply reworked, it receives a new silicon escapement and pallet, a redesigned barrel, and new oils have been used, among a few other things.
All that for what? For a substantially bigger power reserve, which is 70 hours, now. You certainly remember that Jaeger Lecoultre increased the power reserve of the 2019 Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar Guilloché blue enamel to 70 hours. It seems that the Manufacture is spreading that longer power reserve to other movements and watches!
2/ THE MASTER CONTROL CALENDAR:
Of course, this new version receives the new case, with the same dimension than the Master Control Date, but 2 mm thicker ( 10, 95 mm ), which is immediately noticeable on the picture:
So, I will rather focus on the new dial and the subtle changes, here.
First of all, the applied indices and hour markers are more centered. Then, the day and month windows seem ( I say seem because I have to see that in the real life ) closer to each other than on the former model.
The date pointer has changed. It is still red, but it is not crescent moon shaped anymore. The Manufacture opted for their logo. Nice move.
The second hand is blue now, to give more life to the dial.
Another detail, the moon phase has been reworked, and the thinner seconds ring, surrounding it, doesn't have the 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 indication anymore. I regret the mention " automatique " written on the moon phase sub dial. It was not necessary, and ruins the purity of this dial, a bit, in my opinion.
Now, the big change is the date ring... The date jumps from the 15th to the 16th, in order to come over the moon phase. A system which was first used in the Master Tourbillon in 2005.
As for the movement, the automatic Cal 866 sees its power reserve increased to 70 hours, as well, with the same technical improvements we detailed for the Cal 899.
This Master Control Calendar is available in steel, of course but also in rose gold, and here I have to add that the Manufacture chose a new alloy, with the addition of Palladium, to offer more depth and to avoid oxydation. This new allow is called " Le Grand Rose gold ".
One detail I like a lot, on the rose gold version: The red Day and Month. I wish Jaeger Lecoultre did the same for the steel version!
3/ THE MASTER CONTROL GEOGRAPHIQUE:
The Master Géographique is a classic for 20 years, now. It had different cases and dials, since its unveiling.
The new Master Control Géographique receives a new case, which is very close in dimensions to the Master Control Calendar, just 0, 01 mm higher ( 10, 96 mm ).
Those who know the Master Géographique well won't be disoriented with the new dial, as the overall design is the same, but with some details which are the following:
- New Dauphine minute and hour hands.
- The 12 / 24 hours of the night and day indicator is in blue.
- The triangle pointing to the selected city is slimmer.
- The cities window is shaped differently.
- The graduation of the power reserve is different, with a Red Zero, and with a more sober " power " instead of " reserve de marche ".
- My favorite detail: Applied 3 / 9 / 12, instead of just the 12, previously.
- The minute ring is totally different, as we now have a convex flange with applied hour markers which hug it!
- A Red 31 in the subdial dedicated to the date.
- The crosshairs of the subdial dedicated to the second time zone is removed.
And now we have a sunray decorated dial.
The automatic movement is the Cal 939 with the new 70 hours power reserve due to the technical improvements already discussed.
It is also available in Le Grand Rose gold.
4/ MASTER CONTROL CHRONOGRAPH CALENDAR:
With the Master Control Chronograph Calendar, we have a true new watch. A first for the Manufacture, the combination of a complete calendar with a moon phase AND a chronograph in a wrist watch, and I am not sure Lecoultre and Jaeger Lecoultre did it in a pocket watch.
A new watch, and a milestone in terms of elegant and classicism, as you will soon see through the official pictures I received.
Of course, this Chronograph Calendar receives the new Master case which is, like the three others, 40 mm big, but thicker, with a 12, 05 mm height.
The Chronograph Calendar shares the same elements of decoration for its dial: Sunburst dial, circular decoration for the subdials, heated blue hands for the small seconds and 30 minute chronograph counter, a new moon phase, applied slim triangular indices and 12, Dauphine hands.
This dial is a milestone in terms of elegance and symmetry. Another nod to the past, the pulsometric scale, which allows this watch to be called a " Doctor's watch ".
The chronograph movement is well known, as it belongs to the Cal 75x family, but here, with the triple date and moon phase modules. Automatic, of course, as any Cal 75x, this Cal 759 offers a power reserve of 65 hours. It doesn't receive the technical improvements seen in the three other watches discussed above.
Most probably an instant Classic, available in Le Grand rose gold, too.
I can't wait to see this Chronograph Calendar with a black dial!
5/ A new Reverso One: THE REVERSO ONE RED WINE:
A sublime Ladies's watch, this Reverso One Red Wine, but...
Sublime, because of the dial, which is really terrific with this red lacquer over the sunburst guilloché.
I am fine with diamonds, too. Ok.
The case as superb proportions. We are closer to the Reverso One Duetto than to the Cordonnet, with a 40 x 20 x 7, 9 mm case.
If there is a BUT, it is because of the movement, which is... Quarts, like in the Reverso One Cordonnet, the Cal 657. Ladies could have the choice between a Quartz and a manual winding movement. I regret that they have to deal with a Quartz only.
Here are the pictures.
As I told you, this presentation is just a first wave of unveilings, not the total collection for this year. I am sure we'll see other novelties in different categories, from the affordable to the exclusive, such as the new Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication, but that will deserve a different article.
What I like, with these 4 novelties, is that Jaeger Lecoultre reworked the Master Control Line, with this new case, which is much more elegant than the former one which needed to be refreshed, and these very interesting technical improvements on the movements.
It is a serious step, very consistent with Jaeger Lecoultre's philosophy.
For the rest, I am like you, waiting for some wow factor. Which may well happen in the last 8 months of this terrible year.
Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts,