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Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As SIHH each year Jaeger-LeCoultre is on my short list of brands that I am very excited to see. Their booth isn’t design by people who work at Universal Studios, and their watches are cool creations that real people might actually wear. This applies to both their reasonably priced pieces and more exotic fare like this new version of the Duometre called the Spherotourbillon. For us Americans I have removed the assortment of accents marks in the words which add in that Frenchy flavor you get when JLC themselves to pronounce the name for you.

As a tourbillon there are two main differences here that make the Spherotourbillon unique. It was hard to name this watch because there isn’t anything really spherical about the tourbillon. What you have is a tourbillon that moves around in a special motion similar to that of those spotlight clubs rent to point into the night sky so that people flock there. It is a cool motion to watch in its gentle gyration. The tourbillon itself has a balance spring that isn’t flat, but rather cylinder shaped. It looks very cool in operation and is similar to conical balance wheels that I have seen before. I got to check out the piece operating under a microscope and was pleasantly delighted.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Taking pictures of this watch proved irritating. Not because of the watch but because JLC has some protective plastic over the front and back that made it hard to focus and the piece not look at soon. So forgive the ill photography but the piece is quite lovely in person and on the wrist. The base movement is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s dual-wing concept that uses two mainspring barrels. Each has a different purpose as one is meant to power the regulation system of the watch (the tourbillon in this case), and the other is meant to power the functionality of the watch. This concept helps reduce amplitude errors and is meant to make the watch more accurate over time.

The open tourbillon window looks like two wings to showcase the concept. On the rear of the watch you can clearly see the two barrels that are nicely labeled for your understanding. The movement and the dial are sort of separated into distinct zones. JLC is really a brand mostly run by watch makers and engineers – and it shows very much so in their design.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For the Duometre Tourbillon JLC created the Caliber 382 movement. It has a power reserve of 50 hours and is comprised of 460 parts. The movement finishing is beautiful and on part with what we have come to expect from not just high-end JLC, but most of their watches which exhibit great finishing and detailing.

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Functionally the Caliber 382 has a lot of features. Note that this version is a prototype and some small details will be enhanced for the final retail version (for instance the font used for the date will be larger). The watch has an off-centered time display, the date, power reserve indicators for both barrels, a second time zone in 24 hour format, and a unique stop-seconds function.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

That latter function uses a pusher at 2pm to stop and reset the subsidiary seconds display for the time. It is used for more precise setting of the time and works similar to how a chronograph resets itself. While not super necessary it is a cool function that will help prove that playing with the watch will be more interesting. The functions on the dial are easy to read but also attractive. You’ll notice that the dial texture and color are what I would call egg shell.

For this watch JLC chose a 42mm wide case in 18k pink gold case. This feels like a proper size for a watch with this type of complication. JLC also has a range of popular Duometre style watch that are a bit smaller at 40.5mm wide. Even though this is an exotic watch it is comfortable on the wrist and very simple to read. Very few brands are able to accomplish this while also being technically exciting.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaeger-LeCoultre will produce the Duometre Spherotourbillon as a production model without limitation for likely a few years. I anticipate that a white gold version will also be available soon. Steel? Not so likely. Price for this special new watch will be about $200,000 when it is released a bit later this year. Certainly a highlight of SIHH 2012.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon -Technical specifications from JLC:
Movement
• Mechanical manually-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 382, crafted, assembled and decorated by hand, nickel silver bridges and mainplate
• 2 barrels
• 50-hour power reserve
• 460 parts
• 55 jewels
• 10.45 mm thick
• 33.70 mm in diameter

Sphérotourbillon
• 105 parts
• Tourbillon carriage: grade 5 titanium
• Total rotation speed: 30 seconds for a complete revolution
• 2 combined movements. Carriage axis rotation speed: 15 seconds for a complete revolution. Carriage rotation speed: 30 seconds for a complete revolution
• Carriage inclination: 20°
• Carriage diameter: 11.50 mm
• Carriage mass: 0.518 grams
• 14-carat gold balance with eccentric inertia blocks in 14-carat gold, inertia = 12.5 mg.cm2 , 21,600 vibrations per hour
• Cylindrical balance-spring

Functions
• Hours (travel time), minutes and small seconds with flyback function
• Power reserves (indications and movement)
• Pointer-type date display
• 24-hour reference time-zone
• Sphérotourbillon

Case
• 18-carat pink gold
• Diameter: 42 mm
• Thickness: 14.1 mm (including the sapphire crystal)
• Polished and satin-brushed finish

• Domed glareproofed front and back sapphire crystals, hardness n°9
• Water resistance : 5 bars

Dial
• Crystalline grained
• pink gold appliques

Hands
• Hours and minutes: “leaf” type
• Small seconds: baton type with pear-shaped counterweight, blued steel

Crowns
• One crown to wind the watch, set the time (travel time-zone), adjust the date and adjust the travel time-zone
• One push-piece at 2 o’clock to activate the small seconds flyback mechanism

Strap
• Hand-sewn crocodile leather, 18-carat pink gold pin buckle

Reference:
• 605 25 20

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Comments

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  • Kris C

    Interesting. I assume both barrels are wound by turning the crown in the same direction, or would clockwise wind one barrel, and counter clockwise the other? In both the actual photographs and the touched marketing image, the PR indicators are showing different levels of reserve, so does one deplete sooner than the other?

    Maybe it is a trick of the lighting in your shots, but it would appeae that the beta model was completed without blued hands on the dial like in the marketing shot – this was the right dorection to take I think. I like blued hands, but on this watch, I prefer the blueing to stay with the screws in the movement.

  • cluedog12

    Great video – the watch appears more “real” in your quick & dirty video than it does in the promotional video. It has everything – dual time zone, disco-club tourbillon and a fly-back seconds that probably exists for no other reason than to give the owner something interactive to play with at his whimsy. I especially appreciate the not-outrageous thickness of 14 mm – this watch is only at moderate risk of being run into a door knob.

    Since this is a “regular” production piece, perhaps you could convince Jaeger LeCoultre to lend you the retail version for an extended on-the-wrist review? I wonder what it would be like to wear such a piece on a day-to-day basis.

  • JohnnyJohnnyJohnny

    Beautiful. And 42mm, too.

  • stephandufresne

    Well,,unlike our friend Ariel i’m really not a fan of Jaeger-Lecoultre timepieces,and I am not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings,,don’t get me wrong i do like high end products like most of the regular joe’s (99%) population,but i find ridiculous spending over four digit numbers for a tool primarly design to provide me time-day-date informations..

    Other than that it falls in the (1%)

    Fantasy-luxury-unique objects of desire are always fun to look at and to investigate but most of the time soooo out of reach that the debate over ‘want vs need’ is always around the corner. On a personal note I don’t even find them attractive,ART and tastes are undebatable subjects,either you like or you do not,but when confusions arise one must stick to the basic,,,,which in this case is: ”what is the primary function of a timepiece,and which one is the most accurate…

    A good mechanic would love to have a ferrari f-40 but he’s to smart to invest in one,,they are to fragile,unreliable and require lot’s of fine tuning,,after a while he would end up selling it trying to grab what he should have bought in the first place,,,a reliable volvo,the low maintenance toyota or the pleasant look of a Buick Lacross..and believe it or not you can get them 3 cars for the price of a Jaeger-(oh look at me) Lecoultre..

    ohh well food for thoughts..have a great day everyone and thank you Ariel for the awesome post..

    • Kris C

      @stephandufresne Who wouldn’t put the reliability of a GM product over that of a (instert any other car maker in the history of Earth)?

      You’re comparing the longevity/reliability of this watch to that of a Ferarri, so let’s put it this way: Ferarri is to JLC Spherotourbillon as GM is to a 3rd grade sundial project consisting of a paper plate with crayon hour markers and popsicle stick marker.

      You’re a funny guy, Steve. Come back again.

      • stephandufresne

        @Kris C@stephandufresne

        lol Hi Kris,

        I reconcile,,You are correct ! as you can see i know little about cars and watches all together,perhaps i should stick with my son’s pokemons !! loll

        Take care and thanks for the reply,,have a super day Kris

        from freezing Quebec city.

    • Thanks for the thoughts Stephan!

    • cluedog12

      @stephandufresne This particular watch is not for the 1%. The Spherotourbillon is a halo product, designed to demonstrate the manufacture’s horological chops. None of the prospective owners of the Spherotourbillon are forced to choose between having this watch and owning a Ferrari (until their wives inform them otherwise). This is a product for UHNWIs (ultra high net worth individuals) who are watch afficionados – the 0.01%. I would be shocked if more than ten of these land up in North America over the production run. That is a shame, because unlike the Ferrari, you won’t need to break the law to enjoy this watch to its fullest on a day-to-day basis. Plus, it’s cool-looking AND readable, which is a surprisingly rare combination in this price range.

      • I’d like to aspire to become an UHNWI just so I can buy watches like this as though they were candy.

      • AtSeaWatch

        @cluedog12@stephandufresne Exactly. We’re talking about an item for folks who don’t blanch when putting $70K of fuel into their burger yachts in a single fill up.

        I’m happier when they support the watch industry than the oil industry.

  • Greblixx

    A high end watch with a very poor legibility. In my opinion, that ruins everything. At this price, they could do a better job.

  • AtSeaWatch

    There’s a wonderful balance to the dial and the movement. JLC is to be commended for the aesthetic as well as technical achievements of this piece.

  • Eliasviana

    extraordinário esse relógio, sou relojoeiro a quase 15 anos e não tinha visto este tipo de sistema, o balanço parece um pião, muito interessante!

  • Eliasviana

    posso pegar umas fotos? obrigado!