Unless you’re just now waking up from a coma, or have recently returned to civilization after an extended stay on a desert island, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre line isn’t new. Having been launched in 2007, the Duomètre is roughly as new a concept as the iPhone. Over the past decade, JLC has developed the Duomètre into a successful platform for showcasing their creativity and mechanical prowess within the confines of a generally traditional, classically minded, and complicated wristwatch. As the next step in their evolution, JLC has made the small but very noticeable change of fitting a dark grey magnetite dial. Available on three classic Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre models in pink gold, the dark dial is a small change with a considerable effect.
If you are just checking in for the first time since 2007, please allow me to fill you in on the important stuff. The world has realized that The Black Eyed Peas are (and always were) the worst, a bunch of really excellent people have died, some news is fake and the rest is terrible. Also, buy a TV, watch season one of True Detective, then throw the TV away. Don’t bother with movies, they haven’t made anything better than Lost in Translation. Okay, you’re caught up, the rest is small details, like fitting a dark dial on a few lovely watches from JLC.
As with almost anything from JLC, it’s hard to argue with the appeal. While the white and delicately textured dials we know and love have a certain old-world look that accesses the visual literacy of vintage chronometers and seemingly ancient pocket watches, the transition to a matte grey magnetite dial bestows a new look that is hinged on contrast. The contrast between the hands, dial layout, and metal elements on the dial all pack a considerable punch. Legibility is aided and, even for someone who may not love gold watches (me), the dark-grey on pink gold is a a subtle and confident look for a dressy watch.
The three newly darkened models are the wondrous Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Spherotourbillon, the classic Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Quantième Lunaire, and the clever Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Chronographe. We've covered all three models in the past, but a refresher never hurts. All three models are 42mm wide and feature hand-wound mechanical movements based on Jaeger-LeCoultre's Dual Wing Concept. As the Duomètre name would suggest, "Dual Wing" is a movement design that opts for separated gear trains, each with its own mainspring (power reserve). It's essentially two movements in one watch, one for timekeeping and one for the complication. Using the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Chronographe as an example, this means that the functionality and mechanical requirements of the chronograph do not affect the accuracy of the main time display.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Chronographe, using the JLC calibre 380, offers time, a 12-hour chronograph, a 1/6th of a second jumping measure, and a power reserve for each barrel (one for time, one for the chronograph). The Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Quantième Lunaire uses the calibre 381 with full time, a seconds zero/reset function, date, moon phase, a 1/6th of a second jumping measure, and twin power reserves. Finally, we have the calibre 382-based Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Spherotourbillon, which as the name would suggest, features a beautifully animated spherical tourbillon. With time, twin power reserves, date, 24-hour time, and a push button seconds zero/reset function for the small seconds, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Spherotourbillon is not just a pretty face. In fact, all three look pretty great with a dark dial, no?
A simple, almost insignificant change, but I think it gives this trio of Duomètres a welcome refresh. Magnetite or otherwise, a Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre is not a common everyday watch. Even for a brand that makes exclusively high-end watches, the Duomètre is something special, and the price reflects that. If you have to ask, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Chronographe has a price of AU$63,000, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Quantième Lunaire some AU$56,000, and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Spherotourbillon a coma-inducing €222,000. jaeger-lecoultre.com