One of the sexiest new 2015 watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre wasn’t really a new watch at all, but rather the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar with two meteorite dial options, available in either 18k pink gold (ref. 1552540) or steel (ref. 1558421) cases. That’s right, you can have a sublimely classic “triple calendar moon phase” style dial from Jaeger-LeCoultre with a meteorite dial and a steel case without having to pay the the precious metal premium. So, let’s take a look at these two very appealing Master collection watches with “spacey” faces.
The meteorite used for the watch is very deeply textured, and according to Jaeger-LeCoultre, it is ruthenium-coated. The crystalline structure of the meteorite dial makes a surprisingly suitable background for what is essentially one of the most classic watch dial designs that we see in calendar watches. You can find this annual calendar layout in a series of other modern watches, as well as scores of vintage timepieces. One of the reasons that this dial style works for the complexity of the meteorite texture is because the day of the week and month indicator are in windows, and the subsidiary seconds dial with moonphase indicator uses its own background. Around the periphery of the dial is a chapter ring scale for the date using a “pointer hand” with a red crescent tip.
Jaeger-LeCoultre, of course, also offers the Master Calendar watch without the meteorite dial in steel or 18k pink gold matched with a silvered face. Those look nice and all, but the added visual interest of the meteorite makes for a timepiece that is so much more unique and, in my opinion, compelling. A fair question to ask is “how much is the premium for the meteorite dial?” The answer is $2,300 for either version. So it costs that much more to go from the standard silvered dial Master Calendar to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar Meteorite. Fair price? It isn’t cheap, but I imagine printing on the meteorite is more complicated, just as it is to apply indicators and to cut it. On top of that is the fact that meteorite is a rare mineral, so it is of course going to cost more than a standard metal dial.
Jaeger-LeCoultre keeps the Master Calendar as a dress watch given its 39mm-wide case size and 10.6mm thickness (which is actually pretty good given the complications and the fact that the movement is an automatic. Super traditional in design, the cases are attractive, but of course, intended to fit more into an approachable category versus something more avant-garde. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar tries (and succeeds) to be something super conservative. The question is how does the meteorite dial affect that? An interesting question… my response would be to simply say that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar Meteorite watch isn’t any less conservative, but it is less boring. I am not saying the Master Calendar is a boring watch. I am, however, saying that watches of this variety are frequently referred to as “boring” by many collectors, given that their designs have been around for so long and are inherently not designed to be new. I would venture to say that this is probably among the least boring, boring calendar dress watches I know.
In my opinion, both the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar watch in steel and 18k pink gold are stunningly beautiful – and that is coming from someone who probably wouldn’t get that excited to wear the standard Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar watch. Inside the timepieces is the Jaeger-LeCoultre in-house made caliber 865 automatic movement which is visible through a sapphire crystal caseback window on the back of the case. The movement operates at a modern 4Hz (28,800 bph) and is produced from a healthy 305 parts with 40 hours of power reserve. There is a gold weight on the end of the automatic rotor and the movement design and finishing are unquestionably JLC if you know what to look for.
There is so much about the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar watch that is classic, we don’t have too much left to say in explanation of the design and concept. Pretty much everyone with some timepiece experience is familiar with the overall design of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master collection as well as triple calendar watches. The real addition is the meteorite dial – and even though it is just a slight change, it makes a big different in my opinion.
Of course, if money were no issue, I’d opt for the pink gold version with its high-contrast dial and really remarkable set of colors. For just about half the price, you can get the steel model – which makes it a difficult deal to give up – and from a design perspective, it isn’t exactly too shabby. Price for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar Meteorite ref. 1558421 in steel is $12,600 and the ref. 1552540 in 18k pink gold is $24,500. jaeger-lecoultre.com