For class and confidence it is hard to beat a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master collection timepiece. When I say this I mean two things. First of all, these are formal timepieces meant for fancy occasions and suits. A smart person could pull it off casually, but this is an elegant creation before it is a sport watch for sure. Second, the design, movement, and overall pedigree elicits a sense of confidence. Jaeger-LeCoultre not only makes their own movements, but also makes their own cases. They do so very well, and the competency of a watch like this is something watch lovers can recognize. It is a timepiece that just feels very comfortable in its own skin.
This particular Jaeger-LeCoultre Master is the 2012 Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche, an update on a watch with the same movement from a few years ago. The updated model is larger and has a more attractive dial. It also has the name “ultra thin” attached to it. A lot of brands are applying this term on even existing watch cases because thin mechanical watches are trendy. Pure marketing as far as I can tell because while these watches are more thin than sport timepieces, they aren’t any more thin than they would be without the added terms. Honestly, unless a timepiece is wafer thin does the rather ultimate word “ultra” need to be used? A term like that should be used when the consciousness is about to be shocked.
The model this watch builds on is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Reserve de Marche that was 37mm wide. JLC thankfully pumped up the case size to 39mm wide. Still pretty small, but a lot better than 37mm. With a thin bezel and less than shy lugs, the piece doesn’t look as small as it is on the wrist. From a naming perspective, the new model just has that “Ultra Thin” part added to the name. This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre will offer it in steel or 18k rose gold on an alligator strap.
The dial has been cleaned up and looks a lot better than the previous version. JLC uses all applied triangle style hour markers and uses properly sized dauphine hands with that great finishing that has one side being satinized, and one side being polished. As the dial is a bit larger, the subdials thankfully don’t intrude as much on the hour markers making for a cleaner, more legible look. The non-main hands are in blued steel – which adds a welcome color hint to the face as well. Though in essence, the dial is very much a carry over from the original watch from a few years ago – which isn’t a bad thing. This is an asymmetrical – though relatively balanced dial.
Inside the watch is the same Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic caliber 938 in-house made movement. Functions include the time with subsidiary seconds dial, date dial, and power reserve indicator. The movement has a power reserve of 43 hours and is comprised of 273 parts. Typical of the brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre finely decorates the movement, which is visible through the sapphire caseback window. The Master Ultra Thin Reserve de Marche is a fantastic piece for what it is. Comfortable and stylish, it is really a classy piece with a long-term appeal and just the right mixture of simplicity and complication. The only thing I would like to see is what it looked like with a strap that was fitted right to the edge of the case versus leaving a gap.