In 2020, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a new design for its Master Control collection. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Calendar watch in pink gold marks the second time the Le Sentier-based watchmaker followed that launch up with a new release — we covered the first occasion, a steel bracelet-equipped chronograph calendar from 2022 in this a hands-on that we’ll reference a few times today.

The all-steel version of the Master Control Chronograph Calendar from 2022 that we covered in its dedicated hands-on article.

As we said then, the Master Control is an under-appreciated Jaeger-LeCoultre collection, if there ever was one. It’s been around since 1992 when it debuted as the first-ever JLC watch to boast the 1,000-hour internal quality control test that, like the collection itself, is around to this day, and yet, it missed out on a major 30th-anniversary celebration and/or new models, which is somewhat uncharacteristic for Jaeger-LeCoultre. We called the Master Control “the base SI unit of a decent Swiss-made watch,” which it well and truly is — a watch of choice for many in their journey through watch collecting.

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Despite its 2020 re-design, the Master Control, and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Calendar watch in particular, remains a combination of impressive and somewhat dated elements. Firstly, it is positively thin at just 12.05mm-thick — that’s a very low case once we factor in the fact that it encapsulates a movement with a self-winding system on the back, an integrated chronograph and two barrels in the middle, and a complete calendar display on its dial side. Many of the Master Control Chronograph Calendar’s competitors have cases that are at least a few millimeters thicker without a full calendar display.

This is courtesy of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 759, a modern, 358-component JLC caliber that offers an extended 65-hour power reserve from two barrels, replenished by an openworked pink gold rotor. It is good to know that the full calendar is just that: A calendar that displays the date, day, month, and moon phase, and it is not to be confused with an annual or perpetual calendar complication. Those may have the same number of indications but they also automatically adjust for the varying lengths of the months (the annual calendar does not adjust for February while the perpetual version does). The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Calendar makes no adjustments to any of the calendar displays automatically at the end of non-31-day months, this can only be performed via the “secret” pushers that are flush with the side of the case. We criticized the steel variant fitted with a sportier steel bracelet for its 5 bar (50m equivalent) water resistance rating; well, this gold version maintains that but a gold watch on a leather strap does not belong anywhere near water, let alone in it, so this one gets a pass.

What is new in this version is the combination of an 18k pink gold case and a stunning black dial with gilt accents. Back in our hands-on with the steel version we said: “A few bravely colorful dial options, a departure from the wilfully 1990s typography that is dated and hard to read at the same time, would go a long way in refreshing the Master Control line.” Well, a lot of the dated and hard-to-read 1990s typography is still with us in this new reference Q413257J, but the overall presentation is nevertheless stunning. Real-world legibility tends to be mediocre at best when a dark background is met with golden or gilt dial elements, and the same can be said when dark red is printed over black, but we’ll reserve judgment for when we get to check this one out in the metal.

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Jaeger-LeCoultre, like many of its competitors, has not been shy with price increases lately, and that shows in this instance, too. The reference Q413257J Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Calendar watch is priced at $32,500, but then again, the steel version was situated above a lot of its competition at $17,800. Visit the brand’s website to learn more.

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