January 14, 2019
by Kenny Yeo
For fans of the tourbillon, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s mega Gyrotourbillon watches are the ones to look out for. These watches are usually the pinnacle of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s stable, often offering multiple complications to go with a complex multi-axis tourbillon. The latest Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual is the fifth watch in the brand’s Gyrotourbillon series, and it could very well be the most complicated one yet, combining a multi-axis tourbillon driven by a constant force mechanism with a perpetual calendar and a minute repeater that plays the Westminster chime.
Model: Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual
Dimensions: 43mm diameter, 14.08mm height
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Case Material: White gold
Movement: Calibre 184
Power Reserve: 52 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Blue alligator strap
Price & Availability: €800,000
Well, where to start? Obviously, this is an extremely complex watch but what’s really impressive to me is the attention to detail that Jaeger-LeCoultre paid to wearability and legibility. The white gold case is just 43mm in diameter and 14mm thick, which is incredible when you consider how complicated and intricate the movement is. Furthermore, the watch is easy to read. Time is read off a traditional looking dial at 12 o’clock; the date is shown by a pointer; and the day of the week, year, and month are shown digitally by evenly positioned apertures across the dial. You can get it with a blue guilloche enamel dial or a silver grained dial. Rounding out the dial is the multi-axis tourbillon at 6 o’clock which is flanked by the two hammers. There is a pleasing symmetry to the dial that you often don’t see in super complicated watches.
Speaking of hammers, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual’s striking mechanism is quite unique. Using lessons learned from the Hybris Mechanica Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie of 2009, the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual’s gongs are crystal and they are welded directly to the dial crystal to enhance the sound of the chimes. Additionally, the gongs have square cross-sections which are said to further amplify the chimes.
Adding further complexity to the movement is the multi-axis tourbillon. For starters, it’s considerably smaller than its predecessors, which is how case thickness has been kept to just 14mm. It is coupled to a one-minute constant force mechanism. This achieves two things: 1) it improves chronometric performance by ensuring constant torque to the escapement and 2) allows for a one-minute jumping hand. So as you can see, this is a really thoughtful watch with pleasing aesthetics and a highly intricate movement with meaningful complications. Oh, and if you thought the dial is sweet, just wait till you see the case back. The movement, visible through a sapphire display case back and highly decorated of course, will blow your mind. Hands-on pictures from SIHH 2019 to come.
Based on what I have seen from SIHH 2019 so far, I think it’s safe to say that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual will end up being on a lot of people’s top 10 lists. It’s one thing to make a highly complicated watch, it’s another thing altogether to make one that is complicated, wearable, and aesthetically pleasing. For me, Jaeger-LeCoultre has accomplished just that with their new Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual is limited to just 25 pieces and as you would expect for an astonishing watch like this, it is priced at an equally breathtaking €800,000. Learn more at jaeger-lecoultre.com
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