June 28, 2014
by James Stacey
When I first laid eyes on the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu only one question formed in my mind – Does it come with a tuxedo? I’m going to need a tux to pull that off. With a dial of super heated Gran Feu enamel, JLC has found a clever way of adding some visual flare to a very delicate and minimal dress watch design.
With a 39mm wide 18k white gold case, the Grand Feu is right in the sweet spot for a proper dress watch and, at just 5 mm thick, it’s not going to snag on anything but the tightest of cuffs. The dial is simple, elegant, and beautifully legible with dauphine hands and a subtle inscription of “Email Grand Feu” between the seven and eight markers (“email” is French for enamel).
An excellent example of an under-the-radar luxury timepiece, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu is the sort of watch that will get the attention of a true enthusiast or Jaeger collector. As if the Master Ultra Thin line was not impressive enough (being one of the thinnest manually wound watches in existence), this Grand Feu dial is exceeding complicated to produce, with delicate layers of enamel heated up to 900 C and laid by hand to lend a subtle but noteworthy artistry to the dial.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu uses Jaeger’s calibre 849, a handwound single barrel movement with a thickness of just 1.85mm. Comprised of 123 pieces, with a running rate of 21,600 vph and 35 hours of power reserve, this gorgeous and fully decorated movement is, for the sake of thinness, regrettably hidden behind a solid case back. A watch as thin as the Grand Feu, or indeed the Jubilee, would not be possible without a movement as impressive and capable as the 849.
With a top tier and insanely thin movement, fantastically thin case design, and almost needlessly complex dial ornamentation, the Grand Feu is going to tick a lot of boxes for the well-heeled collector, especially those that missed out on the limited production run of the Jubilee. Available sometime in June of this year, the inclusion of the complex dial enamelling makes the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu much more expensive than the Jubilee that preceded it, sporting a list price of $40,900 USD.
While that price might be little more than aspirational for most buyers, there is undoubtedly a market for anything interesting, noteworthy, and special from Jaeger-LeCoultre, and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu is all of these things in one very thin package. jaeger-lecoultre.com