March 6, 2013
by James Stacey
At an event this evening in Las Vegas, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched their brand new Master Ultra Thin Perpetual, a svelte addition to the Master line of dress watches that boasts a full perpetual calendar in a case family that we all know and love. The Master Ultra Thin Perpetual measures 39mm wide and a scant 9.2mm thick, making for a thin and very wearable watch, especially for one that is host to both an automatic movement and a full perpetual calendar complication. Get ready for, among other things, a super desirable and very well-priced perpetual calendar watch with pedigree in steel.
There will be three versions available this summer including not only options for both 18 carat white gold and 18 carat pink gold, but also a boutique-only steel case. The white gold case sports black nickel hands and markers while the steel-cased version will employ polished rhodium appliques. There isn’t a bad choice among the trio, all sport a polished finish, display case backs, and alligator leather straps.
The dial design is signature JLC and features a very legible and fuss-free display of the date (at three), the month (at six), the day (at nine), and the year in a tiny window between seven and eight o’clock. The year display seems like a bit of an afterthought, but in no way does it spoil the nicely balanced and proportioned dial layout. Finally, there is a beautiful moon phase display tucked away at 12 o’clock, which nicely integrates the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual with other models from within the Master lineup.
On wrist, the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual wears very nicely. Thin and unobtrusive, this JLC really shines thanks to its sizing and effortless wrist presence. Viewable via the display case back is the JLC calibre 868 which is comprised of 336 parts (including 46 jewels) and has a power reserve of 38 hours.
Of the three, I fell for the white gold model due to the excellent contrast between its bright dial and black markers and handset. Surprisingly well-priced for a top-tier perpetual calendar, the white gold model will sell for $34,700 with the pink gold version costing $31,600 and the steel (boutique only) model carrying a massively competitive price of $19,950 USD. While the steel model will likely be very hard to find, there is little in the way of equal competition at that price point. Jaeger-LeCoultre has a very appealing formula at play in the new Master Ultra Thin Perpetual: thin; legible; classically sized; and very well priced. We will update with more photos as they become available, until then, what do you think of these new JLCs?
UPDATE: Please see the newly added gallery for additional photos including a few shots of two vintage pocket watches that JLC pulled from their own collection for this event. The first, is a gold model from 1930 called The Knife watch and shows that thin is not a new trend, nor is it a new concept to the designers at Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Knife is powered by the LeCoultre Calibre 145 (circa 1907) which is just 1.38mm thick and is still the thinnest movement in its category. The second is from 1934 and boasts a full perpetual calendar and a beautiful “Grand Feu” enamel dial. It was a real treat to see these in person and have them on hand while viewing a brand new model like the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual. jaeger-lecoultre.com