Jaeger-LeCoultre: Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication 202017 June 2020
The Master Grande Tradition series epitomises Jaeger-LeCoultre’s horological ingenuity and creativity, bringing innovations and complications together in new ways. As the latest addition to this series, the new Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication harnesses more than a century and a half of accumulated expertise. This masterpiece of mechanical engineering, in addition to an orbital flying tourbillon, incorporates two of the most technically challenging complications in horology – a minute repeater and a celestial vault. This limited edition of eight pieces each in rose gold and in white gold features a new aesthetic.
Considered by watchmakers to be the most challenging of all horological complications to master, a minute repeater is not only a timepiece but also a miniaturised musical instrument.
One of the most important elements of a chiming watch is the way in which sound is transmitted from within the watch to be heard by the human ear. Capitalising on the superior acoustic qualities of synthetic sapphire crystal, Jaeger-leCoultre’s patented ‘crystal gongs’ (introduced in 2005) are soldered directly to the sapphire crystal, which acts as an amplifier. The square-profile gongs introduced two years later provide a flat striking surface for the hammers, ensuring more consistent and powerful strikes, while the additional material provides a greater vibrational mass and thus a fuller sound. The articulated trebuchet hammers (introduced in 2009) use a similar mechanical principle to the medieval counterweight catapults that they are named after, greatly improving the speed and force of the hammer strike.
Even the most beautiful chime can be marred by background noise – a problem that JLC resolved with its patented silent strike governor. Using centrifugal forces to regulate chiming, it eliminates the background buzz characteristic of older striking mechanisms.
Orbital Flying Tourbillon & Astronomical Complications
Compared to the first model, the new Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication in addition to the new-generation minute repeaters and the astronomical complications presents an Orbital Flying Tourbillon, integrated in the mechanism as a regulating device.
As well as turning on its own axis in 60 seconds, the tourbillon makes a complete, anti-clockwise circuit of the dial in one sidereal day. Slightly shorter than a solar day (on which we base civil timekeeping), a sidereal day is based on Earth’s rotation measured relative to the ‘fixed’ stars, which takes precisely 23 h, 56 min and 4.1 seconds. The sidereal day is used by astronomers to follow the apparent movement of the stars across the night sky.
A golden sun-shaped pointer set at the edge of the disc of constellations indicates the date, the month, and the signs of the Zodiac, as well as the 24-hour scale that is marked on the inner flange of the dial. Civil time is read on the two concentric rings that complete the dial: applied hour indexes on the first ring and minutes on the silvery-white outer ring.
The new Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication is offered in two 45mm versions: one in pink gold with black dial (€ 340.000), while the other combines deep blue tones with the white gold and baguette-cut diamonds, which are set on the bezel (€ 420.000).
A multiple-level dial amplifies the celestial theme while also showcasing the orbiting tourbillon. On the deepest level of the dial, a midnight blue or black disc (depending on the model) is decorated with tiny stars. Above it, a delicate filigree forms a dome, its structure echoing the pattern of the constellations marked on the convex celestial disc. The star chart depicts the Northern Hemisphere night sky, as seen from the 46th parallel – the latitude of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s home in the Vallée de Joux.