It runs in the veins of Jaeger-LeCoultre to create highly complicated and carefully finished timepieces. The company is also in possession of rare artistic crafts, which have resulted in breath-taking gem-set, enamelled and proportionally balanced pieces throughout their long history.
Jaeger-LeCoultre also has the tradition to consider women as intellectual individuals. Women’s models, being not just alterations of men’s models, are created with dedicated care and contain genuine ideas and complications.
Having experienced their recent collection at the SIHH, I grew a new love for the unisex steel anniversary Master Control family and deepened my admiration for the Rendez-Vous line.
The Master Control collection has been around since 1992. They represent the entry level, sleek line of the brand featuring pieces equipped with a manufacture movement. Beyond the jaw-dropping high complications produced in seriously limited quantities, Jaeger-LeCoultre proposes the Master Control line for the greater masses of mechanical watch lovers, who still care about finely finished in-house movements and captivating designs.
For the 25th anniversary the company rowed into somewhat new waters and produced three really hot and less-formal two-toned dial models. They succeeded so well that I risk calling them one of the top 3 success aspirants of this year from all brands accumulated so far. The three models are Date, Chronograph and Geographic.
Master Control Date
The simplest, yet my favourite is the Master Control Date, which upon a quick superficial look is reminiscent of the Memovox. The reason being is that the inner circle has a different treatment than the outer ring. But while in the Memovox that is a disc to set the alarm function with, in the Master Control Date it is just a characteristic grained design element. The outer ring is brushed and separated from it with a black circle with “spikes” in every 30 degrees. These point to the external circle of the ring, where the minutes scale is spiced up by a light blue tone in every 5 lines. The movement is the automatic 899/1, which has been serving the Master Control collection reliably. With its net EUR 4900 price tag, this has become the lowest entry point to Jaeger-LeCoultre watches.
Master Control Chronograph
Same style, however the number of circles are doubled gently but firmly for the chronograph displays. The chronograph minutes are shown on a 30-minute scale, while hours on 12. The blue tones are denser on the face of this piece as the chronograph numerals and the tachymeter scale are in this colour. It is still very balanced.
Rotation of the hands is performed by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first automatic chronograph calibre the JLC 751, which was introduced in 2004. The timepiece is a few millimetres larger than the Date, but it still sits nicely on the wrist.
Master Control Geographic
The third sibling shows a second time zone on a sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Below that, a corresponding city from that zone is revealed by the city-disk. Unfortunately, this cut-out breaks the continuity of the outer ring and – to me – somehow it weakens a bit the unity of the aesthetics. The movement is the JLC 939B/1.
The nonchalant elegance and ease of the new Master Control pieces for both men and women (especially the Date) matched with the reliable mechanisms and attractive price tags will elevate the line among the best-sellers, I believe. Although not limited in production, the company will only manufacture them for a few years.
The Rendez-vous has been one of my favourite ladies’ watches since inception in 2012. Their femininity cannot be questioned and to establish this requires no diamonds. Even if Jaeger-LeCoultre creates highly gem-set versions, it speaks to the intelligence via shapes, tones and precise content.
Although some of them use movements operating in men’s models too, such as the JLC 899/1 with the date function mentioned above or the JLC 978 with the tourbillon, there are others like the JLC 735 with an alarm which was directly developed for the Rendez-Vous line. This SIHH brought new sizes, colour versions and new movement in this line too.
Rendez-Vous Night & Day
The Large version (38.2mm) emerged in steel and rose gold versions. Straps are self-interchangeable without any special tools, which makes it even more fun. Yellow gold returned on the Medium Rendez-Vous, measuring 34mm in diameter, with a classic black alligator leather strap.
The Rendez-Vous Moon comes in two sizes, 34 and 36mm and in two metals steel and pink gold. Our favourite is the larger pink gold model with pink alligator strap and golden, satin-brushed dial depicting the constellation and the moon disc in mother of pearl. This amount of pink gold and pink colour could be overwhelming but Jaeger-LeCoultre managed to keep it beautiful and sophisticated.
The fact that the moon phase indicator lags one day per 972 years tells much about the JLC 935A movement.
Rendez-Vous Sonatina Large
A larger, 38.2mm cased and gem-set version with an alarm function was also introduced. The little star at the circumference can be set to a time when a discrete alarm would be sound. The quality of gem-setting and the play with the colour tones are fantastic. Two versions have become available: a white gold with a dial of amethyst shades and brilliant cut diamonds and a rose-gold version with silvered guilloche dial and diamonds.
Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
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