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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

‘Mastery of Precision’ was Jaeger-LeCoultre’s theme at the Watches and Wonders 2024. In this spirit, the manufacture introduced two new Duometre movements and all in beautiful housing, of course.

UPDATE – Following the debut of ‘The Precision Pioneer’ at Watches and Wonders Geneva in April, the next stops are the Geneva boutique 3–25 May and the UAE. Located at The Space at ICD Brookfield Place in DIFC, ‘The Precision Pioneer’ is open to the public and will run from 7–19 May 2024. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Made of Makers’ programme commissioned the two-Michelin-starred, Dubai-based chef Himanshu Saini to create the Precision Atelier, a new gastronomic experience dedicated to the science of ingredients. The Precision Atelier offers a specially created menu of tasting bites matched to perfectly paired drinks, that take guests on a true adventure in taste and texture. The exhibition arrives at the Zurich boutique on 3 June, you can visit it until 25 June.

I can recall one of the first watch presentations I attended more than 10 years ago at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. The reason it burned indelibly into my memory was that they left me play with a trey of mechanical wonders that included the mesmerising dual-axis Gyrotourbillon with it’s pulsating cylindric hairspring. With the sole purpose of reducing gravity’s impact on timekeeping accuracy, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first multi-axis tourbillon structure was introduced in 2004 and it has gone through multiple iterations since – the one in the aforementioned Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Jubilee was the third, and the latest fifth generation was issued in 2019 in the Master Hybris Mechanica Calibre 184.

The pursuit of precision has been an important driver for the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture throughout its over 190 years of history. Precision of a timepiece depends on a number of different factors including environmental (like temperature), or wearing habits, which the timepiece gives a behavioural response. Coping with one factor might result increasing the impact of another – for example, introducing a new axis the balance wheel revolves around introduces more moving parts and requires normally more lubrication, which might again go against precision or shock resistance. So striving for precision is much about a balancing act, and it typically goes well beyond a single unit – can you ensure the same chronometric performance in every single piece that leaves the workshop? Are they going to behave the same way under the same conditions?

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Jaeger-LeCoultre booth at Watches and Wonders 2024

Jaeger-LeCoultre dedicated 2024 and with that their Watches and Wonders booth to the multiple aspects of precision:

  • The Precision of Production: how do the development of tools and working methods contribute to producing more reliable timepieces?
  • The Precision of Chronometry: how can consistency be achieved throughout hundreds of model and production batches and centuries?
  • The Precision of Regulating Organs: how to achieve the best isochronism for accurate timekeeping?
  • The Precision of Complications: how to preserve isochronism even if enhancing functionality with complications?

Fitting perfectly to the theme, Jaeger-LeCoultre presented its new tripple-axis Tourbillon this year, along with other novelties in the dual-gear train Duometre line, and an improved performance in their Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual

The balance wheel and the escapement rotates on three axis in titanium cages in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new Heliotourbillon. Each tilted axis the balance wheel rotates around with the lowest friction possible aims to softening gravity’s impact on the balance wheel by averaging the impact in multiple positions. In the inner cage, the regulating organ rotates around the axis in 90 degree angle. The second cage is set 90 degree to the inner cage. These two are tilted at 40 degrees and make a rotation in every 30 seconds. The third, outer cage is perpendicular to the second and make a full rotation in 60 seconds. In order to reduce friction to the minimum in the 163 parts and 0.7 grams tourbillon, ceramic ball bearings were utilized.

The new heart was placed in a perpetual calendar timepiece in the Duometre collection. The Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual leverages the dual-barrel dual-gear train structure of the Duometre timepieces, which allows the separation powering the time keeping from powering the complications. They are housed in the same movement and are linked to a single regulating organ, the Heliotourbillon this time.

In the hand-wound Duometre Calibre 388, the added complication on the ‘guest’ mainspring and gear train is nothing less than a perpetual calendar. Hours and minutes can be set in both directions without compromising the perpetual calendar, which itself requires adjustment in every centenary years which are not leap years themselves (next in 2100).

The silver opaline dial is framed by the new 18k pink gold 44 mm diameter pebble-shaped Duometre case, the side and back of which is open to provide an undisturbed view on the revolving regulator and the rest of the movement.

Production is limited to 20 units per annum.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual
Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Chronograph Moon

The same case shape with no side window holds the new Calibre 391, a mono pusher chronograph with moon phases and night and day indicators. The new case draws the inspiration from the ‘savonette’ (soap) style pocket watches and its 34 parts are treated with various finishing methods, resulting a play of polished, brushed and micro-blasted surfaces. Blending nicely with the convey crystal, the bezel is rounded, just like the crown on the side.

The two new flavours include a platinum case with copper-coloured opaline dial and silver hands for all time and chrono functions, except the blued central chronograph second hand, and an 18k pink gold case with silver opaline dial, and golden hands for the time and blued hands for the chrono functions.

The time sub-dial is situated at 9 o’clock with a day-and-night indication within. The moon phases indication is inside the chronograph hours and minutes register is at 3 o’clock. The central hands are for the time (silver on the platinum piece and gold on the pink gold piece), and for the chronograph. Showing each 6th of a second, the ‘seconde foudroyante’ (lightning seconds) sub-dial gives added reading precision for the chronograph at 6 o’clock. Next to it to the left and the right are two hands indicating power reserve on each barrel.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Chronograph Moon
Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Chronograph Moon, platinum case with copper-coloured opaline dial

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Quantieme Lunaire (Moon Phase)

The last Duometre novelty is the first in the family with a steel case. It comes of course in the new 42.5 mm savonette shape and it offers a time and date function with moon phase indication over an opaline blue dial backdrop. Time is shown in the sub-dial at 3 o’clock this time and the related date and moon phase functions appear in the sub-dial at 9 o’clock. Unlike at the chronograph model, the ‘seconde foudroyante’ runs continuously in every sixth of a second.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Quantieme Lunaire
Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Quantieme Lunaire

Photo credits: Jaeger-LeCoultre. Loupiosity.com
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