An entirely new design, the 101 Secrets is set with almost 27 carats of diamonds. The most precious Calibre 101 timepiece created by Jaeger-LeCoultre to date, the rivière-style bracelet features a new secret mechanism that enables the wearer to reveal the dial only when she wishes.
The 101 Bangle, first presented in 2020, has been reinterpreted in two one-of-a-kind pieces – one in pink gold with a red lacquer dial complemented by diamonds; and one in white gold with a snow-white lacquer dial complemented by sapphires and diamonds.
Originally conceived and developed for jewellery watches and introduced in 1929 by La Grande Maison, Calibre 101 revolutionised feminine watchmaking – its minuscule size and baguette shape offering new realms of aesthetic freedom to designers. Weighing barely one gram, the tiny, hand-wound calibre remains the smallest mechanical movement in the world to this day. It is also one of the world’s oldest movements to have remained in continuous production by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The tradition of secret watches dates back to the 19th-century, when pocket watches (then worn by both men and women) had cases with hinged covers – often richly decorated with enamel and gemstones – that closed over the dial, protecting the glass from scratches. As women began to wear wristwatches early in the 20th century, the notion held that a lady did not need to have the time constantly on display. Today, secret watches present a creative playground where jewellery and watch design are united to create pieces of exceptional beauty and genuine practical value.
The plural form of secrets in the name of this precious new timepiece refers to two elements of hidden magic. The first secret is the fact that this is a timepiece as well as a piece of jewellery: the dial remains hidden until the wearer wishes to see the time. The second secret is a new mechanism concealed within the rows of diamonds – a feat of micro-mechanics so tiny that it remains almost invisible, its position known only to the woman wearing the watch. When she presses gently on the hidden ‘button’, a small section of the bracelet pops open like the pages of a book, revealing the time on a glowing mother-of-pearl dial. When she releases the button, the dial disappears and the bracelet once again becomes an endlessly flowing river of diamonds.
For the two outer rows of diamonds, the gem-setters chose the claw setting – a traditional technique that holds the stones above the surface of the gold, allowing light to pass through them from every angle and maximising their sparkle. The larger diamonds are almost imperceptibly graduated in size and set in perfect symmetry – further testament to the gem-setters’ skill. The grain-setting of the inner rows of diamonds provide a visual anchor for the larger stones and, together with the diamonds framing the dial – visible when the watch is open – emphasise the Art Deco-inspired geometry of the design. Bringing even more light into the piece, the profile of the bracelet is also set with diamonds.
With a total of 1,024 diamonds (for 26.75 carats), the 101 Secrets represents a total of 182 hours of meticulous gem-setting, all undertaken in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s own Metiers Rares™ workshop.
For the design of the 101 Bangle, first presented in 2020, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers took inspiration from the sweeping curves and strong lines of Art Deco and 20th-Century Modernism. Set with almost 1,000 precious stones, the bracelet needs no clasp to hold it securely on the wrist; thanks to an ingenious hidden lock it can be opened and closed with a simple gesture.
For 2023, the Maison introduces colour to the 101 Bangle, presenting two new interpretations – each a one-of-a-kind piece. On a pink gold bracelet, a delicate red lacquer dial creates a bold contrast to the white diamonds and complements the warm tone of the precious metal. To heighten the three-dimensional effect of the design, the 996 diamonds (19.7 carats) are graduated in size and the gem-setters have employed both the griffe- and grain-setting techniques to maximise the play of light on the gemstones. Enhancing the sparkle even further, the profile of the bracelet is also set with diamonds.
On a white gold bracelet – the first time that white gold has been used for the 101 Bangle – the sweeping curves of the design are enhanced by a row of brilliant-cut sapphires, graduated in size and wrapping all the way around the wrist. The blue of the stones is amplified by a row of sapphires set into the profile of the bracelet and enhanced by the cool tones of white diamonds, white gold and a snow-white lacquer dial. With 347 sapphires (10.29 cts) and 645 diamonds (10.99 cts), this interpretation of the 101 Bangle represents a total of 21.28 carats of precious stones.