New Master Control models from Jaeger-LeCoultre
In 2020, La Grande Maison relaunches the collection introduced for the first time in 1992, drawing inspiration from the classic round watches of the 1950s, such as the Futurematic, PowerMatic and Memovox models, and adding a dash of 21st-century flair.
Rather than paying homage to a single historic reference, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents a range of timepieces featuring some of its most emblematic complications: a time-and-date automatic, a triple-display calendar with a moon-phase, a Geographic travel timer, and a chronograph calendar with a newly developed calibre – the first time that Jaeger-LeCoultre has combined these complications.
Designed for the urban sophisticate, every element of the Master Control line has been restyled. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers have harnessed and modernised the Maison’s classical design codes to create a refined yet entirely contemporary aesthetic that highlights the collection’s complications. A new case design heralds the introduction of a new pink gold alloy – Le Grand Rose gold®.
When launched in 1992, the Master Control line was the first of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collections to benefit from its pioneering ‘1000 Hours Control’ certification – which inspired the collection’s name. A demanding process that tests the entire cased-up watch (not just its movement), it set a new benchmark when introduced and has continually evolved in response to technological advances, to remain one of the watch industry’s most stringent testing protocols.
The Manufacture’s engineers have comprehensively revised and updated all of the movements, increasing power reserves to as much as 70 hours and enhancing overall performance and reliability. Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, the Master Control watches carry an 8-year warranty in addition to the 1,000 Hours Control certification.
With its 40-millimetre diameter, outwardly sloping bezel and dynamically curved lugs, the new Master Control case exudes a relaxed and understated elegance – timeless yet contemporary. Satin-brushing on the case-sides is complemented by the polished bezel, crowns and lugs. Refined details abound, including bas-relief engravings on the back bezel and a sapphire crystal case-back to reveal the finely finished and decorated movements.
On the dials, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers have reinterpreted the Maison’s classical codes in a streamlined and modern style, in order to highlight each model’s complications. The applied indexes add refinement, their elongated triangular shape echoed by the Dauphine hands. Uniting the collection, sunray brushing animates the silvery-white background colour, a blue central seconds hand adds a subtle pop of colour and, according to the model, blued subdial hands further accentuate the complications.
LE GRAND ROSE GOLD® – A NEW PINK GOLD ALLOY
The versatility of the new collection is underlined by the choice of two case materials – steel and Le Grand Rose gold®. Seen for the first time in the new Master Control line, the new pink gold alloy has a remarkable sheen and depth of colour. The addition of palladium to the metal’s proprietary formula (the exact details of which remain a closely guarded secret) guards against oxidation and ensures that the radiant colour will not fade over the years.
NEW CALFSKIN LEATHER WATCH STRAPS NOVONAPPA®
The straps, too, have been re-worked for the new collection. To complement the timeless informality of the steel cases, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers have chosen the soft, matt finish of Novonappa® calf leather in tan. Produced by the finest tannery in France, through a vegetable-based tanning process that retains the natural variations of the hides, Novonappa gains a distinctive patina over time. Thanks to a Presto Spring lug attachment and a simple clip for removing and refitting the deployant buckle, the Novonappa straps can be quickly changed, without the need for any tool. Classical alligator leather in black or chocolate brown lends a more formal allure to the Le Grand Rose gold® cases – which can also be fitted with Novonappa straps if preferred.
UPGRADED CALIBRES AND NEW COMPLICATIONS
With the goal of improving reliability, power reserve and long-term performance, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engineers have comprehensively revised and re-engineered Calibre 899, the high-performing pillar of the Master Control collection. The improvements, which have been incorporated into the entire range of Master Control calibres, include a silicon escapement, a redesigned barrel and various energy-saving enhancements. As well as these technical revisions, the Master Control collection introduces new complications in the Master Control Calendar model, and an entirely new movement, Calibre 759, for the Master Control Chronograph Calendar.
MASTER CONTROL DATE
With its cool, silvery-white colour palette, minimalistic design and refined details, the Master Control Date anchors the new collection. Thanks to its slim movement, Calibre 899, the 40mm steel case of the Master Control Date is just 8.78mm thick. A Jaeger-LeCoultre mainstay since its introduction fifteen years ago, Calibre 899 has been repeatedly updated to incorporate the latest performance-enhancing technology.
Revised again for the new Master Control collection, the latest-generation Calibre 899 features a new escapement and pallets: reconstructed in a slightly modified shape, they are made of silicon to minimise friction and thus consume less energy. The central-seconds wheel has been redesigned to eliminate shaking; the fixing screws of the oscillating wheel are made of highly resistant titanium, rather than steel; and new oils, specifically formulated for the new materials, have been used. In order to increase the power reserve to 70 hours, the barrel was redesigned to accommodate a stronger and longer mainspring without increasing the 3.3mm height of the movement.
MASTER CONTROL CALENDAR
In the 1940s and ’50s Jaeger-LeCoultre was renowned for its triple calendar moon-phase movements, and the new Master Control Calendar brings that tradition into the 21st century. With a case measuring 40mm x 10.95mm, it is offered in either steel or Le Grand Rose gold®.
The finely balanced classical layout of the dial is retained, with the dates marked around the periphery, indicated by a red-tipped hand, the days and months displayed in the upper part of the dial, and the moon-phase set within the small seconds subdial in the lower part. But there is a fresh new twist to the date display: as well as updating Calibre 866 with the same performance-enhancing improvements made to cal.899, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engineers have added a delightful new jumping complication. Every month, the date hand makes a 90-degree leap from the 15th to the 16th, in order not to obscure the moon-phase display.
MASTER CONTROL GEOGRAPHIC
Rather than indicating only the hour of a second time zone, the Geographic also has a 24-hour night/day indicator and, in an aperture at the bottom of the dial, displays the city name relating to the zone. This gives travellers the option of setting the second time by location, rather than needing to calculate the time difference. The dial adheres to the familiar Geographic layout, with time-zone displays balanced by a date subdial and a power reserve indicator, and heat-blued steel hands adding a pop of colour to enhance legibility. But now, the entire dial is sunray-brushed, contained within a wide, convex flange on which the elongated triangular indexes are set. The profile of each index has been shaped to fit perfectly flush with the curve where the flange meets the dial – a challenge to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s artisans but entirely in keeping with the Maison’s attention to detail.
The new-generation Calibre 939 increases the power reserve of the Master Control Geographic to 70 hours, while the case is available in a choice of steel or Le Grand Rose gold®.
MASTER CONTROL CHRONOGRAPH CALENDAR
The headline model of the new Master Control collection features a newly developed movement, Calibre 759, which combines a chronograph with a triple calendar display and a moon-phase. Brought together for the first time in a Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece, this alliance of complications evokes the ancient links between watchmaking and astronomy. The new Calibre 759 features a column-wheel chronograph with a vertical clutch, a moon-phase indicator, and a 65-hour power reserve.
With a balanced dial layout that combines the familiarity of two classical complications – a triple calendar and a bi-compax chronograph – Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers have made the reading of the displays straightforward and intuitive, despite the complexity of the information shown. The 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock is balanced by the running seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, while the day and month windows in the top part of dial are balanced by the moon-phase and date indicator at 6 o’clock. The entire display is anchored by the central chronograph seconds hand and contained by the pulsometric scale marked around the dial flange.
For the new Master Control watches, all mechanical movements are made in-house.