Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Grande Tradition family is without a doubt considered as fine watchmaking at its very best. The meticulously crafted detailed decorations paired with the complexity and beauty of the calibres epitomises the Maisons true spirit of innovation. This year at Watches & Wonders 2022, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Métiers Rares® (Rare Handcrafts™) atelier has added a new artistic interpretation of the Universal Time – the Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948.
To begin with, this is the first time that a world-time complication has been united with a flying tourbillon, with the universal Tourbillon making a complete circuit of the dial every 24 hours – the length of a mean solar day. Needless to say, calibre 948 was entirely conceived, developed and produced within the Manufacture.
From the movement to the dial. As tradition has it, at the centre of this world timer is a map of the world that floats above the dial bed on a domed skeleton formed by the longitudes and latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. So not the traditional flattened world map. The outline of the various continents is cut from a sheet of white gold and decorated with champlevé enamel with refined miniature-painted details of major landscapes. Given the detailed intricacies of this watch, it truly looks like the world is on my wrist.
Beneath the dome is the vivid blue translucent lacquer applied dial bed over a wavy guilloché pattern, recreating the movement of the sea and the lunar influence on its tides. All this as the flying tourbillon appears to float weightlessly above the blue oceans, spinning in 60 seconds in a circular aperture on one side of the map. Truly an exceptional work of art by the skilled artisans at the Manufacture’s Métiers Rares® atelier.
The Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 is also quite simple to read. Each time zone represented by the name of a city is arranged in a ring around the central dial. Outside the city ring are two concentric fixed rings: a 24-hour indicator with applied numerals and rectangular indexes, and a laser-engraved minute track. Mimicking the rotation of Earth on its axis, the domed Earth map – together with the Universal Tourbillon and city ring – makes a complete 360-degree revolution in 24 hours, always indicating the right time in each city.
To know the time in the city you are currently in, simply refer to the hour marked on the ring adjacent to the city name as the time in that city’s zone. The Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 is equally simple to operate too. The time is set with the crown, which synchronises all of the time zones around the world. On arriving at your destination, set the local time with this crown itself. It will only move the hour hand, in one-hour jumps forwards or backwards, allowing the minutes and seconds to continue running accurately.
The case of the Master Grande Tradition perfectly complements the dial. At a relatively distinguished size at 43mm, the convex bezel of the Master Grande Tradition case contrasts perfectly with the broad bevels on the lugs as the hollowed-out lug sides add the necessary dynamic tension. With the different surfaces that are micro-blasted, polished and satin-brushed the play of light on this dial is quite intense.
Available with alligator leather with a deployant buckle, the Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 will be produced in a limited edition of 20 pieces.
To sum it all up, what we have here is a 43mm white gold world timer that is intricately crafted with an exceptional new calibre and a well balanced yet detailed dial along with being extremely legible and easy to use. I’d say we have a winner on our hands, well on the wrist.