Jaeger-LeCoultre has recently added another refined watch to their Master collection: the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon. Whilst most watch connoisseurs do appreciate complications and even use the functions to an extent, the tourbillon has always been a controversial one. Don’t get me wrong. There is no debating the skills and intricacies involved in manufacturing a tourbillon. The question merely is, do you really need one? An ongoing debate in the mystifying world of haute horlogerie.
The new Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon, however combines two of horology’s most cherished complications – a moon phase and a tourbillon, with the addition of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s signature peripheral ‘jumping’ date.
Let’s start with the moonphase, clearly one of my favourite astronomical complications. The triple moon phase indicator, set on the upper half of the dial of the new Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon displays the age of the moon as well as its phases in both Hemispheres – a recent development by the Maison. A deep blue sky scattered with stars provides the background for a polished golden disc displaying the Northern Hemisphere moon phases in the most traditional way. Surrounding this is a ring with applied Southern Hemisphere moon phases on the left and the Age of the Moon on the right, each indicated by a double-ended hand.
For the peripheral date display the Maison chose Jaeger-LeCoultre’s signature ‘jumping’ complication. Every month, the date hand makes a 90-degree jump, gliding rapidly from the 15th to the 16th, in order not to obscure the tourbillon.
The lower half of the dial is dominated by the tourbillon. The new Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon houses a newly designed bridge in polished pink gold that then secures the titanium tourbillon cage as it completes one revolution every 60 seconds. The refined tourbillon bridge and wide aperture maximise transparency and light, drawing the eye right through the mechanism.
The Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon is presented in a case made of Le Grand Rose gold, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new pink gold alloy with a remarkable sheen and depth of colour that is highly resistant to fading over time. True to the classically elegant design codes of Master Ultra Thin, the case is fully polished, with elongated and bevelled lugs and a fine bezel.
Further accentuating the warmth of Le Grand Rose gold case is an eggshell-white dial, dauphine hands and applied golden indexes in elongated arrow-shapes. On a closer look however, you will notice different index profiles as the shapes are modified according to their position on the dial. To increase legibility and to add a discreet touch of colour to this new Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon, several key details here are marked in red.
For the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engineers have capitalised on the Maison’s mainstay tourbillon movement, introduced in 2009 for the Master Tourbillon – Calibre 978, to develop the new Calibre 983, with the addition of the moon phase and ‘jumping’ date complications. Beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph (4 Hz), the new Calibre 983 offers a power reserve of 45 hours.
Turn it around and on display is the finely crafted open-worked pink gold winding rotor, which features the JL logo and a combination of polished and micro-blasted surfaces that allow a clear view of the movement, with additional fine finishes including blue screws, circular graining and chamfered bridges. And of course there is the Côtes de Genève decoration that then complements the sunray pattern of the stripes on the main plate.
Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces, the Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon Moon carries an eight-year warranty in addition to the 1,000 Hours Control certification – one of the watch industry’s most stringent testing protocols.
My thoughts? While I am not entirely persuaded as to how much a tourbillon really contributes to the accuracy of your watch, the mechanism is truly exquisite. Like a little heart beating on your wrist! However, the amalgamation of a tourbillon with a moon phase and a peripheral ‘jumping’ date is a first for Jaeger-LeCoultre and that in itself is worthy of recognition. Not a groundbreaking introduction but most definitely a refined & romantic complicated watch!
Dimensions: 41.5mm x 12.10mm
Calibre: automatic mechanical movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 983, 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, peripheral ‘jumping’ date (from the 15th to the 16th), tourbillon, moon phases in both Hemispheres and age-of-moon indicator
Power reserve: 45 hours
Case: Le Grand Rose gold
Dial: eggshell with applied indexes and Dauphine hands
Water resistance: 5 bar