New Watch! • 15 Jan 2019

Once in a Blue Moon: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel

by Blake Reilly

The clocks have started in Geneva this week with the commencement of the 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). This year, the esteemed craftspeople from Le Sentier in the Vallee de Joux have treated the horological community with a piece of exquisite watchmaking: the Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel from Jaeger-LeCoultre.

What firsts strikes you is the rich blue guilloché enamel dial – think the waters of a deep Swiss mountain lake at twilight. The intense colour is undeniably alluring from an aesthetic perspective. It is certainly worth noting that the dial is entirely hand-crafted by the Jaeger-LeCoultre master watchmakers. Indeed, enamelling and guillochage are amongst what the brand considers its Métiers Raresor ‘Rare Handcrafts.’ These crafts involve artisanal skills which have been passed down and preserved by the manufacture over many illustrious years of production. Very few companies can claim to make their timepieces entirely in-house, and their commitment to excellence in areas where others might outsource is testament to their expertise.

Behind the dial sit 245 components to ensure that the hours, minutes, seconds, date and moon phase functions keep ticking. With a power reserve of 70 hours you could take it off for almost an entire long-weekend before it once again requires your wrist – not that you will ever want to take it off. Operating on their automatic calibre 925/1, the watch achieves a stable 28800 vibrations per hour. Incredibly, Jaeger-LeCoultre manages to fit all of the above into an exquisite white gold case only 10.04mm thick. The 39mm diameter allows for a 5-bar water resistance of up to 50 metres, but this watch belongs in the boardroom rather than below-deck.

The watch – and its corresponding navy alligator strap – is limited in production to only 100 models. Though rare, Jaeger-LeCoultre have released a timepiece that is as technically splendid as it is elegant in design. The Master Ultra Thin line has been a staple of the brand for over two decades. Duly, the Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel draws upon that legacy and presents to the market a sophistication revision of a classic. Newly appointed CEO Catherine Rénier is clearly looking to refresh a company which boasts more than 180 years of fine timepiece production. In such an industry, reform is a tricky and delicate business – changes need to build upon brand heritage rather than ignore it. Fortunately, this new release does exactly that and so offers an exciting glimpse of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new direction going into the new year.

Blake Reilly

Blake majors in Politics, International Relations and Ancient History. Having inherited his great grandfather’s Omega Seamaster, Blake has since developed a keen interest in Swiss watches and the history behind them.

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