The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 was first introduced in 2013, marking the 180th anniversary of this storied manufacture with a one-two combo of unique technical innovations that are a worthy reflection of the manufacture’s illustrious 180 years.
One of its signature complications is the digital/jumping display for elapsed minutes, which remains as rare and exotic today as it is intuitive to use. The other tech knockout that lives on the dial is the third generation Gyrotourbillon which gives the watch its name. Going the extra mile by every metric, the Gyrotourbillon is a multi-axis tourbillon comprising two cages inclined at different angles, spinning a blued spherical balance spring at different speeds in opposite directions. The warp engine of the Event Horizon comes to mind, that fictitious space exploration vessel in the 1997 sci-fi horror classic of the same name. Unlike the warp engine in the movie, the similarly hypnotic Gyrotourbillon takes the viewer to a very good place, of rapturous mechanical poetry.
Besides the technical innovations, the Gyrotourbillon 3 also showcased Jaeger-LeCoultre’s broad repertoire of traditional handcraft skills, with artisans from the manufacture’s Rare Handcrafts division dressing the Gyrotourbillon 3 with hand-guillochage, engraving, and grand feu enamel on the dial.
Six years on, Jaeger-LeCoultre has released a new edition of the Gyrotourbillon 3, adding meteorite inlay to the complement of decorative arts listed above. In this 2019 edition which is limited to just 8 pieces, grand feu enamel encircles the chronograph subdial, contrasting beautifully with the deep blue of aventurine at the centre. This order is reversed in the hour/minute subdial at ‘12’: with aventurine on the perimeter bearing applied hour markers in gold, the center is a Gibeon meteorite disc of slate grey with random geometric patterns that render each watch practically a unique piece.
While meteorite dials are not exceptionally rare, Jaeger-LeCoultre has taken the unusual route of additionally using the meteorite as an inlay for the movement’s plates and bridges. This requires hollowing out the German silver plate/bridge to an exact depth to match the thickness of the meteorite fragment, which must also fit the complex, curving outlines of the hollows. Everything must fit, flush and perfect.
The infusion of blue and gold pulls most of the weight in distancing this edition from the 2013 model; but the slate grey meteorite fills in just enough to moderate the stark white of grand feu enamel, in a thoroughly fresh iteration brimming with luxury and sophistication.
Manual-wind Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 176; chronograph with digital display of minutes; multi-axis tourbillon; power reserve of 45 hours
43.5mm pink gold case; display caseback; water resistant to 50m