Jaeger-LeCoultre has unveiled a new minute repeater with perpetual calendar that the company says “brings new levels of excellence to its mastery of chiming watches”. The Master Grande Tradition Répétition Minutes Perpétuelle has entirely redesigned gongs in order to replicate the volume and acoustic quality of antique pocket watches.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has a rich history of chiming watches going back to 1895, when it was awarded a patent for the world’s first silent strike regulator. The company has built on this reputation and in recent years has focused efforts on increasing the sound quality but also wearability of its repeaters.
This is apparent in how much they have managed to fit into such a small package. Despite the component-heavy complications, a surprising thing about the new minute repeater is how much they have managed to fit into such a compact package, with a case measuring just 43mm across, with a height of 13.72mm.
The newly designed white gold case comprising more than 80 separate hand-finished parts, with a deeply convex bezel and broad bevels on the lugs to the smoothly tapered minute repeater slide.
The compact dimensions are all the more surprising given the fact that the watch is also automatic winding. Jaeger-LeCoultre has made automatic minute repeaters before, but they are rare exception. The addition of a winding rotor also means taking up more precious case space, but here a mastery of positioning is key. In the new minute repeater, the rotor of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s calibre 950 is hidden within the calibre, positioned between the calendar and repeater mechanisms, so that it doesn’t obstruct the look of the movement through the exhibition caseback.
But this being Jaeger-LeCoultre, just as much thought goes into the details as goes into the engine. The solid white-gold dial is painstakingly decorated using an antique lathe, with several rounds of guillochage repeated to get the engraving to exactly the right depth.
The calendar counters are then laser-welded with steady-handed precision onto the dial before the enamel work is applied. The watch comes in two variations, one with a neoclassical silver-grain dial, and one with a deep blue translucent guilloché enamel dial.
Each is available in a limited edition of 30 pieces.