Jaeger-LeCoultre - Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication Venice

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25 September 2012

This beautiful watch, made in a very limited series, is a superb combination of watchmaking decorative crafts, the so-called Métiers d'art championed by Jaeger-LeCoultre, along with amazing horological complications. At first sight, the dial looks impossibly complicated, but in actual fact it has been carefully designed to make it intrinsically legible and usable. Its functions include the tourbillon, perpetual calendar, a minute repeater, night sky and sidereal time.

The case is in white gold, and it frames the blue lacquer dial with its astronomical and zodiac design. The one-minute flying tourbillon with silicium escapement and an ultra-light titanium cage is immediately visible on the dial, and it also serves as a sidereal indicator, moving once around the dial each 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds (the actual time of one Earth rotation). Sideral time is used by astronomers to record the position of the stars with respect to the earth. The small sun, on the other hand, moves around the dial in exactly 24 hours, so-called Mean Solar Time.

The dial is on three levels. The lowest is a disc that turns in exactly 24 hours, bearing the small sun. On this is a second blue disc showing the stars of the northern hemisphere. The flying tourbillon, the third level, is mounted on this.

The minute repeater is a Jaeger-LeCoultre speciality, with clear sound and Trébuchet hammers. The crystal gongs are attached to the watch glass, and the striking mechanism is activated by a slider.

All this is powered by the in-house calibre 945 manually-wound movement, with 527 parts. The case has a water resistance of up to 50 metres, an exceptional feat for a piece of this complexity. A true tour-de-force. And the price? In keeping with the watch's theme, one could be justified in saying: astronomical!