Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Jubilee
This year has seen several watch companies produce ultra-thin timepieces with various complications, all seeking to identify a niche and earn the “bragging rights” to claim a world first. To the casual observer it seems the competing brands are embroiled in a game of horological limbo dancing, relentlessly endeavouring to reduce the height of their models.
This detailed review of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Jubilee includes live images and specification details.
A region with a history of crafting fine movement
Jaeger-Le Coultre has a legitimacy in the sphere of ultra-thin watches. The brand originates from the Vallée de Joux, a region in the Jura mountains synonymous with making watch movements of world renown.
Those who have visited the Vallée de Joux will know it is a beautiful location in the height of summer. However, the winters are challenging with cold, hostile temperatures. Historically, locals would make movements in mountainside ateliers during winter months which would ultimately feature in fine timepieces sold by Genevan based watch companies.
The Vallée de Joux has enjoyed a reputation for creating complicated movements such as tourbillons and minute repeaters. Moreover, it has also been held in high-esteem for its ability to craft ultra-thin movements.
Subsequently, watch companies were formed in the region, creating complete timepieces. Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded in 1833 and has been crafting fine watches ever since.
Jaeger-Le Coultre has arguably one of the most extensive catalogues of movements and has supplied some of the most prestigious names in the watch industry. Its immense ability at pushing the boundaries of horological innovation has never ceased. In 2012, the brand dazzled the industry with its innovative tourbillon, the Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon, which recently scooped one of the 00/24 European Watch of the Year Awards.
This year, as the brand celebrates its 180th anniversary, it has launched several new models including the show-stopping Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Jubilee. This watch is presented in the most noble of metals, platinum, in a “knife-shaped” ultra-thin case. It measures a mere 4.05 mm in height and is claimed to be the world’s thinnest, manually wound, timepiece.
Whilst the exterior of the watch is simply elegant and a model of restraint with hours and minutes imparted using dauphine-shaped hands set against a grained, silver-toned dial, the movement is an exemplar of micro-mechanical complexity.
An exceptional movement
The hand-wound, Calibre 849, is a scarcely believable 1.85 mm in height. Consisting of 123 parts, all refined to an exalted standard, the movement is produced and hand assembled in the brand’s complications workshop. The necessary skill to work at this level necessitates the talents of the most accomplished of the brand’s watchmakers.
Close examination of the movement reveals notable finishing including Côtes de Genève motif on bridges, blued screws and circular graining. It seems in miniaturising components, Jaeger-LeCoultre have not eschewed flawless finissage.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Jubilee is arguably one of the most graceful watches currently available for sale and ideally suited for a black tie function. Sadly, for some the price may prove elusively high. However, whilst the watch could not be described as cheap at £11,900, it does actually represent good value for money. If you contemplate its platinum case and its labour intensive creation, requiring the input of the maison’s most accomplished watchmakers, it usurps several more expensive timepieces.
- Model: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Jubilee
- Ref: Q129 65 20
- Case: Extra-white platinum; diameter 39.00 mm; height 4.05 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes.
- Movement: Calibre 849, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 19 jewels; power reserve 35 hours
- Strap: Alligator leather strap presented on a 950 platinum pin buckle