Hands-On: Angus Davies reviews the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche
This detailed review of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche includes live images, specification and pricing.
It is that time of year again when I gorge myself on mince pies and Christmas cake. For some bizarre reason I climb onto the scales each morning and compute how many ounces I have added to my total mass. The upward trajectory of the graph makes for alarming reading.
In January, I will be depressed at my size and perturbed at the prospect of dieting. Indeed, I am frustrated that my metabolism shares the alacrity of a snail and upset that, unlike some individuals, I am not naturally thin. Perhaps, to be thin, one has to live without certain things?
Recently, I got to grips with a svelte timepiece and pondered what had been removed to achieve its so-called ‘ultra-thin’ torso. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche has a case thickness of just 9.85mm.
The lovely people at Jaeger-LeCoultre invited me to wear this slim watch for a few weeks in order to establish what it is like to live with a slender companion on a day-to-day basis. In this report, I reveal my kiss and tell account of life with the Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche.
Blue dials have become commonplace in recent years, with several watch companies offering a selection of shades to choose from. However, I have never found a dial which exhibits this particular tonal shade of blue. The blue dial epidermis evinces tinctures of royal blue and purple. Furthermore, the dial surface cajoles the light, creating rich hues and pale shades. Admiring this dial can prove rather hypnotic.
The silver Dauphine-shaped hour and minute hands gleam brilliantly with a charming jewel-like quality. The slender tips liaise with applied batons, articulating time peerlessly.
A pointer date display is positioned at 2 o’clock. The numerals are printed onto the dial surface, while the centre of the subdial is recessed and snailed. A second subdial is located above 6 o’clock, displaying the running seconds. The subdial features a cross-hair-style motif and snailed detail.
As the name of the watch implies, this Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece is equipped with a power-reserve indicator. The recessed display is positioned at 10 o’clock and employs an arcing scale.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has cleverly manipulated both depth and texture in order to imbue the dial with a notable amount of visual interest. Moreover, the dial is not only stylish but also highly practical.
Part of the horological terroir of the Vallée de Joux relates to the manufacture of movements. In particular, the region is renowned for making complicated movements and ultra-thin calibres. Jaeger-LeCoultre, based in Le Sentier, within the heart of the Vallée de Joux, is famed for crafting matchless movements.
Over the years, Jaeger-LeCoultre has made many complicated movements for use within its own watches as well as for various other prestigious marques. The maison is particularly known for creating ultra-thin movements.
Ultra-thin movements encompass an array of components, including the barrel, gear train, escapement, etc. all within a shallow sandwich of parts. Consideration has to be given to the positioning of each component, ensuring no two parts inadvertently snag each other. In addition, the movement must possess sufficient rigidity to avoid flexing or potential damage to moving parts.
Prior to wearing this timepiece, I had preferred my watches to be a little chunkier. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche is just 9.85mm in height and whilst this is not the thinnest watch I have worn, it certainly exhibits a neat profile.
After wearing this timepiece for a number of weeks I have succumbed to the charms of this watch’s slender waist. It nuzzles the wrist comfortably and its comparatively low mass affords a very agreeable marriage with the arm.
Another attribute of this watch is that it does not protrude far from the surface of the skin, hugging the wrist closely and, in so doing, not snagging annoyingly on objects.
The steel case of this watch measures a mere 39mm in diameter. Ordinarily, I would have dismissed this watch as too small, however, I have grown to like the diminutive stature of the Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche.
Having already extolled the virtues of Jaeger-LeCoultre and its movement making credentials, it is pleasing to see this watch is equipped with an exhibition case-back.
The golden coloured oscillating mass is open-worked and incorporates the Maison’s symmetrical logo. The oscillating mass and the bridges below are decorated with Côtes de Genève motif. A plethora of blued screws populate the movement, further illustrating that watchmaking traditions have been upheld.
The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH and the movement contains 41 jewels. The sole spring barrel is capable of storing sufficient energy to bestow 43 hours of autonomy. Despite containing an amazing 273 parts, the movement only measures 4.90mm in height.
It has been a long courtship ritual. Normally, I only date a watch for a week and then move onto another one. After several weeks together I have got to know the Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche very well.
The blue dial is truly exquisite, setting this watch apart from others. In addition, the dauphine-shaped hands majestically proclaim time with graceful poise and clear tone. The combination of the pointer-date, small seconds and power-reserve indicator confer interest without unduly cluttering the dial.
However, the wearer comfort of this Jaeger-LeCoultre watch is particularly worthy of mention. The ultra-thin movement and 39mm case diameter ensure the watch does not impose its will annoyingly on the wearer’s wrist. Indeed, this is a very comfortable watch to wear.
Lastly, despite its slender stature, the movement contains 273 components, each part is carefully crafted to pleasing effect. Here is a movement which is particularly slim but sacrifices nothing in terms of substance. Sadly, nature is cruel. I know that as January dawns, I will have to forgo many culinary delights to achieve an impressive ultra-thin torso.
Model:Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche
Case: Stainless-steel; diameter 39mm; height 9.85mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 5 ATM (50 metres)
Functions: Hours; minutes; pointer-date; small seconds; power-reserve indicator
Movement: Calibre 938/1; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 41 jewels; power reserve = 43 hours; components=273
Strap: Blue leather strap supplied with a stainless steel folding clasp
Price: £7,300 (RRP as at 30.11.2017)
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.