Jaeger‑LeCoultre presents a new version of the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3, combining traditional artistic crafts with the rarely seen craft of meteorite inlay.
Encapsulating the core values of La Grande Maison, Jaeger‑LeCoultre presents a new version of the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3, which marries the technical tour-de-force of its signature multi-axis tourbillon to the finest of artistic craftsmanship.
In 2013, Jaeger‑LeCoultre first introduced the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 to mark the Maison’s 180th anniversary. Combining a third-generation interpretation of the Gyrotourbillon with an intriguing and highly unusual instantaneous digital display chronograph, it represents mechanical sophistication of the highest order.
But still, Jaeger‑LeCoultre wanted to do more. And so, this new version of Gyrotourbillon 3 harnesses the exceptional skills of the Manufacture’s Rare Handcrafts™ (Métiers Rares®) artisans to elevate the rare and precious timepiece to a new level. With various elements of the dial showcasing the traditional Rare Handcrafts™ of hand-guillochage, engraving and grand feu enamel, this new model introduces the rarely seen craft of meteorite inlay.
On the dial side, the intriguing geometric markings of the silvery-grey meteorite are complemented by the subtle glitter of deep blue aventurine and the glow of pure white grand feu enamel. This harmonious interplay of materials, colour and surface pattern is complemented by the warmth and richness of the pink gold case and dial details.
Found in Namibia, the Gibeon meteorite chosen for this watch is an iron-nickel alloy with an octahedrite crystal structure, formed by the cooling of the asteroid fragment in outer space over the course of billions of years before it crashed to earth in prehistoric times. The abstract geometric patterns of the intersecting crystal structures shimmer gently when the material catches the light, their irregular arrangement making every slice of meteorite subtly different from all others.
In addition to the meteorite inlaid on the German silver bridges, a disc of meteorite sits at the centre of the time display dial, surrounded by a ring of aventurine with applied indexes. On the chronograph display, an aventurine disc is encircled by a ring of white grand feu enamel, marked with elapsed seconds. The Day/Night display comprises a 24-hour plate on which two gold semi-circles are applied, one each for day and night. The white day section is decorated with hand-guilloché, hand-engraved sunrays and an applied polished pink gold sun; the night section features applied polished pink gold crescent moon and stars, set on a rich blue background.
Asymmetrical yet perfectly balanced, these three overlapping dials are layered, adding visual depth to the watch face – and, despite tempting glimpses of the movement, drawing the eye irresistibly to the tourbillon as it spins in space, with no immediately visible means of support.
It is on the back of the movement that the meteorite truly takes centre stage. A lively yet subtle mixture of colour and texture – blued screws, ruby jewels, the shiny aspect of the hand-chamfered and hand-polished jewel countersinks, bridges and plates, and the matt finish of the brushed borders of the German silver plates – offsets the abstract geometric patterns of the meteorite, which adorns all of the plates and bridges.
A skill mastered by very few craftsmen in the world, meteorite inlay requires a rare degree of precision and dexterity. First, the artisan must hollow out the surface of the German silver plate or bridge, to a depth that exactly matches the thickness of the meteorite fragment, leaving only a fine fillet of German silver at the borders. Once the new surface has been polished, the meteorite must be laid so that its edges fit seamlessly within the complex, curving borders and its surface lies exactly flush with them, to form a completely flat and unified plane. It is work of the utmost refinement and precision, measured in fractions of a millimetre.
Such exacting work complements the remarkable precision of the Gyrotourbillon mechanism. Exceedingly rare and complex, this multi-axis tourbillon comprises two cages, set at two different angles, turning opposite directions, at different speeds, with a blued spherical balance spring beating like a heart in their centre. In the absence of a tourbillon bridge, the cantilevered all-aluminium cages of Gyrotourbillon 3 appear to be suspended in space.
Hand-wound movement, calibre 176, incorporates a fully integrated chronograph, which displays the seconds on a traditional round dial and elapsed minutes on an instantaneously jumping digital counter.
Conceived and crafted for true connoisseurs of art and mechanics, the new Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 ‘Meteorite’ represents the highest expression of Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s codes.
OMEGA’s new Museum
The new Museum, housed in a striking steel, glass and Swiss timber building designed by award-winning architect Shigeru Ban, brings the OMEGA story to life through immersive movies, compelling displays and fun interactive experiences.
The journey to the heart of OMEGA includes a 360° history of time and a giant walk-in Speedmaster revealing the inner-workings of the famous Co-Axial Escapement. Along the way, visitors can unleash their inner Olympian on a 9m running track, explore OMEGA’s history of women’s watchmaking, walk across a lunar surface and enter the exciting world of James Bond 007.
Those wishing to delve into the details can follow the path of a 50m steel bracelet made up of 64 treasury windows.
To coincide with the opening of the new Museum, OMEGA has created a dedicated Instagram account – #OMEGAMuseum – and a fully upgraded “Extract from the Archives” service, which is now available online.
Jaeger Lecoultre & Amanda Seyfried
Amanda has established herself as one of Hollywood’s most captivating young leading actresses. As a talented singer, she can be seen starring in musical adaptations of Mamma Mia!, Mamma Mia 2! and Les Miserables.
During her visit at the SIHH 2019, Amanda was particularly captivated by the gem-setting technique, one of the Rare Handcrafts taking centre stage on the new Dazzling Rendez-Vous Night & Day watch that she was wearing.
On the occasion of the Shanghai International Film Festival, Amanda Seyfried presented Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s Glory to the Filmmaker Award to filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang and attended a Watchmaking MasterClass where she was impressed by the unique savoir-faire of the Maison:
At the 76th International Venice Film Festival, Jaeger‑LeCoultre was pleased to welcome Amanda Seyfried.
On the occasion of the Jaeger‑LeCoultre Gala Dinner, she wore the Joaillerie 101 Feuille, entwinning refined luxury and feminity.
Heritage Wonders: Lucky 13 & Polaris Memodate
Throughout its history, Jaeger‑LeCoultre has been driven by the spirit of inventiveness, its expertise rewarded with more than 400 patents, and its watchmakers’ technical skills and creative imagination embodied in more than 1,200 different calibres.
As these two rare watches from the mid-20th Century demonstrate, every decade has brought fresh ideas and solutions, reflecting the spirit of the times. Among the many changes brought by the 1950s and 60s – represented by each of these watches – were, on one hand, tremendous advances in technology and aerospace, and on the other, the transformation of diving from a challenging pursuit to a widely practised leisure activity.
A rare LeCoultre Polaris Memodate (1967): to be sold at Phillips Geneva, November 2019:
In 1950, Jaeger‑LeCoultre introduced its first wristwatch featuring an alarm and called it the Memovox (‘voice of memory’). As the model become one of the most desirable and reliable on the market, the company introduced different variations, including a date display, a self-winding version and even an alarm designed to time parking meters.
In 1959, noting that diving had begun evolving from a specialist pursuit into a recreational sport enjoyed by thousands, Jaeger‑LeCoultre decided to adapt the Memovox to the sea. The company realised that it could offer both a visual timer (on the inner bezel) and an auditory alarm (which also caused vibration against the case) for ultimate diver safety.
To do so, Jaeger‑LeCoultre created a patented, multi-layer case-back that optimised the alarm’s sound transmission under water. The outer case, with its 16 holes, allowed for the alarm tone to be heard and also felt on the wrist, while the inner case sealed and protected the movement.
Known in the United States as the Polaris, and in Europe as the ‘Montre de plongeur E859’, the reference E859 featured three crowns, each with the cross-hatch pattern characteristic of SuperCompressor watches. The first crown is for time setting, the second rotates the inner bezel for dive timing, and the third rotates the central disc to align the arrow with the alarm time.
The example being offered by Phillips was made in 1967 for the American market and stands out from other models thanks to its very rare dial markings. While most of the dials were stamped Memovox or bore no inscription other than the LeCoultre name, this watch is stamped Memodate.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the Memodate Polaris is its combination of two apparently opposite aspects of watchmaking: the tradition of delicate aural complications and the needs of a practical sporting timepiece. In this respect, it epitomises the open-minded spirit of inventiveness that has created such a rich patrimony at Jaeger‑LeCoultre and continues to drive the Maison to this day.
The unique LeCoultre “Lucky 13” (1962): to be sold at Phillips New York, December 2019
The LeCoultre “Lucky 13” is a truly remarkable and unique watch presented by the Chicago Anti-Superstition Society alongside 13 U.S. Senators to an original Mercury Seven U.S. astronaut to commemorate his historic achievement of becoming the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth.
Featuring the number 13 at every hour marker, the watch celebrated the Friendship 7 spacecraft capsule used for the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. Friendship 7 was the 13th space capsule produced by McDonnell Aircraft Corp, and the 13s on the dial were used to illustrate the society’s rejection of the number 13 as unlucky.
The ceremony, taking place on Friday, April 13th, 1962, was entered in the House Congressional Record on October 13th, 1962. The consignor intends to donate a portion of the proceeds of the sale of this watch to The John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
As well as demonstrating Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s technical expertise, the deep meaning and personal connections behind the story of these unique timepieces remind us that watches have always had social and emotional significance – which sometimes even overrides their practical purpose.
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