Jaeger-LeCoultre has a long-standing tradition of creating highly complex timepieces that make sure that your heart skips a beat. Even without seeing the watch itself, their latest creation fills you with anticipation, in particular, because of the last three words of its name: Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel.
This means that the watch is equipped with not only a spherical tourbillon but that it combines this with a Westminster chime minute repeater, as well as a perpetual calendar. While this is an impressive array of complications, it is the way that they are brought together that makes this watch truly exceptional. In both a technical sense, as well as an aesthetic one, is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel a master class in how such a watch should ideally be created.
When designing a complex movement such as we find in this Jaeger-LeCoultre, making it functional and reliable is already quite a challenge. To create it in such a way that it is also visually balanced and enticing is a whole different ball game! When we look at the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, we see perfect symmetry. The blue guilloché enamel dial dominates the top part of the watch. In a very subtle way did Jaeger-LeCoultre integrated the perpetual calendar. The ring around the dial features a pointer date, with windows for the day and month displayed on either side. The year is shown in the middle of the dial. This is all done with such finesse that you would almost forget the complex array of parts that is needed to support these functions.
The same goes for the minute repeater, of which the hammers are also visible on the dial side. While a ‘regular’ minute repeater would have already pleased many, Jaeger-LeCoultre opted for the more complex, but arguably better sounding, Westminster-variety of this complication. This makes it chime just like one of the most famous clocks in the world, the Big Ben in London. The minute repeater also encloses the Gyrotourbillon, which eliminates the influence of gravity on its timekeeping precision by rotating the escapement of the watch over multiple axes.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has been able to put all this in a rather compact movement. Caliber 184 consists out of no-less than 1050 parts, of which 126 are jewels. The whole movement is only 8.9 mm thick, and that allows Jaeger-LeCoultre to fit it in a white gold case with a diameter of 43mm and a thickness of just 14mm. This makes it a substantial watch, yet at the same time enables you to wear it with comfort. This is something that not every watch of this complexcity can offer you.
For Jaeger-LeCoultre is the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, a continuation of a rich tradition, as well as a display of their vast capabilities. It also shows that the envelope of traditional mechanical watchmaking can still be pushed further, safeguarding the skills from the past, and applying them towards the future.