Sponsored: New Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches Pay Tribute to Astronomy at SIHH 2015

Moon - Night Sky“Captivating” is a word that aptly describes the night sky over the Vallée de Joux, this secret hollow nestling in the Swiss Jura that gave birth to the Maison Jaeger-LeCoultre. Very few lights disturb its luminous beauty that remains imperturbably serene, softly enveloping those who take the time to observe it, accepting to reveal its secrets to them. The sky harbors the origins of time, while the sun, moon and stars are the keys that enabled humankind to tame this impalpable phenomenon. They are thus the be-all and end-all of horology.

In 2015, Jaeger-LeCoultre is keen to share its fascination for the movements of the heavenly bodies, drawing upon these inexhaustible sources of inspiration and using them as a privileged means of expressing its expertise.

Because they speak to the mind and the heart, calendar complications have the ability to fire the imagination. Lunar calendar, sidereal zodiac calendar — the very terms used to describe them are a voyage into a universe that stretches far beyond our grasp and yet governs us. Through its new creations, Jaeger-LeCoultre illustrates the phenomena observed by ancient civilizations and which punctuate our daily lives. The calendar year represents a complete turn of the earth around the sun. Moon-phases gave rise to the week and the month. The 12 hours represent the 12 decans visible during the night of the spring solstice. Minutes and seconds were adopted in order to facilitate complex astronomical calculations. By bringing them within reach of connoisseurs of fine objects, Jaeger-LeCoultre wanted the complete calendar and the moon-phase to occupy the place they rightly deserve in our daily lives.

Full Moon

To embody the magnetic beauty of the sky, moon and stars, Jaeger-LeCoultre opted for materials directly related to its source of inspiration, such as meteorite stone and lapis lazuli. Meteorites, the shooting stars that cross the sky while leaving a luminous trail, have been crafted by the artisans of the Manufacture with a blend of passion and determination, in order to reveal the beauty they have concentrated across the ages. The highly symbolic lapis lazuli was the favorite stone of ancient kings, who associated its color with the sky chart. Its deep pigmentation is indeed rivaled only by the infinite depths of the heavenly canopy. These rare and mysterious materials are an integral part in the design of the watches, while offering a singular experience through the energy and intensity they convey.

Since its founding in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has played a key role in countless landmark introductions, from the keyless lever winding system to the silent regulators that serve to enhance the quality of sound emitted by repeater watches, and from the barely one-gram Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 101 to the iconic Reverso, along with unprecedented concepts such as the Dual-Wing. Calendar functions have long since been part of the watchmaking culture of the Grande Maison, complementing other complications such as the tourbillon or the minute repeater. This year, they are expressed in their own right and thus find themselves resolutely in the spotlight. Above and beyond their utility, the very nature of all functions provided by Jaeger-LeCoultre is to offer the person wearing the watch an elegant scaled-down interpretation of the surrounding universe. Each of its new creations is destined to make the heart of devotees of fine objects beat a little faster. They can thus eagerly look forward to discovering models such as the Duomètre Sphérotourbilloon Moon with its infinitely accurate moon-phase display.


 Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Sphérotourbillon Moon

Whether it comes to the effects of gravity on the earth, the discrepancy that creeps into the moon-phase indication, or the impact on a watch’s precision when a complication is activated, the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Moon of Jaeger-LeCoultre invented its own solutions. The Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Moon, equipped with a moon-phase display endowed with a reliability stemming from lengthy research, it embodies the age-old wisdom of traditional astronomy as well as the inventive power of Jaeger-LeCoultre. A classical moon-phase shows a one-day discrepancy every two and a half years. For a Jaeger-LeCoultre Perpetual Calendar, that difference amounts to just one day every 122 years. The Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Moon is from a whole different galaxy, since when its moon-phase is properly adjusted, it is designed to remain accurate for a full 3,887 years.

For Jaeger-LeCoultre, pushing boundaries and daring to dream bigger is backed by the conviction that the fundamental nature of a watch should not be impaired by horological culture nor by technical feats. The Duomètre Sphérotourbillon is thus intended to be worn with pleasure. Its 42-millimeter diameter and its 14.3-millimeter thickness ensure a definite sense of comfort, while hinting at the wealth of talent lavished on accommodating such a masterfully accurate mechanism within such a modest space.

Astronomy lovers are passionate about the earth’s axis. Each planet spins around an axis that is never perpendicular to the orbital plane. The angle formed by the earth’s axis is around 23°. This natural tilt explains the successive seasons and it is to this posture that we owe the alternating weather patterns that delight us or occasionally upset our plans. This penchant is shared by the additional rotation axis that gives the Sphérotourbillon its true magic. As well as performing a full turn around the axis of its titanium carriage, the Sphérotourbillon also spins around a second axis inclined at a 20° angle – a nod to the inclination of the earth that follows an imaginary line stretching to Ursae Minoris, the polestar.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon Moon

One of the Duomètre collection’s most captivating aspects lies in the fact that technical performance does not override aesthetic appeal. While undeniably eloquent in horological terms, it is endowed with an elegance revealing considerable creative force.
Part of the strength of the design characterizing the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Moon, reworked to ensure even greater readability, lies in the symmetrically choreographed dance of the functions displayed on the finely grained dial. A shrewd observer will doubtless note that the moon-phase appears at 3 o’clock, whereas Jaeger-LeCoultre generally places it at 6 o’clock. A tribute to astronomy, this disc is made of lapis lazuli, a rock that looks as if it has landed there down from the sky chart. It features a dusting of stars echoing the moon, hands and hour markers, creating a two-tone ambiance also differing from the traditional identity codes of the Grande Maison.

A theatrical stairway, in non-treated nickel silver with a satin finish, forms an ideal stage for the rotating movements of the Sphérotourbillon while an opening in the side of the case offers another more intimate vision. Like a spectator with a ringside seat for this mechanical show, the wearer of the watch establishes a special relationship with its very own Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Moon.

Through the use of the Dual-Wing concept, the 2 o’clock push-piece serves to reset the small seconds at 6 o’clock to zero, based on the flyback principle. The distinctive feature of this particular flyback function is that it does not halt the operation of the regulating organ. In a classic configuration, pulling out the crown freezes the small seconds hand and the balance spring, whereas the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon mechanism allows the small seconds hand to return to zero and restart instantly, without the balance wheel missing a beat. No time is wasted between the stopping operation and the resumption of the regulation organ’s steady to-and-fro motion. The watch thus remains accurate even when adjusting the time to the nearest second. When it comes to precision, the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Moon is firmly engaged on all fronts.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon

For the ladies, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduces the the Rendez-Vous Moon, with its beautifully staged moon-phase display.

A symbol of time, the moon is the hourglass of water tides and of our biological clocks. It is also an emblem of womanhood, alternately viewed as wife, daughter or sister. Its fertile, maternal image nurtures our imagination. Is it the milky color conferred by the reflection of the sun – its husband according to the Incas – that has given it such a feminine aura? Others choose to see in it only the hidden, nebulous face. However, when positioned directly opposite to the sun that lights it up entirely, the moon shines with a benevolent radiance, illuminating the night with its full, glowing roundness. Meanwhile, its quarters serve to cultivate the mysterious aspects of its nature.

Jaeger-LeCoultre wished to share its fascination for the heavens above us with women who are drawn to the beauty of our universe. With them in mind, the manufacture has designed and developed a new model for its iconic feminine line. It has chosen to equip it with moon-phases, a traditional watchmaking complication that finds a new form of aesthetic expression in the Rendez-Vous Moon.

Moon-phases play the starring role, exuding an exceptionally powerful presence on this model. Generously proportioned and more radiant than ever, this display vividly reveals the creative freedom that drives the Grande Maison. As the days and nights slip by, the moon shares its precious information with the woman who wears the Rendez-Vous Moon. Full moon, new moon, waxing gibbous, first quarter or first crescent: each and every step in its cycle can be experienced live.

The decision to endow this horological complication with a degree of precision testifies to Jaeger- LeCoultre’s strong commitment to the development of its new movement. While a classic moon-phase shows a one-day deviation every two and a half years, the Rendez-Vous Moon is destined to remain accurate for 972 years – an eternity by human standards.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous-Moon 39mm

In this new creation, the pursuit of harmony was more relevant than ever, the aim being to preserve the expressive and distinctive characteristics of the Rendez-Vous line, while giving the moon a space commensurate with its decisive role in setting the cadence of our lives.
A sharp eye will immediately note that the crescent of the Rendez-Vous Moon bears a stylized hours arc distinguished by elongated numerals. It tops a disk affording a captivating vision of the heavenly canopy and occupies almost half the dial. The deep blue sky reveals the constellations and shines with a sprinkling of sparkling diamonds. The main highlights of this model, meaning the display of the passing hours and the calendar complication, thus divide up the available territory in a spirit of perfect equity – very much like the Rendez-Vous Moon as a whole, in which technical and aesthetic elements play an equally important part.

Mother-of-pearl was the natural choice to adorn the moon disk; the color and the shimmering iridescence vary from one type of mother-of-pearl to the next, but its emotional impact remains unchanged. Diamonds also take part in this celebration of light, since gem-setting is one of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s traditional skills. On the white-gold model, Jaeger-LeCoultre has opted to set the gems dancing along the side of the case all the way to the crowns, bezel and lugs, before unfurling in a glittering diadem above the numerals. The gem-setting thus creates a beaming circle of light both above and all around the watch. It is subtly modified in step with wrist movements. The two crowns are each set with an inverted diamond. One serves to adjust the time and the moon-phase. The other guides the moving star serving to personalize time. Sparkling on the chapter ring at the precise time chosen by the wearer, it represents a real-life or secret rendezvous that is truly hers alone.

Jaeger-LeCoultre offers two versions of this new model, in 36-mm and 39-mm diameters. They share several characteristics, including the mother-of-pearl moon disk studded with constellations and sprinkled with cabochons representing the stars. Both versions come on a blue satin strap. The 36-mm Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon features a dial bearing blue numerals that echo the deep shade of the sky. Sparkling with the radiant fire of 166 brilliant-cut diamonds, this model makes a perfect fit on the daintiest wrists. The larger, 39-mm diameter version of the Rendez-Vous Moon is matched by correspondingly enhanced sophistication. The generously sized dial provides ample space for guilloché craftsmanship. The sky of the Rendez-Vous Moon is adorned with this delicate engraving technique performed using a dedicated rose engine that requires a sure hand to create beautifully intersecting motifs. The resulting pattern is coated with a blue lacquer that induces a unique depth effect, drawing the gaze into the nocturnal expanses of the dial framed by a seductive row of diamonds. A total of 208 brilliant-cut diamonds play their part in the exquisite gem-setting.


 Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar

Another model debuting at SIHH, the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar, is distinguished by the virtues and indeed the very face of astronomy. Endowed with all the attributes that have forged the success of this line, it is also imbued with a seductive appeal exercising its own laws of gravity, thanks to the choice of meteorite stone to compose its dial. Whether it comes to fragments from asteroids or of even more impalpable origins in the comets wandering through the solar system, meteorites lend themselves to all manner of inner fantasies. Their ages, estimated at millions or hundreds of millions of years, defy our imagination. Their rarity is equally fascinating, since very few of them actually manage to reach the surface of the earth. Known as “shooting stars” when they light up summer nights, or “bolides” when they are large or bright enough to be seen by day, meteorites leave a characteristic luminous trail when entering the atmosphere, inviting one to make a wish.

Once they have landed on or been buried several centimeters into the earth, meteorites often remain unnoticed, except by the experienced eyes of those who make a profession of gathering them. Meteorite hunters distinguish between those they have actually seen falling and those that are lucky finds. Connoisseurs have long considered Antarctica as a sort of Eldorado, since the ice cap fosters a concentration of these stones that rise to the surface when blue ice is eroded by katabatic (down-slope) winds. This continent is however now the exclusive preserve of scientific meteorite hunters and any commercial exploitation is prohibited. On this new watch, the strange and fascinating meteorite stone used for the dial shakes up the traditionally pure, understated aesthetic of the Master Calendar. Composed of a single block of meteorite discovered and officially registered in Sweden, it comes from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar - steel

However, its iron content makes this material difficult to work with. To get an aesthetically perfect dial, this block of meteorite is cut into several thin plates in a process involving countless precautions, until the exact plate corresponding to the demands imposed by Jaeger-LeCoultre is achieved. Still in its rough state at this stage, the meteorite must undergo several preparatory phases before revealing the structure of its stone, which features a unique pattern shown by each cut.

The earth’s spinning on its axis determines the length of the day, while its rotation around the sun defines the year. Likewise, moon-phases – and the 29-day approximate gap between two new moons – are behind the duration of the week and month. Each major civilization has sought to convey through a calendar the various celestial movements it has observed. Calendar-related indications are among the most useful a watch can offer. Representing the iconic calendar complication, the complete calendar of the Master Calendar model displays the perpetual calendar by means of a long hand, tipped with a crescent moon, sweeping around a scale around the dial rim graduated from 1 to 31. It also indicates the day of the week and the month in twin apertures at 12 o’clock.

Finally, the complete calendar indicates the various moon-phases – new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter – in the traditional form of this emblematic heavenly body emerging from between two clouds and rising up against a star-studded sky. The cleverly mastered dial architecture ensures immediate and pleasing readings of the information, with hours and minutes shown by dauphine hands and small seconds at 6 o’clock. Everything is governed by a will to achieve the right balance between watchmaking expertise, aesthetic elegance and optimal comfort. With a 39 mm-diameter, this 10.6 mm-thick case is designed to adapt to the curve of any wrist. The concern for detail runs all the way to the very heart of the watch. The sapphire crystal caseback of the Master Calendar reveals the intricate workings of Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 866, and its delicate finishes testifying to the infinite patience and rigorous discipline of the artisans exercising their craft in the manufacture based in the Vallée de Joux.

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