Chapter Four: Master Control and Complicated Reversos

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Chapter Four: Master Control and Complicated Reversos

A major player in watchmaking history since the 19th century, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrated 180 years of watchmaking, starting in its founder’s original workshop, in 2013, and continued to present new horological innovations at the 2014 SIHH. In Chapter One of our serialized history of the brand, we documented the years 1559-1907, and the founding of the Jaeger-LeCoultre watch brand. In Chapter Two, we covered the introduction of iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces as the Duoplan, the Atmos clock, and the Reverso, covering the years 1912 to 1931. In Chapter Three, we revealed the origins of the Memovox, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s groundbreaking alarm watch. Now Chapter Four presents some of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s more modern timepiece collections from the late-20th to early 21st Century, including the Master Control and the first complicated Reverso watches.

Equipped with functions that were particularly useful in daily life (alarm, automatic winding, time zones…), the postwar creations such as the Memovox, the Futurematic and the Geophysic have bequeathed their philosophy on the current Master Control line. Created in 1992, the latter marked a fundamental new step in the conquest of precision, since in order to deserve the title of “Master,” each finished watch must emerge victorious from a stringent battery of tests performed for a complete 1,000 hours, meaning around six weeks! In setting this new benchmark, the manufacture was able to draw upon over a century of experience. It based these developments in particular on the work relating to the high-frequency calibers introduced in 1970 and on the progress of the automatic-rotor winding systems introduced in 1959.

JLC 1000 Hours Master Control
Above and below: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 1,000 Hours Master Control testing
JLC 1000 Hours Master Control - Testing
JLC Master Control Calibre 889
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s automatic Caliber 889 undergoes the Master Control tests.

Embodying the ultimate in horological classicism, the Master Control line was soon enriched with creations equipped with classic watch complications such as the perpetual calendar, the tourbillon regulator, and the minute repeater. Click here to see the entire lineup of timepieces in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master collection.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar in rose gold

In 1991, the Reverso welcomed its first complications. The chronicles of the Reverso limited series in pink gold, and then in platinum, could begin: tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, retrograde chronograph. In 1994, and for the first time ever, the Reverso Duo offered two back-to-back dials displaying two time zones. Its baby sister the Reverso Duetto was created for women; its front evokes the daytime hours while the gem-set back celebrates the hours of night.

JLC Reverso Duo Ref. 2711410 - front
Above and below: both dials of a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duo watch
JLC Reverso Duo Ref. 2711410 - back
JLC Reverso Caliber 854
Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 854 powers the Reverso Duo
JLC Reverso Duetto Ref. 266_84_10
Above and below: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duetto models for ladies
JLC Reverso Duetto Ref. 2661120

In 2006, the Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque brought together civil time, sidereal time and perpetual time on three faces within the legendary swiveling case. As the first watch in horological history equipped with three dials driven by a single movement, the Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque interprets three dimensions of time. On the front, civil time is rhythmically measured by an ellipse isometer escapement. The back features an equation of time and the zodiac calendar. Its third dial is integrated into the carrier: an instant perpetual calendar is activated every 24 hours, at exactly midnight. Click here to view the current Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso collection.

JLC Reverso Grande Complication a Triptyque - front
Above and below: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Grande Complication à Triptyque, which debuted in 2006
JLC Reverso Grande Complication a Triptyque - 2 faces

In Chapter Five, next month, we take you further into Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 21st-century milestones, including the first Gyrotourbillon.