Jaeger-LeCoultre launched its Master Control collection — the first watches to bear the brand’s “1,000 Hours Control” in-house certification — in 1992. This year, as the line marks its 25th anniversary, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents three new models of the Master Control Date, Master Chronograph, and Master Geographic, all enhanced with blue highlights.
The three Master Control models in the new collection, with their simple, vintage-inspired aesthetics, embody what Jaeger-LeCoultre calls “everyday utility” in their functions. Each is powered by an automatic mechanical movement, made in-house at the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux, and each features navy blue details on their dials — in the skeletonized baton hands, central seconds hands, subdial hands and numerals, date and minute track numerals, and the text for the world city indications in the Master Geographic. All of these blue touches are elegantly emphasized by the watches’ dark blue alligator leather straps.
The bezel and lugs on the stainless steel cases have a polished finish, while the caseband has a contrasting satin-brushed finish imbuing the case with additional charm. A similar contrast is found on the dials, on which a circular satin-brushed finish in the outer section sets off the opaline finish in the center. The resulting visual effect, of light bouncing off the dial at different angles, aids in the legibility of the indications, as do the simple black hour markers and Arabic numerals at the center.
The simplest of the three, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date, has the clean, rounded lines of its predecessors; its 6, 9, and 12 Arabic hour numerals have been retained while the 3 o’clock numeral has given way to a date window. This watch has a 39-mm-diameter case, a slender 8.5 mm thick, which contains the Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 899/1, an automatic movement with a 28,800-vph frequency and a 38-hour power reserve. This movement, with its 22k gold rotor, is visible through a sapphire caseback. The price is $5,750.
The Master Chronograph, powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s self-winding Caliber 751G, features a contemporary design with vintage influences. The dial’s bicompax layout has two chronograph subdial counters — for 12 hours and 30 minutes — at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock, respectively. The blue color in the subdials, which are enhanced with a circular guilloché motif, is echoed in the blued, stainless steel hands and in the tachymeter scale around the dial’s outer perimeter. This sporty-luxury timepiece has a 40-mm diameter case, 11.7 mm thick and water-resistant to 50 meters. Its movement offers a 65-hour power reserve. This watch is priced at $8,000.
At 39 mm in diameter, the Master Geographic is the most emblematic model of the Master Control collection, with its clever second-time-zone indication suitable for frequent travelers. The aperture in the lower section of the dial displays the names of 24 world cities — here in bright blue — representing all the world’s major time zones, while a subdial with two blued hands displays the 12-hour time in another zone in hours and minutes. The wearer adjusts this indicator with an additional crown at 10 o’clock. The circular guilloché pattern that graces the second-time-zone counter contrasts with the dial’s other finishes on the dial, including the opaline center and circular satin brushed outer ring. The signature blue color is also used in the small 24-hour subdial that allows the user to determine whether it is day or night in his home time zone. The movement, on display through the clear sapphire caseback, is Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 939A/1, with automatic winding and a 43-hour power reserve. The new Master Geographic will retail for $9,400.
Each of the three new Master Control models, of course, have undergone the battery of rigorous tests necessary to earn Jaeger-LeCoultre’s “1000 Hours Control” in-house certification — a process that was inaugurated 25 years ago for the first Master Control timepieces but which has since been extended to all of the brand’s models. Watches are tested in six positions over a six-week period to reproduce the conditions they will be worn under, taking into account temperature variations, accidental impacts, power-reserve capacity, and water resistance.