The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic reviewed – with LIVE photos
Today Jaeger-LeCoultre officially launches the new Master Geographic. Monochrome had the chance to wear it for some weeks and brings you a review of the all-new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic in rose gold.
When we visited the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in January this year, Jaeger-LeCoultre presented an amazing number of very beautiful new releases. Just think of the Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea that we just reported about, the new Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 and several new models in the Master Control collection, including the Master Geographic.
It isn’t difficult to like the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic. Now this may sounds a bit blasé, but the Master Geographic made an incredibly positive impression. It’s elegant, chic and a bit casual at the same time, meaning it goes perfectly with suit and with jeans. With a size of only 39 mm in diameter it might seem like a small watch, however the size is perfect for this type of watch. The Master Geographic has serious ‘wrist presence’.
Every brand has it’s own colors of gold and a pink gold watch from one brand isn’t the exact same color as a pink gold watch from another brand. While I usually (strongly) prefer white metals, like steel, white gold or platinum, the pink gold case with sunburst silvered of the Master Geographic that Jaeger-LeCoultre provided for this review, might well be one of the few watches in pink gold that I would wear without hesitation.
Let’s take a closer look…
The most significant feature is of course the second time zone, which is one of the easiest to read and adjust on the market.
There are several ways to display the time in another time zone. Watches with a GMT function are quite common and feature an extra 24-hour hand to indicate time in another time zone. There are so-called travelers GMT and office GMT watches. The travelers GMT watch has an independent adjustable hour hand, like the Rolex GMT-Master II and the Omega Seamaster GMT. On almost all other GMT watches, the 24-hour hand can be adjusted and this is particularly handy when you need to know the time of someone in another part of the world. I wrote more about the different GMT watches in this article about the perfect travelers watch.
The Master Geographic offers a second time zone that can be read and adjusted much more easily than on GMT watches. A second sub-dial shows hours and minutes in another time zone, and an additional small 24-hour display for the second time zone as well makes it easy to know whether it’s day or nighttime in the other time zone.
In the aperture at the bottom of the dial, cities in the world’s 24 time zones are visible. This can be adjusted to the time zone of your choice and the hour hand of the second time zone will be adjusted accordingly. The Master Geographic also has a sub-dial for the date and the remaining power reserve.
Hours and minutes of both ‘home time’ and second time zone can be adjusted with the crown at 3 o’clock, the crown at 10 o’clock is for adjusting the city-ring with 24 time zones and subsequently the hours of the second time zone. The date can be adjusted via a recessed pusher, which is located at 2 o’clock, at the side of the case.
The dial shows a lot of information, but somehow does not look busy. This is due to the used colors and dial layout. In the center are the hour, minute and second hand and in the upper right part is the date. In the middle of the lower half of the dial we find the second time zone and to the left of that sub-dial is the 24-hours (or day/night) indicator. Through an aperture starting between 4 and 5 o’clock and ending between 7 and 8 o’clock, the cities of the 24 time zones around the world are shown. In the upper left corner we find the power reserve indicator.
The silvered dial gets a warm, almost off-white, glow that matches great with the pink gold case. All sub-dials are recessed, but we have never seen so much detail in recessed sub-dials as on this Jaeger-LeCoultre! The date sub-dial has one recessed ring where the dates are printed and the middle of the sub-dial has concentric circles, which are slightly more recessed. The power reserve sub-dial also features several recessed parts and so does the sub-dial for the second time zone. We could try to explain, however the photo below shows exactly how much attention Jaeger-LeCoultre has put into the details of the dial. A superb accomplishment!
The pointy hour markers are made in pink gold and between every hour marker and the edge of the dial is a small dot of luminous material. Unfortunately it was hardly visible. The hour and minute hand are also executed in pink gold and are so-called alpha shape hands. One side of each hand has a polished finish, the other side looks like it’s micro blasted. This give a great visual effect to the hands and make it very easy to read time even in bright sun light. Both hands seem to have a tiny strip of luminous material, but during the test-period we could hardly notice it.
All other hands (for the second time zone, date, power reserve, seconds and 24-hour indicator) are made of blued steel. This provides a practical difference between the local time, something you want to see at first glance, and other functions.
The three-part case (middle case, bezel and screw down case back) is polished. The watch Jaeger-LeCoultre lent us for this review is made of 18 carat pink gold, but there is also a version made of stainless steel. The diameter of the case is 39 mm and it is water resistant up to 5 ATM or 50 meters. The Master Geographic comes on an alligator strap with a folding buckle, either in pink gold or stainless steel. The two crowns are beautifully designed.
Compared to the previous Master Control collection, the new models, released in 2011, have a slimmer bezel again. Models from the Master Control collection, like the in 2007 released version of the Master Geographic had a thicker/wider bezel and a larger case, with a diameter of 40 mm. Collectors always praised the slimmer bezel of the ‘older’ Master Control collection, so like many collector we are glad to see the return of this more elegant case with the slimmer bezel.
Inside ticks Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 939 that is manufactured, assembled and decorated by hand in the manufacture in Le Sentier, Switzerland. Jaeger-LeCoultre puts all movements of the Master Control collection to the test for no less than 1,000 hours! For our knowledge this is something only Jaeger-LeCoultre does and is proof of their dedication to deliver quality watches that lasts for a lifetime (or more).
Master Geographic models made before 2005 used caliber 929/3 and in 2005 Jaeger-LeCoultre changed the caliber of the Master Geographic to caliber 939. The Master Geographic released in 2007, with the larger case, featured caliber 937, of which I can’t find any data.Compared to older caliber 929, the post-2005 Master Geographic caliber 939 features a free-sprung balance and the rotor has ceramic ball bearings.
The movement has 34 jewels and comprises of 310 parts in total, delivering 43 hours of power reserve. The rotor has a 22 carat pink gold weight, as can be seen on the photo below. The finish of all parts looks very nice and it’s a pleasure to see such a movement through the sapphire crystal in the case back. During the test period the watch showed an average of +2 seconds a day, which is very good.
The verdict – pros and cons
The first thing we noticed and love about the new Master Geographic is the slimmer bezel and the slightly smaller case. This adds to the elegance of this watch, that so much suits the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand. The pink gold case is simply gorgeous and although I’m usually not keen on gold watches, this one convinced easily of its beauty. Unexpected but it goes extremely well with jeans and a nice shirt and it goes without saying that it also goes perfectly with a suit and tie.
Yes, we do have a minor point of criticism. The luminous material of both the hands and the small dots besides the hour markers was hardly noticeable. We think reading time in the dark with this type of watch, is not a necessity, so leaving the luminous material out of the picture would be no problem. However if the luminous material is applied, it should be visible during the darker hours of day.
We where absolutely thrilled about the superb attention to detail on the dial design with the multi-layer recessed sub-dials. Also the two sides of the hour and minute hand with two different types of finish, where a delight to see. Because there isn’t much contrast between the silvered dial and the pink gold, it was very easy to see the time, even in very bright daylight.
The case, strap, crowns, everything looks like it has been designed with very much attention for detail, adding so much visual pleasure for anyone wearing this watch that we absolutely adore the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic. One last wrist shot before it had to be returned to Jaeger-LeCoultre.
This article is written by Frank Geelen, executive editor for Monochrome Watches.