One of the watches that was high on my wish-list, before larger sized watches became fashionable, is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic. Seeing these photos bring back some good memories and make me realize how much the watch industry has changed over the past 12 years.
When I started to become interested in watches and bought my first ‘expensive’ watches, a vintage Heuer Autavia and a TAG Heuer Monaco, these watches where considered rather large. The 44 mm sized watches from Panerai were considered HUGE and when IWC launched its Big Pilot watch in 2003 it was considered humongous. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic also grew in size, from 38.1 mm in diameter to a very moderate of 40 mm for the new Master Geographic that I reviewed last year.
That’s a rather conservative increase in size and I actually respect Jaeger-LeCoultre for not going overboard on this. Of course Jaeger-LeCoultre has collections with a large diameter as well, like the JLC Master Extreme World with Alarm. They didn’t change the Master Control collections too much. Something that I sincerely appreciate, like I stated in my articles about the Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire 40.5 and the Master Ultra Thin Moon and Master Eight Days Perpetual 40.
This older version of the Master Geographic, launched in 1996, measures 38.1 mm in diameter and 10.2 mm in height. Inside tick the manufacture caliber 929/3 that is actually the base caliber 889/1 with an added power reserve and multi-timezone complication. The movement ticks at 28,800 vph, has 36 jewels, and a total of 293 parts (more parts than the Master Perpetual).
Like all movement of the Master Control series, it has been subjected (as a completely finished watch) to 1000 hours of reliability testing in 6 positions, over a temperature range of 4->40 Celsius. Testing includes magnetism (5000 amperes/meter), shock, vibration, and pressure (5 atm) tests. Each watch has been signed and dated by the responsible watchmaker.
- Kif shock protection
- Glucydur balance
- 38 hours of power reserve
- Beautiful finish: circular-grain finish on plates, Côtes de Genève on bridges and rotor.
- Flat hairspring with fine adjustment using micrometer.
The movement has been adjusted for 6 positions…. Yes indeed, not the 5 positions most watch brands regulate their watches to, but 6 positions. This is something I’ll write more about soon!
One last photo of Tony showing his new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic. Yes… the size of 38.1 mm looks like a perfect size for a beautiful and complicated watch.
Thanks again to Tony for letting me use his photos for the Weekly Watch Photo! See more of Tony’s photos at his blog called Halfpastthehour.
This article was written by Frank Geelen, executive editor of Monochrome Watches.