Horology is a child of astronomy. Ever since man wondered about the passage of time, the schedule of our lives has been shaped by celestial events. Time was measured by the sun, the moon and the stars… On the occasion of Watches and Wonders 2022, Jaeger-LeCoultre embarks on a Stellar Odyssey. Among the watches inspired by this underlying theme, the Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 is a spectacular worldtimer tourbillon combining a remarkable movement with exceptional crafts.
The first thing to catch your eye with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 is its unique worldtime tourbillon movement. The calibre 948 – seen previously in the Geophysic Tourbillon Universal Time with minor differences such as a different balance wheel – is what the Grande Maison calls a Universal Tourbillon. It combines the traditional rotation of the tourbillon on itself every minute with an orbital rotation around the dial every day.
Therefore, the flying tourbillon also rotates around the watch once every day, tracing the 24 hours and thus reproducing the rotation of the earth on its own axis. This daily revolution of the tourbillon (together with the centre map and its city ring) also allows the watch to display the time for all 24 time zones.
The world time indication is straightforward and user-friendly. The 24-hour ring at the periphery of the dial is stationary – so as the map and city ring rotates, you can tell the time for every time zones. The watch is set via the crown with a first position to set the universal time and minutes (for instance align London to the current GMT time) and a second position (which moves only the hour hand, in one-hour jumps forwards or backwards) to adjust your local time zone.
The Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 dial brings together remarkable artisanal techniques to create a striking three-dimensional design. The map itself is created on a domed skeletonized structure formed by the longitude and latitude lines. This 25.5mm openworked canvas combines miniature painting with champlevé enamel. Indeed, the map representing the Northern hemisphere is Champlevé enamel. The technique consists in carving out the pattern into the structure. The hollow areas are then filled with enamel with several layers in succession and fired at high temperatures after each layer. The design is then enhanced with refined hand-painted details. This domed map is adjusted onto a base plate representing the oceans consisting of blue lacquer applied on a wavy guilloche pattern. Altogether, each dial requires 70 hours of patient work. At the periphery of the rotating map, the fixed hour ring features applied numeral and indexes. The minute track is laser engraved on a blue lacquer ring.
The watch comes in a 43mm white gold Master Grande Tradition case. Its design is characterized by a rounded bezel while the lugs feature a broad bevel and hollowed flanks. It is water-resistant to 50 metres. Turn the watch over and the exhibition case back allows you to discover the automatic calibre 948 and its rotor.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 is worn on an alligator strap fitted with a folding buckle. It is released in a limited edition of 20 pieces. The price remains to be confirmed. For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.