With a multi-axis tourbillon, a meteorite dial, a fully integrated chronograph, hand-guillochage, engraving and a Grand Feu enamel dial, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition GyroTourbillon 3 Meteorite really showcases some of the most amazing skills in watchmaking. But if you want this on your Christmas wish list, you better act fast (and call your banker first, too).
“The new Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Meteorite represents the highest expression of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s codes,” says the brand from Le Sentier about its latest creation. But what does that really mean? Let’s take a closer look.
Earlier this year, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a new, fifth version of its signature Gyrotourbillon, the Westminster Perpetuel, with its minute repeater replicating the chimes of Big Ben thanks to a set of four gongs and hammers. With things not going well in Westminster itself, Jaeger-LeCoultre looked beyond the borders of planet Earth for this new creation. And so it made a new piece with meteorite details.
Let’s start with the heart of this exceedingly complex piece. Because, of course, the mechanical side is as impressive as one would expect from a brand like JLC, renowned for its high-end movements. The Gyrotourbillon 3 was introduced in 2013 to mark the 180th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre and came after the Gyrotourbillon I (2004) and the Gyrotourbillon II (2008). Calibre 176 is made of no fewer than 592 components and the inner workings of this movement are quite astonishing. The multi-axis tourbillon has not one but two cages set at two different angles. These components turn in opposite directions, at different speeds, with a blued spherical balance spring beating in their centre.
The Master Grande Tradition GyroTourbillon 3 Meteorite is a manifesto of JLC’s savoir-faire, mechanically and visually.
This movement has no tourbillon bridge, which makes it even more mesmerising to look at. The cages of the Gyrotourbillon 3 appear to be turning and twisting in space, just like the meteorite in the dial once did. In theory, this mechanically ambitious concept should free the movement from the adverse effects of gravity averaging out positional errors by addressing the change of rate from the horizontal and vertical positions.
With every different version of the Gyrotourbillon Jaeger-LeCoultre adds new complications that push the possibilities of the mechanics even further. In this hand-wound Master Grande Tradition GyroTourbillon 3, watchmakers have added a fully integrated chronograph with an instantaneous digital display to an already complicated movement. The elapsed time is shown on a sub-dial at 9 o’clock, the seconds with a traditional hand, and the minutes on a jumping digital counter. All of this does have its effect on the power reserve, which will only last 45 hours.
Unique crafts add panache and style
But mechanics are not the only interesting craft used in this Master Grande Tradition GyroTourbillon 3 Meteorite. Jaeger-LeCoultre used a number of its famed Métiers Rares to make a timepiece that also stands out aesthetically. Most striking is the meteorite used in the dial and, yes, even on top of the movement. Found in Namibia, the Gibeon meteorite featured in this watch consists of an iron-nickel alloy with an octahedrite crystal structure, “formed by the cooling of the asteroid fragment in outer space over the course of billions of years before it crashed to Earth in prehistoric times”. Honestly, we didn’t know that either.
The Master Grande Tradition GyroTourbillon 3 Meteorite also comes with a Grand Feu enamel dial with hand-guillochage, engraving and the deep blue glitter of aventurine. The case measures 43.5mm and is made of 18k rose gold. Just as you would expect from this Jaeger-LeCoultre, the case finishing is beautifully done with polished and brushed surfaces.
The dial also shows a day/night display at three o’clock that is made with impeccable detail; it consists of a 24-hour plate with two gold half circles. The white day-section is decorated with hand-guilloché and engraved sunrays. The sun is a polished pink gold sun, whereas the night is represented by polished pink gold stars and a moon.
On the reverse side, you can really appreciate the meteorite. It is implemented onto the bridges of the movement, which adds a beautiful play of colours with the red jewels and gold-coloured movement parts. The decoration is impeccable, with hand-polished bevels and countersinks.
Prices and availability
With all these technical and aesthetic crafts combined, the Master Grande Tradition GyroTourbillon 3 Meteorite displays of the finest skills that you’ll find in the Swiss mountains. But as you might’ve expected, this watchmaking tour de force doesn’t come in an unlimited supply. Jaeger-LeCoultre limited the production to 8 pieces, and the waiting times are not yet known. But if you are one of the lucky few who can get their hands on one of these – which will require USD 550,000 – rest assured that you’ll be wearing something that will grab the attention of everybody around you. And that encapsulates the timeless values of La Grande Maison. More details at www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.