The Art of Precision by Jaeger-LeCoultre

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Since its creation, Jaeger-LeCoultre has made precision an art form in its own right, balancing skills and artistry with sophistication and aesthetic finesse.  In keeping with the inventive spirit initiated in 1833, the artisans of the luxury manufacturer create collections which have been at the forefront of fine watchmaking:   Reverso, Master, Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris, Rendez-Vous and Atmos – this rich legacy built by the Grande Maison over centuries serves as a constant source of inspiration in ever so pushing the boundaries through unprecedented timepieces.

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(From left to right): Ellie Bamber, Benedict Cumberbatch, Catherine Rénier, Clarke Peters

During the course of an exceptional evening with the accent firmly on precision, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled its new Master Grande Tradition Répétition Minutes Perpétuelle in a limited edition series.   This second chapter under the theme “The Art of Precision” was unveiled for 2019 in Japan.  It’s no accident that they elected to set the event in the impressive city of Kyoto, known for its special atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and finely wrought craftsmanship that relies on precision in action.


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The event provided a unique opportunity to discover the powerful bond linking Japan’s former Imperial capital to the Grande Maison, uniting them around a common preoccupation with precision.  For Jaeger- LeCoultre, this ceaseless quest ranges from the technical precision of a movement – intended to tell the time, as well as giving more complex indications – to the precision of the strictly controlled gestures and artistic rigour of the 180 specialised trades and Rare Handcrafts “Métiers Rares®” perpetuated by their  artisans under one roof.   The Japanese arts have strived to meet this calling and challenge for centuries, with the same rigour and extreme attention to detail.


A living, vibrant testimony
The evening showcased some of the most highly regarded watchmaking skills and applied art techniques in the world, mastered by Japanese Living National Treasure artists: Mr. Kiju Fukuda, Mr. Kenji Suda and Mr. Kazuo Yamagishi. Alongside these artists were two Jaeger-LeCoultre watchmaker and enameller artisans, who travelled from the Vallée de Joux especially for the event.   Not only watchmaking precision, but also enamelling – a centuries-old decorative technique reintroduced at the Manufacture in 1999 – drew parallels with the secrets of Japanese embroidery and marquetry, skills that were presented along with a number of rare and precious objects. Guests got a fascinating insight into genuine works of art which, like Jaeger-LeCoultre watches, require many hours, if not months, to craft.


The power and beauty of extreme precision
A similarly exacting degree of precision gave rise to the new limited edition watch that the Manufacture presented in an exclusive preview, the Master Grande Tradition Répétition Minutes Perpétuelle.   Drawing inspiration from the aesthetic codes of the celebrated Master Grande Tradition Collection, this new masterpiece confirms Jaeger-LeCoultre’s expertise in the field of chiming watches.   Its innovative gong system was designed to reproduce the idealised chime made by antique chiming pocket watches, with a rich acoustic clarity rarely attained in Grand Complication watches.   Housed in a highly compact (13.72 mm) white gold case that optimises the wearer’s experience, this exceptional timepiece represents the next generation of chime-related innovation, both in terms of mechanical innovation and miniature decorative arts.    The truth of this is evident from just one glance at the two dial variations available for this watch – one a neoclassical silver-grained dial and the other a deep blue translucent guilloché enamel dial.


Under the bright night-time lights of Kyoto, city of art and history, Jaeger-LeCoultre had the immense pleasure of paying homage yet again to the precision that has guided every gesture of its master watchmakers and artisans since 1833.    This precision in both technique and aesthetics mirrors that same rigour that has been practised for thousands of years in Kyoto – a city of particularly emblematic status in Japan, that is highly esteemed by lovers of beautiful objects and heritage pieces.


Jaeger-LeCoultre watches on display during the evening including the Maison’s latest masterpiece introduced at 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, brings together high watchmaking and modern wearability.   It boasts a miniaturised multi-axis gyrotourbillon and has been designed with four sets of hammers and patented crystal gongs to play the Westminster carillon, the musicality made famous by the clock tower housing Big Ben at London’s Palace of Westminster.

The new design also incorporates a one-minute constant force mechanism which acts as a secondary power source, providing consistent energy to the tourbillon in order to further enhance the accuracy of both the jumping minute hand and the minute repeater.

Also on show was the Master Grande Tradition Répétition Minutes Perpétuelle, with new helix shaped gongs and an innovative configuration which instead of seeing the gongs lying flat allows them unprecedented height and space, in a structure designed to replicate the richness and strength of the chimes of antique sonnerie pocket watches. The Master Grande Tradition Répétition Minutes Perpétuelle comes with a new case comprising more than 80 separate hand finished parts and an automatic mechanism and perpetual calendar overcoming the need for manual winding.


Following on from the Kyoto launch, guests of Jaeger-LeCoultre enjoyed a gala dinner in a celebration in the company of friend of the Maison Benedict Cumberbatch, shining the light on the Maison’s 186-year history of watchmaking at London’s Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition.   Founded by King George III in 1768, the Royal Academy is an independent institution led by eminent artists and architects whose mission is to be a voice for art and artists, while promoting the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.


The Royal Academy has played host to some of the most celebrated treasures of the art world for over 250 years, including the only marble sculpture by Michelangelo in Great Britain. Tonight it served as the perfect venue to savour both the craftsmanship and the infinitesimal attention to detail evident in the masterpieces of Jaeger-LeCoultre.


Credit:  Hiroaki_Fukuda / Getty Images

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