Although the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control collection debuted in 1992, the watches’ designs are more akin to the classically-understated style of mid-century timepieces. Named after the company’s “1000 Hours Control” certification, the Master Control has been a mainstay of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collection since its inception.
For 2020, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils some fresh Master Control models with fine-tuned designs and overhauled mechanical movements. The watches, which include the Master Control Date, Master Control Calendar, Master Control Geographic, and the all-new Master Control Chronograph Calendar, all sport 40mm cases and Novonappa calfskin straps, which can be easily switched out without any tools using the clever Presto Spring lug attachment.
New Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date
The simplest model within the new range, the Master Control Date houses a sunray brushed silver dial with the familiar applied faceted triangular hour markers and a trio of Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12. The elegant Dauphine hands at center are accompanied by a blue central seconds hand for a dash of color while the date window sits at the traditional 3 o’clock spot.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date’s 40mm stainless steel case measures a slender 8.78mm thick thanks to the slim Caliber 899 automatic movement. Although Caliber 899 has been an integral part of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s arsenal of movements for 15 years, the new-generation Caliber 899 has benefitted from a slew of improvements including a new escapement and pallets made of silicon to reduce friction, a redesigned barrel to boost up the power reserve to 70 hours, and a new seconds wheel that reduces shaking.
New Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar
Next in line is the JLC Master Control Calendar model with a similar 40mm case (10.95mm thick) but available in either stainless steel or Le Grand Rose gold – Jaeger-LeCoultre’s brand new oxidization-resistant rose gold alloy.
Evoking JLC’s famed triple calendar watches of the 40s and 50s, the dial of the Master Control Calendar includes day and month windows, a moon phase nestled within a running seconds sub-dial, and a date display around the periphery indicated by a red-tipped hand. Worth noting is the clever addition to the upgraded Caliber 866 that allows the date hand to jump from the 15th to the 16th to avoid blocking the moon phase. Similar to Caliber 899, Jaeger-LeCoultre also redesigned Caliber 866 to offer a longer power reserve of 70 hours.
New Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Geographic
The new JLC Master Control Geographic also includes a 40mm case, available in either stainless steel with a Novonappa calfskin strap or in Le Grand Rose gold with a brown alligator strap.
The Master Control Geographic is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s approach to a dual time watch but rather than simply displaying a second time zone via a 12-hour sub-dial the dial also includes a city window at 6 o’clock. This means that wearers can set the second time zone by location instead of having to calculate time differences while on the go. Also on the dial is the power reserve indicator, in addition to a date display sub-dial. Powering the watch is the new-generation Caliber 939 automatic movement with a 70-hour power reserve.
New Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Calendar
Brand new to the collection is the Master Control Chronograph Calendar, complete with an entirely new movement. The automatic Caliber 759 brings together a triple calendar display, moon phase, and chronograph – a first for Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Whether in stainless steel or Le Grand Rose gold, the 40mm case (12.05mm thick) of the Master Control Chronograph Calendar is home to a sunray silvered dial that is well balanced despite the array of indications. There’s the 30-minute chronograph counter at 3, the running seconds sub-dial at 9, the day and month apertures under 12, and the moon phase framed by a date display at 6. Matching the blue hands on all the indicators is the blue central chronograph hand, which sweeps around the pulsometer scale framing the dial and is operated by the pair of rectangular chronograph pushers protruding from the right-hand side of the case.
From the pared-down Master Control Date to the complicated Master Control Chronograph Calendar, these new watches serve to remind us that Jaeger-LeCoultre excels at combining elegant timepiece designs with exceptional mechanical movements.
*All images courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre