This year’s edition of the SIHH watch show brought several stunning new models onto the horological scene, but venerable Swiss watchmaker, Jaeger-LeCoultre can lay claim to one of the most original. The brand’s Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel (which has quite the name) is the very first timepiece to combine a multi-axis tourbillon with a constant-force mechanism, perpetual calendar, and Westminster chime.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the most interesting and technologically-complex timepieces of SIHH 2019!
The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel (Image: Jaeger-LeCoultre).
What is a Westminster Chime?
The Westminster chime is by far the most distinctive feature of the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel. A Westminster chime replicates the sound of London’s iconic Big Ben, perhaps the most famous clock in the world – which is bound to be a surprise for anyone who happens to be in the room with you when the watch sounds off, and may even cause some Brits to get all teary-eyed and nostalgic. Additionally, the Westminster chime is an unquestionably masterful feat of watchmaking, and something that is rarely seen in contemporary wristwatches – even those from the most prestigious manufacturers known for putting out highly complicated, luxury timepieces.
While the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel is more of a “halo timepiece” than something that will serve as the backbone of JLC’s sales figures for the 2019 year, it should certainly get the brand some much-needed press attention, and help them in their recent efforts to raise their international profile.
Founded in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has lots to boast about, including more than 1,200 watch calibers to date, over 400 registered patents, and the revival of decorative techniques such as guillochage and grand feu enameling from within its in-house Métiers Rares atelier,.
The technologically-impressive watch will be available with the option of either a blue enamel or silver-grain dial (Image: Jaeger-LeCoultre).
A Smaller Gyrotourbillon
The Westminster chime is fitted with a silence-reduction mechanism to “optimize melody cadence” while the multi-axis Gyrotourbillon, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s fifth, has also been modified and seen a reduction in size, bringing this complex calibre “out of the watch safe and onto the wrist for everyday enjoyment.”
The watch uses four sets of miniature gongs and hammers to recreate the distinctive sound of Big Ben, which indicate the quarters when the minute repeater is activated. The other important component of this piece is its one-minute constant-force mechanism that “provides a consistent level of power for the energy-hungry tourbillon” without affecting its accuracy.
Aesthetically, the open-worked dial is available in either deep-blue grand feu enamel or a classic silver-grain, and the pusher for the minute repeater is retractable, which preserves the smooth lines of the 43mm white gold case.
The highly-complex movement boasts a multi-axis tourbillon, a constant-force mechanism, a perpetual calendar, and a Westminster chime complication (Image: Jaeger-LeCoultre).