The year is 1992: Bill Clinton has been sworn in as the 42nd President of the United States. Whitney Houston is singing to the world that “I will always love you”, and Walt Disney has released its latest animated blockbuster, Aladdin. Also this year, in the wonderful world of Fine Watchmaking, Jaeger-LeCoultre revealed its Master Control collection of reliable timepieces for daily wear, with an unpretentious design that does the business. These same features returned, on the wings of the original collection’s success, 25 years later at the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, where Jaeger-LeCoultre pulled out three new versions, all very much inspired by their predecessors. This trio comprises a Date version, a Geographic with dual time zone, and the model we’ll be looking at here: a Chronograph.
The first, visual sensation comes from the alliteration of round forms on the dial, which creates an impression of order and control. The first circle is graduated with the tachymeter scale. Moving in a step brings us to the silvered railroad track for the hours, minutes and seconds indications, with Arabic numerals at 12 and 6 plus baton markers. On either side of the vertical axis are the 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph registers. Touches of blue – on the tachymeter scale, hands, for the markers and numerals on the two chrono counters and for the alligator strap – give this collection an additional boost.
Beneath all this blue lies the 751G calibre. This is an automatic movement that Jaeger-LeCoultre also uses in its Deep Sea chronograph. There are 235 components, 37 jewels and two barrels for a power reserve of 65 hours. Reliability is confirmed by the brand’s own Master 1000 Hours test, which requires a higher standard than COSC certification and is carried out not on the movement alone but on the finished watch. It’s just a shame we can’t admire the result of all this effort as, unlike the Date and Geographic styles, this Chronograph doesn’t have a sapphire crystal back.
This is a well-proportioned watch that fits comfortably on the wrist, helped also by the relatively small rectangular pushers. The stainless steel case measures 12.10 mm in height and 40 mm in diameter, an ideal size for daily wear which is precisely what this timepiece is intended for. While the baton hands make for easy read-off, the fact they are skeletonised means it’s impossible to apply lume. This lack of night-time visibility could pose a problem after lights-out, or on the way home from a wild night in Ibiza.
Price can be a stumbling block for many when dealing with high-end timepieces. Not so with the Master Chronograph which, while still a prestige model, is positioned at an affordable price point. For a little over USD 8,000 you can be the owner of a watch by a renowned Manufacture, driven by a quality, in-house chronograph movement. One that, as Whitney promised, you will always love.