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Jaeger-LeCoultre, artist and watchmaker
New Models

Jaeger-LeCoultre, artist and watchmaker

Thursday, 03 July 2014
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

“Thirty years in journalism are a powerful stimulant for curiosity”.

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5 min read

With this Hybris Artistica, Jaeger-LeCoultre demonstrates a rare mastery of technique. The twelve creations in the collection are masterpieces of horology that revisit the Manufacture’s finest repertoire.

In January, at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, visitors came away from Jaeger-LeCoultre‘s stand with the distinct feeling of wanting more. Not that the year’s new products in any way fell short of expectations. After all, they did include an extra-thin minute repeating tourbillon, the eleventh piece in the Hybris Mechanica collection. Still, the “Grande Maison de la Vallée de Joux” had been dangling the promise of more, and not only in the horological science that has forged the reputation of a company with over a thousand original calibres to its name. As the SIHH got into full flow, rumours were rife as to a new collection, a repeat performance of the Hybris Mechanica, the most complicated watches ever by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Named, appropriately, Hybris Artistica, it materialised only as a film, screened during the Manufacture’s product presentations. Not a single watch in sight.

After months of eager anticipation, finally the appetizer became something watch aficionados could get their teeth into. And what a dish Jaeger-LeCoultre has served! An explosion not of flavours but of savoir-faire, transposed into twelve extraordinary timepieces, nine of which are made as a limited edition of three, and the remaining trio proposed as one-offs. In Jaeger-LeCoultre‘s own words, “Each of the 12 models in the Hybris Artistica collection represents an unprecedented blend of design, technical construction, watchmaking art and exquisite craftsmanship to achieve the point of equilibrium that dramatically expresses the Manufacture’s mastery and style.” While lavish prose has always been a trademark of the brand, such superlatives are amply warranted. These twelve timepieces are nothing short of stunning, having drawn the very best from the 180 forms of expertise that Jaeger-LeCoultre has united under its one roof.

Hybris Artistica collection

Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3
The specificities of this Gyrotourbillon 3 with spherical spiral flying tourbillon and instantaneous digital chronograph display are brought to the fore by a tantalum case. This little-known metal, which first became known in the early twentieth century, is exceptional for its resistance to corrosion and its hardness, hence the difficulties inherent to working with it. One-off piece.

Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste
So as to highlight the orbital flying tourbillon, which shows sidereal time and moves to the rhythm of the stars as it rotates, Jaeger-LeCoultre has crafted the dial from majestic blue aventurine. Months are inscribed on a circle which is engine-turned then covered with translucent lacquer, as is the inner bezel ring. Limited edition of three.

Master Gyrotourbillon I
Traditionally reserved for the movement, the technique of skeletonwork is here applied to the aventurine dial whose carved rosettes form a magnificent stained glass window, with hour markers in blue lacquer. This architecture brings to the fore the gyrotourbillon with its two cages, flanked by the perpetual calendar indications. Limited edition of three.

Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie
Such a combination of complications as a grande sonnerie, flying tourbillon and perpetual calendar commands attention, and so Jaeger-LeCoultre has given this Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie a rock crystal dial that reveals the full depth of a mechanism associated with ten patents. One-off piece.

Duomètre Sphérotourbillon
This Duomètre Sphérotourbillon shows off its mechanism inside a case composed of two domed sapphire crystals which have been adjusted to the 18k white gold horns, as though to create a capsule sealed around a message from time itself. Limited edition of three.

Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Enamel
For this piece, Jaeger-LeCoultre has chosen a dial in paillonné blue enamel. The craftsman shaves tiny specks from a block of silver, which are then combined with the enamel. After firing at 800°C, the enamel is polished, a perilous exercise that must reveal these metal paillons without damaging the fragile surface of the enamel. Limited edition of three.

Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Pocket Watch
This piece is inspired by an ornate grande complication timepiece from 1928. Exceptionally for a pocket watch, it features a spherotourbillon, clearly visible at 6 o’clock thanks to a notched opening created in the structure. This effect is further reinforced by the granular aspect of the hand-chiselled dial. Limited edition of three.

Grande Reverso Tourbillon Squelette
Absolute transparency defines this Grande Reverso, with the pivoting part of the case composed of two sapphire crystal tiles. The tourbillon movement is entirely skeletonised to highlight the intricate workings, with hand-decorated plate and bridges. A metal frame further accentuates the mechanism. Limited edition of three.

Reverso Cordonnet Neva
A fresh interpretation of a 1930s watch, originally worn on a leather cord. The craftsmen at Jaeger-LeCoultre have recaptured this sensation with diamonds in a snow setting. They wrap around the curves of the watch, blanketing the fixed parts and lugs then spilling onto the cord-like bracelet. Limited edition of three.

Rendez-Vous Célestial
In this version of the Rendez-Vous, the upper dial, where the hour arc is positioned, has been fully paved with baguette diamonds using the Rock Setting technique. This invisible setting forms a luminous halo around the rotating lapis lazuli disc, where a map of the sky with the twelve signs of the zodiac has been hand-painted. Limited edition of three.

Rendez-Vous Tourbillon
This timepiece is cloaked in diamonds, in a setting that recreates the distinctive qualities of the Rendez-Vous through alternating baguette and round diamonds. The bracelet takes on a Fine Jewellery aesthetic, with lugs that flow seamlessly between case and bracelet. Limited edition of three.

Atmos Marquetry
With separate Grand Feu enamel dials for hours and minutes, a moonphase disc in Indian rosewood encrusted with diamonds, and enamel reproductions of Mucha’s Spring and Autumn on the marquetry panels, this Atmos clock exudes a rarely achieved harmony and style. One-off piece.

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