SIGHTS AND SOUND

Thin in looks, mas­sive in ac­com­plish­ments.

Esquire Singapore Watch Guide - - CONTENTS - Words by Re­mus Ng

Slim in looks and mas­sive in ac­com­plish­ments is the Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Hy­bris Me­chan­ica II.

IT IS ALMOST IM­POS­SI­BLE to cre­ate a list this pres­ti­gious with­out a watch from the famed mai­son of Jaeger-LeCoul­tre. To follow up on the mai­son’s 180th an­niver­sary is no easy feat, es­pe­cially after the ap­pear­ance of the al­ready stun­ning Master Grande Tra­di­tion Gy­ro­tour­bil­lon 3 Ju­bilee—the tenth master­piece in an un­sur­passed line of the Hy­bris Me­chan­ica col­lec­tion. How­ever, the brand has dug deep within its seem­ingly lim­it­less re­sources of knowhow and skill to present yet another master­piece.

This stroke of ge­nius, an­nounced at the be­gin­ning of the year, is the Master Ul­tra Thin Minute Re­peater Fly­ing Tour­bil­lon. Quite a mouth­ful. How­ever, we must de­cree at this point that the ver­bose name does, as ex­pected, jus­tify the num­ber of ac­com­plish­ments found within the time­piece. Where, with the pre­vi­ous Hy­bris Me­chan­ica it­er­a­tions, we find three-di­men­sional com­pli­ca­tions such as the said Gy­ro­tour­bil­lon 3 Ju­bilee, this time, we cel­e­brate 2014 with the first ap­pear­ance of an ul­tra-thin Grand Com­pli­ca­tion from Jaeger-LeCoul­tre.

For those who sim­ply want to know, at this point, where to buy or ob­tain one of th­ese mas­ter­pieces, let us tell you that the watch is limited to only 75 pieces. All of them come in a 18k white gold case, fin­ished off with a black al­li­ga­tor leather strap locked down with a match­ing white gold pin buckle. The price? EUR294,000.

The watch comes in at just 7.9mm thick. Cou­pled with its 41mm case di­am­e­ter, we can­not dis­agree that the watch is in­deed clas­si­fied as ul­tra-thin. The fact that the watch presents to the owner a 471 part move­ment that con­tains, not only a fly­ing tour­bil­lon, but also a minute re­peater, is al­ready quite a mar­velous ac­com­plish­ment, es­pe­cially in con­sid­er­a­tion of the rel­a­tively thin case. To en­sure a proper fit within the small con­fines of the case, ev­ery lit­tle com­po­nent has been trimmed down to a size that is as small and thin as we can fathom.

First off, we bring our at­ten­tion to the tour­bil­lon vis­i­ble at 6 o’clock. The Cal­i­bre 362 move­ment of the watch, along with the tour­bil­lon, is only 4.8mm in thick­ness. The open­ness of the tour­bil­lon is a visual feast for the eyes of the owner. By in­cor­po­rat­ing the fly­ing tour­bil­lon with a fly­ing bal­ance wheel, there are fewer me­chan­ics ob­scur­ing the view of the move­ment of the tour­bil­lon. To achieve this, a new bal­ance spring had to be in­vented. Fur­ther­more, the tour­bil­lon is left uncaged thus al­low­ing for the pres­ence of a larger bal­ance wheel, which in turn makes pos­si­ble a greater de­gree of ac­cu­racy and adjustment. The masters at Jaeger-LeCoul­tre then made the watch os­cil­late at 3hz. Nor­mally, this rel­a­tively high beat rate is un­seen in tour­bil­lons with large bal­ance but it is this rate that sup­ports the abil­ity for time­keep­ing pre­ci­sion and en­hanced sta­bil­ity.

We turn our at­ten­tion to the minute re­peater. The sil­vered dial on the watch and the white gold dauphine hands match the tone of the white gold of the case. Not sur­pris­ingly, this choice of white gold case only through­out the pro­duc­tion of the watch is ac­tu­ally tied to the idea that the acous­tics for the minute re­peater sur­passes that of a sim­i­lar watch made in more lux­u­ri­ous plat­inum. Cou­ple those acous­tics with sap­phire gongs made fa­mous by the brand almost a decade ago. That said, the newly en­gi­neered re­peater mech­a­nism pro­vides yet another sur­prise. Un­like a tra­di­tional minute re­peater, this watch will chime with­out the typ­i­cal pauses when there are no quarters to be counted. To en­sure the con­sis­tent theme of ul­tra-thin through­out the watch, the ac­ti­va­tor for the re­peater is ac­tu­ally a push but­ton (as op­posed to the stan­dard slid­ing ac­ti­va­tor seen in most re­peaters).

Fi­nally, to cap off the al­ready jaw-drop­ping cre­den­tials of this time­piece, Jaeger-LeCoul­tre has pro­vided the watch with an au­to­matic wind­ing sys­tem. The pe­riph­eral ro­tor within is made of plat­inum and con­tin­ues the slim and thin themed found in the rest of the time­piece while ac­cu­mu­lat­ing up to 45 hours of power re­serve.

Top: JaegerLeCoul­tre Hy­bris Me­chan­ica II Master Ul­tra Thin Minute Re­peater Fly­ing Tour­bil­lon, and case­back show­ing the Cote de Gen­eve fin­si­hed bridges and plates.

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