Pre-SIHH 2014: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

This is the first real sensation I can report about before the SIHH starting in ten days from now. Please discover this new masterpiece from Jaeger-LeCoultre by reading through the text and seeing the very first pictures. Wow, what a watch!!!

Think-tanks composed of insatiable visionaries and tireless developers: such is the very nature of the teams at Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre. It enables them, just one year after the introduction of the Master Ultra Thin Jubilee, to present an authentic pioneer in the field of Grand Complications. The newcomer bears a name revealing a set of technical feats that are bound to stimulate the imagination of Fine Watchmaking connoisseurs. And rightly so. The Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon stems from research on two iconic horological complications. It is indeed the slimmest minute repeater in its category at just 7.9 mm thin.

Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

In 1907, Jaeger-LeCoultre laid the foundations of what was to prove a key element in the identity of its watches. That was the year when the association between Paris-based businessman Edmond Jaeger and Swiss watchmaker Jacques-David LeCoultre gave birth to the world’s thinnest pocket watch featuring a blend of aesthetic refinement and horological sophistication that only a Manufacture uniting the full range of skills under one roof could hope to achieve. Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre confirms its ability to anticipate the future of Fine Watchmaking by unveiling the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon watch, the eleventh creation in the Hybris Mechanica collection and the first ultra-thin Grand Complication model.
Eleven, the number standing for inventions and exceeding expectations.

Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch. A new era – that of ultra-thin Grand Complications.
This watch capitalises on eight separate patents, six of which are entirely new. Its entire development process was governed by two watchwords – ingenuity and performance. Its quintessence lies in a successful bid to achieve extreme slenderness while making no compromises on reliability.

Hybris Mechanica Eleven is equipped with an original tourbillon, a high-performance new balance-spring, a peripheral automatic winding system, a retractable single pushbutton, as well as a new minute repeater equipped with a silent-timelapse reduction system. As the latest addition to an illustrious and fertile saga of Jaeger-LeCoultre striking watches, this model consolidates the brand’s leadership in this field. Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch resolutely confirms that excellence and surpassing existing limits are second nature to Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Contrary to the classic tourbillon with a construction that tends to obstruct the view of certain components, the Manufacture wished to allow complete visibility of the heart of the watch. Avoiding ordinary solutions, Jaeger-LeCoultre watchmakers have developed and patented an all- new tourbillon. Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch is equipped with a world première in the shape of a flying tourbillon fitted with a flying balance-wheel. This technical feat ensures a full view of both balance-wheel and spring that may both be observed in motion from a radically different perspective. The gaze is captivated by the regular swinging of the balance-wheel, with the balance-spring fixed above it in a highly unusual stage-setting. This expressive and appealing construction also contributes to reducing the overall thickness thanks to the prodigious inventiveness of the master-watchmakers in the Manufacture.
These substantial developments required rethinking the regulating organ and developing a new balance-spring specifically hand-crafted in the Complications workshop. All the characteristics of this new tourbillon are geared towards achieving extreme precision, watchmaking’s ultimate goal.

A concentrated blend of culture and expertise, the tourbillon of the Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch vividly epitomises perfect technical mastery. Yet above and beyond the art and science involved in making this outstanding timepiece, the process represents a human adventure strewn with all manner of obstacles that the watchmakers of the Manufacture take pride in overcoming. In each of these prodigious tourbillons, collectors of Jaeger-LeCoultre calibres will discern a combination of unflagging commitment and sheer talent.

A highly demonstrative automatic winding system
In its absolute quest to optimise components, the Manufacture has conceived and developed an automatic winding system that captivates by its remarkable conception and execution. To provide more space and achieve record-breaking ultra-thin dimensions, the winding is handled by a oscillating peripheral weight with a platinum segment visible through narrow openings on the dial. This platinum segment takes advantage of the wearer’s wrist movements to revolve around the dial and wind the mainspring. It is fitted on a ceramic ball bearing mechanism specially developed for this device. It is also extremely effective and able to move freely in either direction. However only clockwise rotation actually winds the calibre. The sculptural purity of the perfectly integrated high-performance oscillating weight becomes an aesthetic element in its own right, thereby further enhancing the graphic power of the watch.

A minute repeater that barely skips a beat
Striking watches hold a place of their own within the realm of horology. They embody a highly daunting challenge for watchmakers seeking to achieve the purest sound, the most regular melody, along with unfailing precision and reliability.Due to their highly complex nature, minute repeater mechanisms represent prestigious watchmaking accomplishments. When in 1870 the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux decided to create repeater calibres, it revolutionised this age-old art by endowing it with unprecedented precision and reliability thanks to its perfect match between hand and machine. Since then, the Manufacture has created and produced over 200 different calibres equipped with repeater mechanisms, making this one of its favourite themes interpreted through timepieces that have constantly explored the facets of this sophisticated complication. Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch stems from a new line of approach: a minute repeater movement entirely rethought and rebuilt to be ultra-thin.
A minute repeater strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. When there are no quarters to be struck, a lengthy silent timelapse occurs between sounding the hours and the minutes. While there is always such an audible hiatus in the sequence, it is particularly audible when there are no quarters involved. To solve this problem, an innovative system reducing this silent timelapse was developed. It detects the absence of quarters to be struck and thus eliminates the marked pause between striking the hours and minutes. As a result, the appropriate high- and low-pitched notes seamlessly follow their appointed pattern without breaking the tempo.

Supreme expertise dedicated to pure sound
Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch benefits from the developments previously introduced in two exceptional models. To achieve a sound of perfect purity the transmission speed of the gong’s vibrations must be faster amongst elements diffusing the sound wave than in the gong itself. Sapphire is endowed with this very property. In 2005, the master-watchmakers of the Manufacture devised a system in which the crystal gong of the Master Minute Repeater was affixed directly to the sapphire crystal to which it transmitted the vibrations. Four years later, the development of Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie watch led to the replacement of traditional hammers by trebuchet hammers designed to ensure optimal energy transmission to the gongs. Hybris Mechanica Eleven is equipped with two patented trebuchet hammers. They ensure stronger, cleaner striking on the two crystal gongs fixed to the sapphire crystal. This helps to amplify the sound diffusion. Fine Watchmaking connoisseurs will also take pleasure in the traditional architecture of this minute repeater, as evidenced in features such as the symmetrical position of the two hammers – a tribute to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s historical watches.

Hybris Mechanica Eleven is a testament to the unfailing commitment of the watchmakers at the Manufacture who developed specific instruments such as a sound box to match their exceptionally high standards. Each watchmaker serves as a guarantor of the sound and remains carefully attuned to ensuring the harmonious restitution of the music of time.

A technically accomplished pushbutton
Again as part of an effort to make the watch even slimmer while preserving an extremely pure aesthetic, this minute repeater is activated by a retractable single pushbutton for which the Manufacture has filed a patent. Hybris Mechanica Eleven is equipped with a discreet locking system at 8 o’clock. Actuating it brings out the pushbutton that triggers the minute repeater. Once the minute repeater is activated, the pushbutton returns to its initial recessed position, thus ensuring that nothing disturbs the flowing, elegant appearance of the watch.
The discretion, the user-friendliness and the technical feat represented by this retractable pushbutton are not the only advantages of this ingenious innovation. As opposed to the traditional slides used to activate the minute repeater function and for which the length of travel may vary according to the hour to be struck, this construction ensures a constant 2 mm travel distance that is enough to both wind the barrel and trigger the minute repeater.

Powerful aesthetic appeal pervading every detail
Hybris Mechanica Eleven strikes the perfect balance between historical inspiration and avant-garde technology. It is nurtured by the distinctive elegance of early 20th century pocket-watches, which constituted the last incarnations of a cultural tradition before the wristwatch took over. Each detail of its refined design has its reason for being and serves two purposes in equal measure: establishing an aesthetic identity as well as ensuring the smooth functionality of the mechanism.

The masterful movement with its consistently ultra-thin proportions is accommodated in a new case inspired by a “knife-shaped” 1907 pocket watch. Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch measures a stunning 7.9 mm thin (including the crystal) considering its 41 mm diameter. Of the various precious metals from which it could choose, the Manufacture has opted for white gold because of its excellent acoustic qualities. The bezel, the sides and the tapering lugs are all entirely hand- polished.
The hour-markers, the traditional black transferred minute circle and the silver-toned grained finish are distinctive style nods to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s historical pocket watches. Hybris Mechanica Eleven also features new longer Dauphine-type hands, meticulously crafted with a polished, grained finish accentuating the harmonious overall appeal of the watch. The 6 o’clock opening affords a dramatic view of the new ultra-thin tourbillon, while the small apertures on the outer part the dial provide an ideal ringside seat from which to observe to the rotations of the delicately snailed platinum oscillating weight.

Considerable care has been lavished on the finishing and the sophisticated details of the 4.8 mm thin mechanical automatic movement. The movement blank and the bridges are made of a copper-nickel-zinc Maillechort alloy, a reference to the noble tradition of Jaeger-LeCoultre pocket watches and a metal that acquires a delightful patina with the passing of time.
The haute horlogerie finishes, including Côtes de Genève on certain bridges, entirely hand- crafted and particularly meticulous bevelling featuring interior angles on certain parts, admirably reflect the vision pursued by the Manufacture and its sense of quality taken to extremes.

As a subtle reminder of the musical nature of this timepiece, the exact spot on the crystal where the gong heel is welded to the sapphire crystal is marked by a few musical notes. Issued in a 75-piece limited edition, Hybris Mechanica Eleven is powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 362 and has a 45-hour power reserve. It is crafted in ultra-white 18-carat gold and teamed with a high-end alligator leather strap secured by a white gold pin buckle.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon

Movement:

Mechanical automatic movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 362, crafted, assembled and
decorated by hand
45-hour power reserve
21,600 vibrations per hour
471 parts
4.8 mm thick
33.3 mm in diameter

Dial:

Silver-toned, grained
Traditional baton-type (transferred)

Hands:
Dauphine type

Functions

Hours, minutes
Minute repeater equipped with silent-timelapse reduction function
Flying tourbillon with flying balance-wheel
Automatic winding via a peripheral oscillating weight

Case:

18-carat extra-white gold
7.9 mm thick
41 mm in diameter
Polished lugs, entirely polished caseband and bezel
Water resistance: 3 bar

Strap:
Black high-end Jaeger-LeCoultre alligator leather, white gold high-end pin buckle

Reference:
131 35 20, 75-piece limited series

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27 Comments

  • Je suis en retraite depuis peu mais je suis l’actualite horlogère.
    Sur la nouvelle repetition extra plate je dois reconnaitre qu’elle est vraiment superbe.
    Je connais bien le balancier,car j’ai contribué avec mon jeune collègue a son élaboration.
    Je suis fier de voir cette pièce en avant.Elle est une belle réussite.
    Pleine de nouveautés,la recherche quotidienne de JLC et ses réussites
    sont méritées.Merci de votre expertise.

  • it is essential that JLC designs and fabricates watches such as this in order to both maintain and expand the quality of their brand. whether or not the watches are affordable is relatively immaterial if JLC wishes to remain at the cutting edge. the r&d that goes into these types of products eventually trickles down to units with greater mass appeal, in terms of price point, and/or enables the producer to increase the quality, durability, and accuracy of lesser models. i’m obviously not claiming that the average JLC will have a minute repeater function but techniques + understanding gained from fabricating and designing this watch will help JLC lift the quality of its average product in the long run. Volkswagen does not manufacture Bugatti cars for the masses but to derive r&d expertise for its mainstream products as well as to elevate the prestige of its other brands thus making them more appealing to the average consumer. from purely a personal perspective i feel that the small volume of the case will result in poor audio qualities for the minute repeater function. there is a reason why minute repeaters are large and it’s not solely because of the engineering challenges of fabricating a very small minute repeater function…

  • This is an awesome milestone in the watchmaking industry. To make an ultra thin mechanism of a repetition minute alone is quite a challenge and to include a tourbillion is simply unbeleavable, chapeau JLC, chapeau !

  • A lovely watch sticking to the post financial meltdown aesthetic but isn’t it about time a lot of the established Swiss manufacturers got their pricing under control. For genuine watch lovers they are becoming a once in a lifetime purchase for a standard model. There doesn’t seem to be any serious conversation about this problem.

  • I always look for something unique or special in a watch that I purchase. There is nothing unique or special about this watch. I would not purchase this watch even if I could afford to, which I can’t.

      • Maybe I should apologize for being so hasty in judging this watch without knowing more about it.What exactly does this watch do to be a ” highly complicated timepiece ” It looks plain but maybe I am missing something that I am not aware of ?

        I like unusual timepieces like an Urwerk for example.

        • The minute repeater is a difficult complication to make, pair this with the tourbillon, which requires a separate mechanism (as most complications do). Now think they managed to get this watch ‘ultra-thin’. This is writing history. For a common size of a minute repeater check Lange Zeitwerk, that watch is massive.

          • Thank-you Pawel for enlightening me . Once again I would like to offer a sincere apology for speaking without knowing the facts . I now know what these terms mean, “minute repeater” and “tourbillon” and realize that this watch is indeed no ordinary watch .

      • Bonjour Alexander,
        Aujourd’hui en retraite je suis heureux de voir cette belle montre sortir de la manufacture.Je pense qu’il faut mettre l’accent sur le fait qu’il n’y a pas de pivot au balancier.J’ai contribué a cette innovation de balancier avec mon jeune collègue.J’en suis fier et souhaite une très bonne image de cette montre extraordinaire.
        Merci

  • With all due respect, it’s just another extremely expensive watch which 99.9% of us cannot afford. The industry is heading for a price and direction correction IMHO.

    I do have 4 JLC’s and when my duometere was having some issues I was quoted 6 month wait. So as a strong supporter of JLC I was duly disappointed and shall not be buying any more of their pieces anytime soon. Too

    I wish the manufactures would focus on the needs and wants of a more even demographics then just the one upmenship now prevalent.

    Thank you and these are my views only.

    • What happened to you should not have happened! I know JLC and the people at the HQ in Le Sentier very well, if you wish please write me an email with the story about your disappointment and I will pass it on to the right person …

      Concerning the watch presented I have to disagree with your opinion since I think it is very important that JLC manufactures such limited watches. They are all part of Swiss watchmaking history, I would consider them being real serious watchmaking. By no means I would like to miss such fantastic timepieces.

    • Dear Alex,

      I bought my Duometer March of last year in London. 6 months later to my horror it stopped working. I could see the mechanism moving but the hands were stagnant.

      I brought this to the attention of my AD in Malaysia (my home Country) botique no less and was told that it would be a 6-9 month wait if I claim under its international Warrenty..

      This is frustrating on so many levels. I lose 6-9 months of use on a brand new watch, the same with the Warrenty. Not to mention the lackluster service I was offered. I asked them to communicate directly with the manufacturer but I never got a response.

      This is by no means a cheap piece and one of 4 JLC’s that I own. 8 day perpetual calander, Tourbillion and a classic styled oversized dual time zone, so I was a strong supporter of their products.

      Coming back to the limited 75 piece watch they will release, no one will get to see or enjoy them as they are priced astronomically and guess what. There will be an unlimited version in another material. Case in point the world time exclusive for Paris which is not so exclusive now in Pink gold.

      Hence my new found appreciation for time pieces that are honest and priced accordingly. You had quite a few in your 2013 favourites.

      Call me jaded but the next generation like my children do NOT have the same appreciation of the micro engineering and the market needs a correction. My Kids have an IPhone that does all of everything and tells the time.

      Coming back to the service JLC gave me, it left a bitter after taste and they have lost a good customer even if they never knew they had me.

      Respectfully and many thanks
      Johan

  • Simply awesome that is all I can say about this stupendous watch created by JLC!

    Thanks a lot Alexander!

    • Yes, an atomic bomb, I can’t wait to see it live and to take my own pictures. I will of course also record the sound and upload everything here on Monday 20th …

  • Magnificent! Easily over $500,000 and considering the remarkable engineering and aesthetics worth it.

Comments are closed.