This year is most certainly an unusual year for us all. Due to the necessary measures and precautions needed in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Watches & Wonders show (formally SIHH) was cancelled and in place they launched a unique digital version in which the exhibiting brands could still showcase their new collections. This article in which we highlight our top pieces from the brands is part of our Watches & Wonders 2020 roundup. To see more of them, click here.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has chosen 2020 to relaunch its iconic Master Control collection, retaining the classic round design of the 1950s while adding contemporary flair. This is just one of the collections that the brand is debuting at Watches & Wonders this year, with other unveilings including modern movements and unique design cues.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is renowned for its creativity in every aspect of watchmaking, having developed more than 1200 calibres since the company was founded in 1833. Its most recognisable models include the Reverso, born of the 1930s Art Déco movement; the classic yet avant-garde Atmos pendulum timepiece; and the classically refined and clean lines of the Master. It’s the latter of these designs, first launched in 1992, that is being given a new lease of life at this year’s Watches & Wonders.
The Master Control Calendar is one of the kingpins of the collection. Maintaining the classic layout of the dial, the dates are marked around the periphery and indicated by a red-tipped hand (ingeniously incorporating the brand’s logo), which performs a 90º jump clockwise when the date switches from the 15th to the 16th of the month to avoid obscuring the moon-phase display that’s located in a subdial at 6 o’clock. This moon-phase is encircled by a small second timer, avoiding the need for a second subdial and helping to retain the classically uncluttered design.
Other technical aspects of the watch have been brought up to date with this 2020 release. This 40mm steel model houses a new-generation calibre 866AA, promising a 70-hour power reserve. The 353 parts of the movement can be viewed through the sapphire-crystal case back, including the gold rotor which cleverly features another logo.
Labelled by Jaeger-LeCoultre as the anchor of the new collections, the Master Control Date has been a mainstay of the brand since its first introduction 15 years ago. The much-storied model still has its minimal, refined design because, as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! While the clean lines have stayed the same, the latest generation Calibre 899, housed within the 40mm steel case of the watch, is just 8.78mm thick. The automatic movement features new elements and materials specifically designed to consume less energy and provide an increased power reserve of 70 hours. The silver-sunray dial and applied indices are protected by sapphire crystal, and the model has a Novonappa® calf strap. Water-resistance of up to 50m further increases the wearability of this stylish sports watch.