Uncompromisingly precise and reliable,
a Tourbillon Regulator that bears all the creative
hallmarks of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The Watch Quote™ - December 7th, 2006
tourbillon regulator accompanies a high-precision self-winding movement that operates at 28,800
vibrations an hour and that features a new balance design of very large dimensions and an inertia of 11.5
mg x cm2. As all horological connoisseurs already know, the Manufacture's master-watchmakers like
nothing better than to take a complex challenge and make it more complex still. To this end, the new
Master Tourbillon seduces the wearer's gaze not only with the wheeling motion of the tourbillon — the
dial, which matches the mechanism's technical genius blow for blow with its own aesthetic perfection,
also displays a second timezone. The new date indicator, a patented device that can be adjusted in both
directions, jumps between the 15th and the 16th of each month in order to avoid getting in the way of
the dazzling spectacle created by the titanium tourbillon's turning cage. The Master Tourbillon is
available in traditional rose gold and platinum as well as in steel, an unprecedented application for the
material in a top-flight tourbillon.
Mission: to be an outstanding precision instrument
The tourbillon houses the different elements of the escapement in a mobile cage. It was originally conceived
with one specific goal in mind: to increase the watch's operational accuracy by compensating for errors of
rate in vertical positions. For Jaeger-LeCoultre, the only tourbillon worthy of its place in the Master Control
line was one capable of satisfying the most rigorous demands of a prestigious precision instrument. As such,
the Manufacture's engineers made no compromises in creating a tourbillon that answers to the highest
possible standards of precision, reliability and strength.
The tourbillon's rotational movement uses up a considerable amount of energy, which is naturally
proportionate to the size of its cage. The greater the cage's dimensions, the larger the amount of required
energy. Since the energy available in any movement is limited, the solution most commonly adopted by
watchmakers is to reduce its frequency as well as the size of the cage, and thus of the balance, which in turn
compromises the mechanism's precision. Obviously, such an approach was unacceptable to Jaeger-
LeCoultre's master-watchmakers. Instead, they set the challenge of designing an entirely new balance of
sufficiently generous dimensions, in order to provide the self-winding movement with the energy necessary
to keep the cage in motion and maintain the 28,800 vibrations an hour typical of a high-precision movement. Like every other element in the watch, the new balance, which has an inertia of 11.5 mg x cm2,
has benefited from the latest research and development carried out in the Manufacture's own laboratories.
Four screws on the balance-selloe are used for the setting. This arrangement ensures constancy, even in the
case of impacts to the mechanism. Energy losses owing to friction have also been reduced by the adoption
on the gear-trains of Œspyr'-form teeth: these have been specially designed to facilitate a steady
transmission of power. The pallet, meanwhile, has been made more compact so that it can fit into the
restricted space of the tourbillon's cage. Finally, the movement rewinds in one direction only, in accordance
with the results of detailed new research, which suggests that, when a watch is actually worn on the wrist,
rewinding takes place twice as fast with a single- as opposed to a dual-direction mechanism.
The perfection of a genuine work of art can be read in even its most minute details. This is certainly true of
the Master Tourbillon. The decoration of its movement, visible through the watch's sapphire-crystal
bottom, is an aesthetic match for the watch's technical beauty. All delicately hand-executed, the chamfering,
drawing, snailing, beading and polishing are worthy ornaments for the Geneva Bars-decorated gear-train
For the tourbillon's cage, which weighs just 0.28 g, the Manufacture's engineers settled on a titanium alloy:
being very light, it naturally increases precision but its hardness makes it difficult to work with. Extraordinary
pains — including polished mouldings and delicate sanding — have been taken on the cage. The convex
escapement bridge ingeniously connects with the curve of the cage. Manufactured as a single block, the
oscillating weight segment and its 22-carat rose-gold support are stamped with a motif in the manner of a
medallion, with matt, shiny and chiselled reliefs.
An exceptional timepiece designed for everyday use, each Master Tourbillon has to demonstrate its
outstanding qualities of precision, reliability and water resistance before it leaves the Manufacture in Jaeger-
LeCoultre's now legendary 1,000 hour test. The latter has been specially adapted to incorporate
measurements of the new tourbillon regulator's reliability and amplitude, including when the timepiece is
subjected to small impacts and shocks.
An age-old mechanism married with unique new functions
The quest for perfection has always been linked to ideals of functionality at Jaeger-LeCoultre. Sheer
technical innovation is of little value if it isn't closely allied with the requirements of everyday life. Such
considerations have impacted the design of the Master Tourbillon. Driven by a high-frequency self-winding
movement, this is a watch that has been created to provide its owner with constant companionship. It is a
timepiece for everyday use.
When the fascinated gaze manages at last to detach itself from the circular aperture through which the
mesmerising motion of the titanium cage is visible, it naturally settles on the other indicators, arranged in a
classic, eye-pleasing configuration on the watch's dial. At this point another aspect of the Master
Tourbillon's genius reveals itself, for this is a timepiece that brilliantly harnesses the tourbillon mechanism to
the Manufacture's famous home time/travel time principle, a technical refinement that ingeniously makes it
possible for busy globetrotters to compare reference time with local time at a single glance.
In the upper part of the dial, a 24-hour indicator keeps track of the wearer's reference or home time. This
is adorned with a rayonnant motif during the hours when the sun is making its journey across the sky. Here
again, the engraving is more than a simple ornament: aesthetic refinements continually transform themselves
into functions in their own right on the Master Tourbillon.
The local or travel time, the watch's principal function, is located centrally on the dial. Resetting can be
carried out in either direction, both forwards and backwards, in one-hour jumps. The date indicator, which
is synchronised with local time, automatically follows, moving exceptionally in both directions as dictated by
changes to the local time.
A third central hand, with a double-triangle tip, traces its course around the dial, which is inscribed with the
numbers 1 to 31, to indicate the date. It is a classic, simple design of absolute clarity. And yet the
watchmakers and designers could not resign themselves to having the date hand concealed, even partially,
the movements of the tourbillon when it enters the bottom portion of the dial. They therefore decided to
innovate between the 15th and the 16th. So what happens exactly, in the middle of each month, when the
hand passes from the one to the other? In fact, it crosses the space at an accelerated rate, in just a few
hours. No doubt more than a few Master Tourbillon will linger late on the 15th of the month to gaze in
wonder at this astonishing mechanical prodigy.
With the Master Tourbillon, the Manufacture’s master-watchmakers and designers have once more carried
precision and functionality to unprecedented new levels of refinement. The second indicator, positioned at
the tourbillon’s circular opening, is a good example of this ever-increasing sophistication. While the
tourbillon's cage spins vigorously about its axis, the arrow-shaped prong of the blue second hand traces its
unending course around the aperture, so combining the measurement of the smallest conventional unit of
time with the dazzling spectacle of the most fascinating and complex of all watchmaking mechanisms.
The Master Tourbillon_s classic 41.5 mm-diameter case comes in three different versions: in platinum, in a
limited edition of 300; in rose gold and, finally, in steel. For if the Manufacture’s customary deployment of
the noblest materials serves to accentuate the extraordinary prowess of its master-watchmakers, such use
must also sometimes give way in the face of technical achievements whose unornamented brilliance alone is
enough to attract the admiring attention of all.
And now silence must be allowed to fall again. For when all commentaries and explanations have been
given, the spirit naturally yearns to be left to contemplate, without distractions, the hypnotic whirling of the
tourbillon's cage, which, every minute, makes a full turn about its axis. Fascination is given full rein, the
passage of time itself is forgotten and, in the dazzled gaze of the beholder, technical prowess becomes
indistinguishable from pure magic.