Jaeger-LeCoultre Updates Its Master Control Collection New design and new movements by Robert-Jan Broer April 25, 2020 MIN READJaeger-LeCoultre Updates Its Master Control Collection
The manufacture from Le Sentier had big plans to properly launch the new and updated Master Control series in Geneva this year but unfortunately had to change tack to make it a digital introduction only.
Too bad, I have to add, because I would love to go hands-on with the new Master Control watches. The entire line receives an update, from the Master Control Date to the Master Control Chronograph Calendar. My favorite JLC complication for many years, the Geographic, also is part of the new line-up.
The Master Control collection is a classic looking watch, without being too classic. The danger with very monochrome looking classic watches is that they tend to look or becoming boring. Nobody wants to wear a watch that associates you with a pair of red pants and an old Volvo estate. With the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control series, that’s something that will not happen. The presser that Jaeger-LeCoultre sent out talks about using timeless design codes with a contemporary twist. And that is exactly what it is.
Master Control Collection Updated
Besides the design update, Jaeger-LeCoultre also took care of two other things: new movements and new leather calf straps. I think we’ve all become a bit more aware of our environment, and exotic straps are the topic of discussion now more than ever. Although I am not particularly more a fan of a crocodile nor alligator over a calf, I do believe that we (humans) need to put more thought and sense into the things we do and especially how we do them, to preserve our environment.
No Alligator For Steel Models
Jaeger-LeCoultre uses a new calfskin leather strap for all the Master Control watches introduced during Watches & Wonders 2020. It is a soft matt finish strap, using Novonappa calf leather in a tan color. These straps are produced in France, using a vegetable-based tanning process. Over time, the Novanappa straps will gain a certain patina that makes them look even better. As most Richemont watch brands have these days, Jaeger-LeCoultre also uses a quick-release system so you can swap or replace straps without the need for a special tool. Somehow, brands are raving about this for a few years (I think it started at the SIHH two years ago), but in fact, Patek Philippe used this system for many (many) years already. That said, the rose gold cases still come with a classic looking alligator strap. I wouldn’t have minded having an alligator grain calf strap instead.
Caliber 899 Movement
For the movement upgrades, Jaeger-LeCoultre revised and re-engineered the caliber 899 movement which has become the pillar for the Master Control collection. If I am not mistaken, Jaeger-LeCoultre is the manufacturer with the highest number of movement calibers and types they can choose from. The 15-year-old movement has been updated over time, but this time with some pretty drastic enhancements. The caliber 899 now has a silicon escapement, a redesigned barrel, and a number of improvements that make them more energy efficient. Needless to say — and we’ve shown it to you here on Fratello — all movements are designed, developed, and manufactured in-house by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Without further ado, let’s have a closer look at the new Master Control collection.
JLC Master Control Date Q4018420
The Master Control Date is the three-hander in the collection, but by no means regarded as entry-level when it comes to quality and the level of attention to detail. The 40mm case has been slightly restyled, giving it a fresher appearance. In height, this watch only measures 8.78mm, mainly due to the use of the slim caliber 899 movement (only 3.3mm thick). Caliber 899 has a power reserve of 70 hours. Not visible in the images JLC sent us, but the watch has a sapphire case back that shows the movement. As you can see in the picture above, the watch has the new tan calfskin leather strap fitted, making it a very versatile watch.
JLC Master Control Calendar Q4148420
This 40mm Master Control Calendar will be available in two flavors: steel and gold. Pictured here is (obviously) the stainless steel version on the calf leather strap. Powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s updated caliber 866 movement, with the same enhancements as the aforementioned caliber 899. Although Jaeger-LeCoultre likes to ramble on its diversity of in-house manufactured movements, just look at how beautiful this watch is. It has a very clean design without becoming boring.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watchmakers created a little jumping date-hand complication
A lot is happening in those details on the dial. The day and month apertures are present below the JLC wordmark on the dial, and the applied indices and Arabic numerals are surrounded by a calendar scale. If you look closely at the bottom part of the dial, you will see a huge gap between the 15th and the 16th! Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watchmakers created a little jumping date-hand complication, not to obstruct the beautiful moonphase disc. That’s pretty cool!
JLC Master Control Geographic Q4128420
If I am not mistaken, this model used to be called “Geographique” in the past, but I guess JLC needs to make sure that everyone understands what this watch is about (perhaps good to also change “Automatique” to ‘Automatic’ then). That’s about the only criticism (which it really isn’t) have about this watch. It is gorgeous. A power reserve indicator that shows you how much is left of the 70 hours when it has its maximum capacity and a very modest date indicator in a subdial on the other side. A hometime indicator at 6 o’clock with a tiny but very visible day/night indicator at 9 o’clock.
By using the city disc, you set the second time zone. So no calculation needed, just select a city in the preferred timezone and there you go. This watch is a bit thicker than the Master Control Date of course, with such a complication but still keeps it at a very acceptable 10.96mm. Inside is JLC’s caliber 939. With so many things going on on this dial, it is quite impressive how JLC managed to keep it so clean and harmonious. This watch is also available in their Le Grand Rose gold alloy, under reference number Q4122520.
JLC Master Control Chronograph Calendar Q4138420
Remember I wrote that the Geographic was my favorite? Well. That changed as of now. The Master Control Chronograph Calendar is an amazing looking watch. Now that I am not traveling anyway, I could really settle for one of these. It is the thickest Master Control watch of the bunch, with a height of 12.05mm. But, it also has the most complications on board. Three slightly sunken sub-dials indicate the running seconds, minute counter, date, and moonphase. Powered by JLC’s caliber 759, which features a column-wheel chronograph mechanism with a vertical clutch and provides 65 hours of power reserve when fully wound. Wanna be a baller (shot-caller)? Try the version in JLC’s Le Grand Rose gold alloy, reference Q4132520.
Jaeger-LeCoultre didn’t want to communicate prices (yet), but that will probably change over the next few hours (or days). More information via Jaeger-LeCoultre online.
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About the author
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in… read more
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