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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s New Master Ultra Thin Squelette

Jaeger-LeCoultre wasn’t satisfied with one high watchmaking skill in its latest timepiece. It had to combine no fewer than four of these skills with its Master Ultra Thin Squelette: skeleton working, guilloché engraving, enameling and gem-setting. 

Let’s not forget that being ultra-thin is the watch’s greatest achievement. With a total thickness of 3.6 mm, it is one of the thinnest watches ever made. The hand-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 849ASQ with 119 components is a mere 1.85 mm thick, while providing a 33-hour power reserve. To further complicate things, the movement was carefully skeletonized into a work of art that can be viewed on both sides of the watch. 

The timepiece is available in four models: pink gold, pink gold set with brilliant cut diamonds, white gold, or white gold set with brilliant cut diamonds

The gold surrounding the skeletonized movement is first adorned with a guilloché motif. Then enamel is applied in either a deep blue for the white gold model or a “frosted chestnut brown” for pink gold version. For one white-gold model, mother-of-pearl is applied. The gold chapter ring is divided into 12 zones that make it easy to view the numerals within its limited space. The motif, the enamel or mother-of-pearl application, and the 12-zone chapter ring is also on the reverse side of the timepiece.

With all the different hand-crafted art and technical acrobats that went into a watch with such a small size, it seems a bit underwhelming to mention the gem-setting technique that went into this timepiece. In this instance it’s brilliant-cut diamonds that adorn the bezel of two of the models. 

Jaeger-LeCoultre is producing some of the most elegant watches being made today. Despite all of the techniques used in the Master Ultra Thin Squelette, the Swiss luxury watch brand didn’t sacrifice the watch’s elegance. 

The only question is its durability. A watch this thin with a skeletonized mechanical movement and housed in very thin gold case could have issues. But that’s down the road. 

The watch reportedly costs from $59,000 to $76,000. 

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