Limited Edition of 100 Pieces Each – A Close Encounter Between the Watchmaking Art and Rare Handcrafts (Métiers Rares)
Lightness as a means of focusing on essentials. Daring to bare, yet attired in the most dazzling finery. Such are the messages delivered by the Master Ultra Thin Squelette collection comprising four watches that cause a sensation by revealing themselves in their entirety to the admiring gaze. Both inside and outside, the areas upon which the master artisans have lavished their talents right to the very core of each model reveal their innermost soul. Through the beauty and expertise it expresses, the Master Ultra Thin Squelette follows in the wake of the Hybris Artistica collection, embodying the inventiveness and the alliance of the 180 fine skills safeguarded by Jaeger-LeCoultre under its own roof. In its turn, Master Ultra Thin Squelette watch pursues a mission of carrying the observer to the heart of skeleton work, or the art of empty space raised to an absolute art form.
Jaeger-LeCoultre plays in this instance with the extremely reliable Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 849ASQ to nurture emotions. As if infiltrated into the heart of the labyrinth, the gaze wanders (and wonders) among the gear wheels. It traces its path along the hand-engraved bridges, finely chamfered in even the most apparently unattainable corners to which the artisan has nonetheless managed to give a special glow. The eye moves across a millimetre-accurate decor having called for extreme precision and dexterity, noting the fascinating light effects created by dedicated Haute Horlogerie finishes. All around the movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre has devised an elaborate stage-setting for the hours and minutes bearing its inimitable style signature. Harmony and clarity, both fundamental principles of the Grande Maison, are embedded in the genetic heritage of this new creation. The Manufacture has treated the Master Ultra Thin Squelette to a dial divided into 12 zones, each delineated by hour-markers crafted in keeping with the noblest watchmaking traditions. Reading the time thus becomes both easy and pleasant. In the same way, the minute circle crowning the movement, revealed like a rare object, also demonstrates this ever-present concern for functionality.
The Rare Handcrafts (Métiers Rares) featured on both the front and back of the watch are the very essence of these models presented in four different interpretations. Each Master Ultra Thin Squelette watch represents perfectly thought-out, seamless integration of design, watchmaking artistry and exceptional expertise.
Enamelling is an art: that of colour born from fire that gives it a unique intensity and immutability over time. Envisaging enamel to adorn the Master Ultra Thin Squelette watch represented a sizeable challenge, since the combination of this eminently delicate technique with the skeleton working of the movement and all within an ultra-thin 3.6 mm thick case is an authentic feat. The white or rose gold is first adorned with a guilloché motif that gives a distinctive rhythm to the overall aesthetic of the watch. The artisan then applies the enamel to the dial surface and proceeds to the successive firing operations that reveal the chosen shade: a strongly pigmented deep blue for the white version, or a frosted chestnut brown to match the rose gold of the case. The back of the enamelled Master Ultra Thin Squelette watch provides a mirror image of the sequenced hour-zone design, highlighted by the energy of the colour.
Master Ultra Thin Squelette and the art of engraving on mother-of-pearl and gem-setting
Using mother-of-pearl and diamonds on a men’s watch is a strong aesthetic choice in itself. It is proven to be a judicious one when the watch is held in the palm of the hand, where it becomes clear that radiance is the guiding thread in the gem-set Master Ultra Thin Squelette. This principle begins with the light that plays across the watch components that are engraved or finished according to a palette of techniques creating subtle contrasts. Then comes the shimmering iridescence of mother-of-pearl. Each of the hour zones is adorned with natural white mother-of-pearl that is hand-engraved to texture this delicate material. This technique also gives a unique rhythm to the dial via a kinetic effect. Finally, the fire of the brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel sets the crowning touch to this masterfully sophisticated design.
The case, in 18kt white or rose gold, measures 38mm x 3.6mm or 4.7mm for the diamond-set version. The crystals are sapphire.
Movement is the Swiss manual-wind Jaeger-LeCoultre in-house caliber 849ASQ with 19 jewels, 21,600 vph and a power reserve of 33 hours. The movement is 1.85mm thick.
Dials are openworked, enamelled or openworked, engraved mother-of-pearl with leaf-type hands.
They come on black or brown alligator leather straps with matching gold pin buckles.