Jaeger-LeCoultre is among the elite brands that have raised the bar on the degree of perfection to which a watch is finished. Just as the Geneva Seal now requires a watch to be decorated on the outside as well as the inside, it is no longer enough for a top watch company to create a tourbillon or another high complication.
Today, demonstrations of watchmaking prowess are all about the finish. Jaeger-LeCoultre demonstrates its mastery of this endeavor with the latest in a series of champlevé enamel dials in its Master Grand Tourbillon collection. The piece depicts cranes on the dial, which are an ancient symbol of longevity (because of the long necks?).
The champlevé (‘raised field’) technique is a process in which the area to be decorated is hollowed out with a burin, leaving areas in which the enamel will form a motif. The engraves also create a guilloched background that remains visible through layers of translucent enamel. The depth and intensity of colors in champlevé enamel are second to none, creating an almost three-dimensional look.
The watch was introduced in Venice last week to a group of clients and journalists. The brand held festivities in the city all week in celebration of its 180th anniversary. Why Venice? The brand is a major sponsor of the Venice Mostra Film Festival, and the brand held several gala dinners and presented the Glory to the Filmmaker Prize. Present for the celebrations was the dazzling brand ambassador Diane Kruger and many other stars which, in my opinion, were nevertheless outdazzled by Master Grand Tourbillon Enamel, with its engraved case side and row of baguettes set into the bezel and horns.