Jaeger-LeCoultre is known for its innovative complications and its ultra-thin watches, and the manufacture’s introductions at the SIHH 2014 were even more impressive than usual. This year’s masterpiece is both innovative and ultra-thin. The Hybris Mechanica 11 Minute Repeater is the eleventh creation in the haute horology Hybris Mechanica collection and, at 7.9mm thick, represents the world’s smallest minute repeater/grand complication with an automatic movement. The absence of an upper bridge – it is a flying tourbillon – and the presence of a new flying balance wheel makes it 25% thinner than the typical tourbillon escapement. Another impressive detail is the retractable pushbutton to activate the repeater. A row of windows along the inside of the bezel provides a view to another ingenious innovation: a newly developed peripheral rotor. Finally, there is a “silent-timelapse” reduction system, which means that unlike conventional repeaters, there is no gap between the chime of hours and the minutes when there are no quarter hour to chime in between.
Still along the ultra-slim lines is the Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu. At 5.04mm thick and with a luxurious grand feu enameled dial, it is the ultimate dress watch. A date version is only 7.58mm thick. A special innovation on the dial is that the numerals are engraved on the mainplate so that after the enameling process, they are on the same level as the rest of the dial, for a totally smooth finish. This helps with precision too, because it means the hands are closer to the dial. The new Duometre Quantieme Lunaire, with date, moonphase and power reserve, is also presented with a glorious grand feu dial.
There is also a slimmed down version of the Grande Reverso this year, the Ultra Thin 1931, at 7.3mm. The red gold case and chocolate toned dial add a special richness to this newly trimmed Art Deco classic. The strap is a special treat. It was made in partnership with Casa Fagliano, the Buenos Aires leather handcrafter, working with Cordovan leather, that is well known in polo circles.
Ladies’ watches were slimmed down as well. Two new versions of the Rendez-Vous collection are the Day/Night and the Date. The Date contains the Caliber 966, one of the smallest mechanical movements in the watchmaking world, reminiscent of Jaeger’s Caliber 101 and Duoplan movements that have made their mark on watchmaking history. Cased, it is only 8.2mm thick. The Day/Night, with the Caliber 967A, offers a poetic interpretation of the moonphase, and it is only 8.7mm thick.