By Stephen Pulvirent
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Master Control collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre has released three special edition watches. The three pieces – a Master Control Date, Chronograph, and Geographic – are based on core pieces in the collection, but each has been given a vintage-inspired treatment with a sleek two-tone sector dial with light blue accents.
At SIHH, a lot gets made of the crazy watch. I’m talking about the $93,900 ceramic perpetual calendars and the $1 million grand complications. But it’s important to remember that these watches don’t even come close to making up the majority of watches purchased each year. It’s the less headline-grabbing pieces that end up on more wrists, and so it’s always extra exciting to find something genuinely incredible that doesn’t come with a five or six-figure price tag.
The Master Control Date
The first watch is the Master Control Date, which is the simplest of the three watches. The watch has a 39mm stainless steel case that’s very slim at just 8.5mm. That number sounds slim, sure, but in person it almost feels like an ultra-thin. The technical details of the watch are simple enough and inside is a JLC caliber 899/1, which is a 219 component automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve and a solid gold winding rotor.
What really makes this watch special though is the dial. The two-tone sector dial has a brushed silver outer track and a grained interior, separated by a dark sector. note that at 3, 6, 9, and 12, the small sector sections go in, not out, so as to not interrupt the numerals and date window (which shows the date in blue). The hands are open (ie, not filled with lume) and the whole thing really looks like something you’d find on a 1940s watch, with none of the just-off kitsch.
The Master Control Date retails for $5,700.
The Master Control Chronograph
Next up we have the Master Chronograph. While the time-and-date model is my personal favorite, I think this is likely to be the big hit of the collection. The steel case is just a tiny bit larger at 40mm and it wears extremely well – in fact, the first time I tried the watch on, I thought it was still a 39mm