Up Close With The New Jaeger-LeCoultre Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel With A Blued Grained Dial (With Pricing)

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Equipped with an impressive list of features – tourbillon with cylindrical hairspring, perpetual calendar and automatic winding – the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel describes itself well.

Jaeger-LeCoultre tends to iterate its complicated movements over several years, introducing new versions every so often. The Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel, referred to as MGTTCQP from now on, is now available in several variants since being introduced in2013 for the 180th anniversary of Antoine LeCoultre setting up shop Le Sentier. The latest was unveiled at SIHH 2015, featuring a grained blue dial with a touch of lapis lazuli. While the original 180th anniversary MGTTCQP was a limited edition in platinum, the latest version is in white gold and part of the regular collection. The case is the same 42mm in diameter and the dial has the same grained texture as the other versions of this watch, except it is in a vivid blue.

The calendar layout is conventional, with three sub-dials for the date, month, day and moon phase. The four digit date at 12 o’clock is unusual, but common to both Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC (the feature was developed in the nineties when both were part of LMH). A notable detail is the moon phase display, which is a tiny disc of lapis lazuli. Hardly discernible at a distance, the nuances of the semiprecious stone only become apparent up close.

The tourbillon functions like an ordinary one minute tourbillon, with its cage making one revolution every 60 seconds. But instead of an ordinary flat hairspring, it has a cylindrical hairspring, something first used by Jaeger-LeCoultre on the Gyrotourbillon 2, and also to be found in Vacheron Constantin’s upcoming record breaking, ultra-complication. Historically found in marine chronometers, a cylindrical or helical hairspring is coiled vertically, forming a cylinder. Its form ensures the hairspring’s centre of gravity is at the center of the balance wheel. In theory that improves timekeeping, but after marine chronometers become obsolete such hairsprings disappeared until making a reappearance in high-end tourbillons recently.    

Whether the cylindrical hairspring offers any significant improvements in timekeeping is a matter of debate, but it certainly is visually compelling. Its height requires the titanium tourbillon cage to be correspondingly higher, leaving it standing some distance from the plane of dial. While in action the tourbillon is a treat to observe, especially since the dial is stepped, with the lower portion recessed to highlight the tourbillon. 

A close-up of the tourbillon cage with the triple-pointed seconds hand; the balance wheel inside is 14k gold

The view from the back is more conventional, with the 18k rose gold rotor decorated with a relief of a gold medal Jaeger-LeCoultre won at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. The manufacture has mastered the art of creating finely decorated, complicated movements on a relatively large scale, with this being a good example of that prowess. Typical of other Jaeger-LeCoultre movements, the calibre 985 is decorated attractively, with sun ray striping on the bridges, blued steel screws and gilded, engraved text. 

The Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel in blue retails for S$190,000 in Singapore, with US retail approximately US$140,000.

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Stowa Announces The Flieger Klassik Sport, With A Larger, 43mm Case (With Pricing)

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Stowa has just unveiled the Flieger Klassik Sport, an enlarged, 43mm version of its bestselling pilot’s watch modelled on the Luftwaffe B-Uhr.

Now larger and with increased water resistance, the Stowa Flieger Klassik Sport still retains the signature look derived from the 55mm beobachtungsuhr (B-uhr) worn by German airforce navigators during the Second World War. While the original Stowa Flieger was just 40mm in diameter, the Flieger Klassik Sport has a 43mm case diameter, more suited to contemporary tastes. Though the modern Stowa company is a resurrected name (like much of the rest of German watchmaking), Stowa does possess a legitimate claim to be a maker of aviator’s timepieces. A contraction of Walter Storz, Stowa was one of the five companies that supplied actual B-uhr to the German airforce during the Second World War, along with A. Lange & Söhne, Laco, Wempe and IWC (the modern IWC Big Pilot is modelled on its vintage B-uhr). Like the Second World War B-uhr, the Flieger Klassik Sport is available with two dials, the cleaner Baumuster A (“Type A”) dial with only hour numerals, and the later Baumuster B dial with both hour and minute numbers. The Type A dial is offered with or without the Stowa logo, with a date at six o’clock being another option. 

Flieger Type A

Flieger Type B

All versions are equipped with an ETA 2824 fitted with a rotor decorated with an engraving originally found inside the backs of the vintage B-uhr.

Based in Germany, Stowa specialises in accessibly priced, military-inspired timepieces, and the Flieger Klassik Sport is similarly affordable. In any of its versions the cost is €1290 with taxes included, or €1084.03 for tax-free purchases outside the European Union. They are available direct from Stowa.

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In stores: Longines Avigation Watch Type A-7 (with pricing)

The A-7 dial was set at an angle, so that it could be read while the watch was worn on the inside of the wrist without letting go of the controls.

Hautlence Unveils its First Ever Tourbillon Wristwatch (with Pricing)

Baselworld 2013: Stowa Flieger FO1 TESTAF

Introducing The Hautlence Vortex, Featuring A Rotating Escapement And Jumping Hours (With Pricing)

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Equipped with the second generation of its impressive rotating escapement calibre,  the Hautlence Vortex displays the time via jumping hours and retrograde minutes, housed in a titanium case with panoramic sapphire crystals. 

The Hautlence Vortex reimagines the brand’s flagship complication, the rotating escapement with jumping hours. First introduced in the HL2.0, the movement is the most complicated movement Hautlence has developed, comprised of some 552 parts, exceeding the number of components in a minute repeater. Instead of sitting vertically on the wrist, the Vortex is laid out horizontally, instantly making it more wearable. Designed by Berra Blanquer Design Consultants, a Parisian studio responsible for the Louis Vuitton Tambour case, the Vortex case is titanium, as well as large and imposing, measuring 52mm wide and 50mm long. Its form is inspired by glass-covered skyscrapers, with planes that are angular and faceted, fitted with six sapphire crystals on the front, back and sides, revealing the movement in its entirety. 

The new HLR2.0 movement is functionally similar to that in the HL2.0, with minor modifications for aesthetics and improved functionality. Minutes are indicated on a retrograde scale on the front, with the power reserve located at two o’clock. The hours are shown in a window at eight o’clock. Winding and time setting is done via the crown at 12 o’clock.

A 12-link chain with the 12 hour numerals is connected to the escapement, which rotates 60 degrees at the top at every hour as the chain advances. Bevelled gears that mesh at 90 degree angles are required to translate the lateral motion of the gear train into the vertical motion of the escapement and hour chain. One key difference between the HL2.0 and the Vortex is the bridge for the rotating escapement, which is now a cylindrical, three-dimensional form.

The movement is automatic, with an 18k white gold micro-rotor and a 40 hour power reserve. 

The Vortex is a limited edition of 88 pieces in titanium, priced at SFr160,000, which is equivalent to about US$170,000. That’s about 10% less than the price of the HL2.0. 

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Introducing The Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées Skeleton For Only Watch 2015

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A skeleton watch with a red enamel chapter ring, the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées Skeleton Only Watch 2015 is a one of a kind wristwatch Vacheron Constantin has created to raise funds for charity.

The Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées are a trio of skeleton watches introduced by Vacheron Constantin last year, featuring open-worked movements inspired by the architecture of Gothic buildings. Ordinarily available with black, grey or blue enamelled chapter ring, the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées gets a bright red enamel treatment for the unique Only Watch edition. The hand-enamelled chapter ring sits under skeletonised Roman numerals, with a subtle “Only Watch” logo at three o’clock indicating its provenance. 

Skeletonised by hand to create curved forms on the open-worked bridges, the movement is then engraved, also by hand. Based on the in-house calibre 4400, the movement is hand-wound with a 65 hour power reserve. The 40mm case is white gold, and engraved “No. 1/1” on the back. 

The Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées Skeleton will be sold on November 7, 2015 at an auction in Geneva under the aegis of Phillips, with all proceeds going towards research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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