Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces the Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger”

The big cat portrayed simply yet lavishly.

With 2022 being the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac, tiger-themed watches started to proliferate since late last year. One of the most striking tiger-themed watches is also one of the most discreet, revealing its roaring tiger only on the reverse.

The Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger” is a sharp but simple on the front, while its reverse depicts a tiger leaping out of the clouds. Unusually, the decoration combines both enamel and engraving, making it more elaborate than the typical enamelled Reverso.

Initial thoughts

The quintessential enamelled Reverso is a miniature painting in polychrome enamel – a specialty of Jaeger-LeCoultre since the 1990s. The Reverso “Tiger” in contrast, is a stately black and gold.

Even though the “Tiger” dials back on the colours, it is a striking and beautiful watch. The simplicity at a distance gives away to detail when you examine the roaring tiger on the back, which is executed in low relief. It leaps out of a black background that is actually fired enamel.

At the same time, this combination of figurative engraving in addition to enamel is a first for Jaeger-LeCoultre, at least in recent years, making the “Tiger” a rather special watch.

Naturally the elaborate decoration comes at a price – €90,000 before taxes to be exact. That’s about US$100,000 and about the same as past Reverso models with miniature enamel paintings.

Delicate work

The engraved tiger takes form after the back has been enamelled. So the process starts with the blank back being painted by hand with black enamel – the enameller is careful to leave the silhouette of the tiger untouched – and then fired in an oven, melting the enamel powder and fusing it to the back.

The enamel is then polished to give it a perfect glassy finish, before the back is turned over to the engraver. He or she has to work within the tiny confines of the area within the enamelled surround, carefully removing material to create the dynamic portrait of the tiger. Once complete, the tiger is accented with black lacquer for its stripes. This process takes 55 hours.

Notably, the dial is also black fired enamel. It’s matched with pink-gold tone hands and indicates, along with a railway minute track in metallic print.

And like most manual-wind Reversos for men, this is powered by the cal. 822, the venerable workhorse calibre that was designed specifically for the Reverso, explaining its ovoid form.


Key facts and price

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger”
Ref. Q39324K1

Diameter: 45.5 mm by 27.4 mm
Height: 9.73 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Dial: Grand feu enamel
Case back: Grand feu enamel and relief engraving

Movement: Cal. 822A/2
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Alligator with folding clasp

Limited edition: No but only made to order
Availability:
 Only at boutiques
Price: €90,000 (excluding VAT)

For more, visit Jaeger-lecoultre.com.


 

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Audemars Piguet Unveils the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Openworked Ref. 16204

Skilfully and tastefully upgraded.

Alongside the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 16202, Audemars Piguet has just unveiled the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Openworked Ref. 16204 for the 50th anniversary of its iconic octagonal watch.

The skeleton “Jumbo” is naturally offered with a brand-new movement, the cal. 7124. Extra revealing and extra thin – even thinner than the cal. 7121 found in the standard “Jumbo” – the cal. 7124 boasts a striking, cohesive aesthetic thanks to having been designed from the ground up as an open-worked calibre.

The steel variant with a low-key, almost monochromatic palette

Initial thoughts

Striking, original, and impressive, the “Jumbo” Openworked is clearly a cut above standard “Jumbo” ref. 16202. It is arguably a more comprehensive upgrade over the equivalent, earlier-generation model than the ref. 16202, given the nature of the new calibre.

Everything attractive about a skeleton Royal Oak can be found in the “Jumbo” Openworked, namely the meticulous hand finish of an ultra-thin movement inside the elegantly flat and wide case.

The visual details of the earlier-generation skeleton movement that were unappealing – namely the meandering bridges that seemed almost messy – have been eliminated. Instead, the cal. 7124 brings with it an architecture that’s contemporary and geometric with strong, flowing lines, while remaining intricate enough to capture the feel of an old-school skeletonised movement.

Starting at US$90,400 in steel and rising to the equivalent of US$127,000 in pink gold, the ref. 16204 costs slightly less than the Royal Oak Double Balance wheel Openworked. From that perspective, the ref. 16204 is fairly priced since the lacks the double balance. While the double balance wheel might have some extra techie appeal, the simplicity and slimness of the skeleton “Jumbo” is certainly hard to top.

Open-worked artistry

Inside the “Jumbo” Openworked is the cal. 7124, essentially the skeleton version of the cal. 7121. Both movements were developed concurrently. The cal. 7124, however, is thinner due to the removal of the quickset date found in the cal. 7121.

But unlike older generation movement that were retroactively open worked, the cal. 7124 was conceived with skeletonisation in mind from the very beginning, explaining the thoughtful design.

Because it is modern in both concept and manufacture, the cal. 7124 is skeletonised with modern techniques. No more files and raws, instead unnecessary material from the bridges of the cal. 7124 are removed via computer numeral control (CNC) machining as well as electric discharge machining (EDM), which is a process of removing metal via sparks.

The top right of the base plate has a surprisingly curvaceous outline, with its appeal enhanced by the outward and inward angles

However, the cal. 7124 is finished by hand (presumably with hand-held electric tools), resulting in numerous inward and outward angles along the bevelling of the bridges – an impressive 324 angles according to the brand.

Notably, most of the anglage has a domed profile, a flourish not achievable solely via computerised or automated finishing techniques, therefore indicating a high degree of manual work in the decoration.

The black-on-gold palette of the pink gold version is striking, though the bevelling is less obvious due to the colour

The view from the back is familiar too, with the twin golden bridges calling to mind the cal. 7121 found in the standard “Jumbo” ref. 16202.

But here the movement has been thoroughly skeletonised, leaving the symmetrical architecture – the gold bridges hold the balance and barrel – even more obvious.

The 50th anniversary rotor of the Royal Oak is only available this year, but the font for the emblem is far too modern compared to the rest of the watch


Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Openworked 39 mm
Ref. 16204ST.OO.1240ST.01 (steel)
Ref. 16204OR.OO.1240OR.01 (pink gold)

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 8.1 mm
Material: Steel or 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 7124
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 57 hours

Strap: Matching bracelet

Limited edition: No
Availability:
 At AP boutiques
Price:
Steel – US$90,400, or 130,500 Singapore dollars
Pink gold – US dollar price unavailable: 170,500 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Audemarspiguet.com.


 

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Audemars Piguet Introduces the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Ref. 16202

An entirely new movement for the 50th anniversary.

Audemars Piguet’s opening act of the year is straightforward but significant: the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 16202.

Created to mark the 50th anniversary of its quintessential octagonal watch, the new “Jumbo” is arguably the first truly new version of the original Royal Oak, as it contains a latest-generation movement. the cal. 7121 replaces the cal. 2120/2121 that’s been in service since 1972.

Naturally the ref. 16202 makes it debut in the quintessential combination of a blue-grey dial and steel case. And the line up also includes three precious metal versions that are arguably more striking (and certainly more expensive).

The cal. 7121

Initial thoughts

With the retirement of the ref. 15202 announced last year, an all-new Royal Oak “Jumbo” became inevitable. And the fact that this year is the 50th anniversary of the model makes it even more so.

It happened and fortunately, the new “Jumbo” lives up to expectations. It’s still very much the same – the case dimensions remains unchanged – but revamped just enough to it a substantively new watch in technical terms.

And then there are the gorgeous smoked dial finishes, which set it apart from past models and make it the “Jumbo” of the 21st century.

Especially delicious in yellow gold

The highlight of the ref. 16202 is the cal. 7121. Still ultra thin like its predecessor, the cal. 7121 boasts a modern construction that promises superior timekeeping over a longer period as well as better robustness.

It also incorporates several interesting technical and visual details. Most importantly, the cal. 7121 includes a quickset date mechanism, eliminating a major inconvenience of the original.

The 50th anniversary rotor that will only available only in 2022

This brings us to the price of the ref. 16202, which is increased over that of the ref. 15202 from between 15% to 35%, depending on the metal.

The new Jumbos do cost a lot more, but the improved movement makes it worth it. That said, the retail prices of ultra-desirable sports watches like the “Jumbo” are a moot point, since demand so far outstrips supply.

The most expensive version in platinum

Strikingly new

Put simply, the ref. 16202 changes only where it should, so it’s still reassuringly familiar.

In fact, its size is identical to that of the outgoing ref. 15202, despite the new cal. 7121 that’s slightly thicker at 3.2 mm, as compared to the 3.05 mm of the cal. 2121.

Still 39 mm wide by 8.1 mm tall

Similarly, the dial retains the classic petite tapisserie guilloche that’s synonymous with the Royal Oak. But because of the new calibre, the date is now positioned closer to the edge of the dial.

Importantly, the dial of the steel model is executed in the Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 (“night blue, cloud 50”) colour as the 1972 original, but the finish is obtained with a modern deposition technique instead of a galvanic bath.

The date gets a quickset mechanism, while sitting closer to the edge of the dial

Each of the gold versions have smoked dials to go with the case metal, once again in the petite tapisserie pattern. The only exception is the platinum version, which has a radially-brushed dial with a smoked green finish – exactly the same dial as found on the platinum ref. 15202 launched last year (and now discontinued).

The smoked yellow gold finish of the yellow gold model

The new movement does incorporate several compelling details, from both aesthetic and technical perspectives. Besides the quickset date, another convenience is the power reserve, which is now 55 hours, up from 40 in the original.

Some of the improvements are entirely evident from the back. The full balance bridge, for instance, brings with it better shock resistance, but it is complemented by a nearly identical identical barrel bridge for visual symmetry – an uncommon feat in an ultra-thin movement where height often trumps style.

The balance wheel and offset hairspring stud holder are proprietary – examples of the thoughtful construction that is both functional and appealing

And the movement finish has also been made more contemporary, which means the calibre loses some of the old-school details found on the cal. 2121. The cal. 7121, for instance, has fewer rounded, polished bevels on its bridges.

While the modern architecture is attractive, the simplified finishing is less attractive but inevitable in a modern calibre conceived to be optimised for production on a largish scale.


Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 39 mm
Ref. 16202ST.OO.1240ST.01 (steel)
Ref. 16202OR.OO.1240OR.01 (pink gold)
Ref. 16202BA.OO.1240BA.01 (yellow gold)
Ref. 16202PT.OO.1240PT.01 (platinum)

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 8.1 mm
Material: Steel, 18k yellow gold, 18k pink gold, or platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 7121
Functions: Hours, minutes, and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 55 hours

Strap: Matching bracelet

Limited edition: No
Availability:
 At all boutiques but only at AP Houses for the platinum version
Price:
Steel – US$33,200, or 47,900 Singapore dollars
Pink gold and yellow gold – US$70,500, or 101,800 Singapore dollars
Platinum – US dollar price unavailable: 164,700 Singapore dollars

For more, visit audemarspiguet.com.


 

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