Originally released in 1992, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control collection represents the Manufacture’s commitment to the purity of classic watchmaking, where understated aesthetics and engineering serve a watch’s functionality and performance.
In that same year, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a quality assurance programme that saw its watches undergo a six-week battery of tests, or “1,000 Hours Control,” where the instruments were pitted against pressure, movement, temperature fluctuations, and water resistance to name a few, to establish product excellence and accuracy.f
For 2017, Jaeger-LeCoultre has launched three new models — the Master Control Date, the Master Control Chronograph, and the Master Control Geographic — that pay homage to the original collection while exhibiting vintage-inspired traits thanks to subtle two-tone sector dials.
A popular style in the 1930s and 1940s, the sector dial was first used in timepieces that were developed for the military and for scientists. The sector dial signalled the division of the watch face into concentric circles inside and outside the hour markings, usually with solid lines defining these rings. Commonly, the inner circle, or “sector,” was demarcated with a ring that contained outwardly radiating hour indexes. Such dials were often two-toned to mark the difference between the central sector and the rest of the watch face.
Though this watch style faded into obscurity by the middle of the twentieth century, the design has been making a comeback in recent years thanks to everyone’s apparent obsession with all things vintage. Taking advantage of this trend, Jaeger-LeCoultre has reinvigorated the sector dial with three special edition watches all in stainless steel cases with polished bezels. Here is a closer look at the Master Control collection with sector dials…
Master Control Date Sector Dial
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control Date (ref. 1548530) offers the wearer a classic and subtle watch perfect for daily wear. Sized at a discreet 39mm in diameter and only 8.5mm thick, the case houses a watch face that displays a two-tone sector dial with a satin-brushed silver-toned outer circle and a cream interior circle with an opaline finish. These sections are separated by a defined black ring from which the hour indexes emanate, apart from the 6, 9, and 12 markers, which are defined by complementary black numerals. A date window sits at 3 o’clock, signalling the date in a light blue that matches the blue accents found across the dial’s design, as well as the skeletonised, syringe shaped hour and minute hands, and the ultra-thin seconds hand.
Powered by the automatic, self-winding Calibre 899/1, as a time and date watch, the Master Control Date offers date, hour, minute, and seconds functionality. The practical yet exquisite movement can be viewed via the watch’s sapphire crystal caseback, which allows uninterrupted views of its 219 pieces, 32 jewels, and solid rose gold rotor. Offering a power reserve of 38 hours, this is an ideal choice for an everyday, utilitarian timepiece.
Master Control Chronograph Sector Dial
Similar in style, but with a bit more flair, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control Chronograph (ref. 1538530) has been designed with chronograph fans in mind. Sized at a slightly larger 40mm in diameter and 12.1mm thickness, this watch sports the same two-toned sector dial, however, the difference comes with the two registers placed symmetrically on the dial to replace the 3 o’clock date window and 9 o’clock numeral. Finished in the same opaline as the central sector and containing light blue numerals, these chronograph sub-dials maintain the watch’s restrained design. A tachymeter scale, also in light blue, runs the length of the dial’s periphery, adding one more element to this watch face.
Powered by the Calibre 751G, this automatic, self-winding chronograph movement offers hour, minute, and seconds functionality, as well as a 12-hour counter, 30-minute counter, and tachymeter for measuring speed. Made up of 235 pieces and 37 jewels, this movement vibrates at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour and includes two barrels that allow for a generous 65-hour power reserve. This is the only timepiece in the Master Control collection, however, that is not fitted with a sapphire crystal caseback, but with its ability to take vintage design cues and pair them with a modern look, we’re sure that this won’t stop chronograph buffs from choosing this model.
Master Control Geographic Sector Dial
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control Geographic (ref. 1428530) is best suited to those looking for a travel time model. Sized at 39mm in diameter and again sporting a similar sector dial with the same finishings and light blue accents, the difference with this model comes with its geographic elements. A second time-zone register is situated at the 6 o’clock mark and a 24-city disc can be found at the bottom of the watch face from 4:30 to 7:30, wherein the city names are also spelled out in light blue. Though time and date watches and chronographs with sector dials have been made by a range of watchmakers across the decades, a geographic timepiece with a sector dial is entirely new.
Powered by the Calibre 939B/1, this automatic, self-winding movement offers hour, minute, and seconds functionality, as well as a second time-zone display tied to 24 cities controlled by an additional crown at 10 o’clock. Containing 282 pieces, 34 jewels, and a solid gold rotor, like with the Master Control Date, this calibre can be viewed via a sapphire crystal caseback. Vibrating at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour and with one barrel, the Master Control Geographic offers the wearer a 43-hour power reserve. Overall, Jaeger-LeCoultre has done a noteworthy job of respecting the restraint of this collection’s design, while introducing a new feature.
Rounding off the classic look of all models is a dark blue alligator leather strap fitted with a steel pin buckle. Coming in at $8,300 for the Master Control Date, $11,700 for the Master Control Chronograph, and $13,900 for the Master Control Geographic, Jaeger-LeCoultre has mastered the art of quality timepieces with exceptional movements at competitive prices. This alone will have watch aficionados flocking to pick up one of the models from this collection — the fact that they also feature a cool and classic design is very much an added bonus.