Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel: Once In A Blue Moon
by Martin Green
Jaeger-LeCoultre is a brand that does many things very well. Its movements have a stellar reputation – and not only among watch collectors and connoisseurs, as these calibers have powered many watches made by competitors as well.
Nearly every dedicated craft needed for watchmaking is practiced at an extremely high level in the brand’s Swiss manufacture.
And alongside an imposing collection of watches, Jaeger-LeCoultre also makes one of the coolest clocks around: the Atmos.
Jaeger-LeCoultre also has a knack for turning even brand-new models into instant classics, yet how this is done is less obvious. The Master Ultra Thin Moon is a perfect example of this.
It is a classic watch with modern-day appeal, a combination that has been the strength of Jaeger-LeCoultre for decades. The dial layout is timeless, yet subtle details such as the shape of the hands, including the second hand, makes it so that you don’t have the feeling that you are looking at a vintage, or even retro-styled, watch.
Timelessness is also guaranteed thanks to the size of the Master Ultra Thin Moon. At 39 mm it is one of those watches that can go either way: small enough to be elegant, but at the same time large enough to go the casual direction when it needs to.
All combined, this is a watch that packs a punch – yet with this new enamel version, Jaeger-LeCoultre promotes the Master Ultra Thin Moon straight into the heavyweight championship!
The first rule in watch design is balance. Or was it eye for detail?
Enamel dials are not as uncommon these days as they once were, and therefore brands need to do a little bit more to stand out. Jaeger-LeCoultre has no problem with that: here the master craftspeople have applied blue enamel to a hand-guilloche dial to stunning effect.
While guilloche is often a very fine pattern, that of this Master Ultra Thin Moon is a thicker, slightly more noticeable one. This makes all the difference! Not only is there more play of light, which allows the enamel to really come to life, but because Jaeger-LeCoultre also opted for blue the watch is surprisingly casual for one that combines such a classic complication with two such traditional crafts.
Again, it is all about balance. Jaeger-LeCoultre revised the hour markers as well as the moon phase.
Another important role, albeit a very subtle one, has been given to the date ring around the moon phase: Jaeger-LeCoultre has engraved this ring, which adds a little bit more depth to the dial’s composition.
The effect of this is like when an artist applies a thicker brush stroke of paint to his or her canvas in just the right place to finish off a masterpiece.
And while Jaeger-LeCoultre is not a brand that shies away from using stainless steel – this material plays an important role in nearly all lines of the brand’s current collection – I am happy that the designers opted for white gold to house the Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel.
Again, the difference is subtle, but the slightly softer reflection from white gold adds just that little bit of extra to the watch.
Caliber 925 powers the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel
Jaeger-LeCoultre has always been a brand people have purchased not only because its watches look good and because they have such good movements in them. Caliber 925 ticks all the boxes in that regard as the slim profile of this movement contributes to keeping the overall height of the watch to just a touch over 10 mm.
Its finish is once again a clever balance of tradition and modern-day appeal, with its full-size rotor covering as little as possible.
While the “regular” Master Ultra Thin Moon watches are fitted with Caliber 925/1, this enamel-dialed version is equipped with Caliber 925/2. The main difference between the previous movement and this new version is a power reserve increase of more than 60 percent, from 43 to 70 hours.
It will be interesting to see if Jaeger-LeCoultre will also start equipping the other versions of this watch with the updated caliber.
Is there nothing to complain about with this new Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel? Yes, there is: Jaeger-LeCoultre opted to make it in a limited edition of only 100 pieces.
While this will keep it exclusive, it will also unfortunately make the watch a rare sight in the wild – and make it more difficult for many watch collectors add to collections.
On the other hand, it is commendable that Jaeger-LeCoultre has not focused on cashing in on the popularity of enamel dials. I only wish that this constraint had appeared with a less desirable piece!
For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/news-events/pre-sihh-master-ultra-thin-moon-enamel.
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel
Case: white gold, 39 x 10.04 mm
Movement: automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 925/2, 70-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, moon phase
Limitation: 100 pieces
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Also published on Medium.