Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch: Cutting A Sharp Edge
by Martin Green
A dapper gentleman in a bespoke suit has no problem taking care of an endless array of bad guys: for decades, this was the nearly exclusive territory of James Bond. As new villains and a new-era Bond have forced 007 into messing up his suit each movie in record time, it leaves room for gentlemen spies who treat their Savile Row attire with a bit more respect.
Enter the Kingsman. This feature-film series is based on comics created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar and stars a special breed of British secret service operatives. Stylish as they are, they obviously need watches to match their tailored outfits.
Initially, it was British brand Bremont who had the honors in 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, including a cameo in the movie by brand co-founder Nick English. In 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, TAG Heuer took over the ticking roles.
For the upcoming The King’s Man, due out in February 2021 after being delayed several times, the position is taken over Jaeger-LeCoultre, who created an extraordinary watch for the occasion.
Razor-sharp: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch
Diving into its own brand history, Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to transform a pocket watch from its rich past into a wristwatch. This couldn’t have been more appropriate as the 1907 pocket watch in question is nicknamed couteau, knife in French, as a reference to its razor-thin edge.
This barely-there style is made possible by an ultra-thin movement designed by Edmond Jaeger. Before joining forces with Jacques-David LeCoultre, he developed quite a few movements for Cartier, among others, to make couteau pocket watches. One could say that this was one of his particular areas of expertise.
Fast forward to the current day and the realization that transforming a pocket watch into a wristwatch is not an easy thing to do. However, the Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch is a benchmark for it.
Jaeger-LeCoultre indeed succeeded in translating the razor-thin profile of the pocket watch to a wristwatch. The subtly stepped case allows the watch to rest on the wrist unlike any other (ultra-thin) watch.
While at a height of 4.25 mm it is by no means thick, it is also not the slimmest watch on the block – it is not even Jaeger-LeCoultre’s slimmest timepiece (that honor belongs to 2015’s Master Ultra Thin Squelette, coming in at 3.6 mm). Brands like Piaget and Bulgari might regularly produce thinner watches than Jaeger-LeCoultre, but the Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch looks slimmer on the wrist without actually being it.
It is the knife-edge design that accomplishes this.
Jaeger-LeCoultre knew very well what it was doing when its designers worked on this watch. They cleverly kept the crown at 12 o’clock, including the gold ring to which one would typically hook a chain if it were a pocket watch. By even letting that interesting component, which by the way also protects the crown, cut into the strap, they created a quirky detail that makes the watch interesting without it being alienating.
Fortunately, they decided to update the dial’s design, giving it a clean-cut look with blued sword-shaped hands. This strikes just the right tone as the watch looks contemporary yet based on old values, perfectly in line with the style of The Kingsman universe and that of many other modern, discerning gentlemen.
Caliber 849: return of an icon
The Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch also marks the return of Caliber 849. This manually wound movement and its direct predecessor, Caliber 839, was in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s catalog for about four decades. At a height of only 1.85 mm, it became mainly known for powering Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Ultra Thin collection.
The case construction of the Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch is however quite different as it is 1.65 mm thinner than the 5.9 mm thickness of the movement used in the current Master Ultra Thin line, Caliber 896.
Caliber 849 got a reputation for being precise and sturdy, quite handy given a Kingsman’s very active lifestyle, and something we can unfortunately not say of every ultra-thin movement. It is a pleasure to see it return in the Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch – even if the designers kept it from from prying eyes by giving this timepiece a closed case back.
Deep pockets and off-key details
At a price of $29,800, owning the Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch requires a bespoke suit with particularly deep pockets. Even given its exceptional construction, link to what is sure to be a popular and entertaining movie and limited production, that is a lot of money.
I am slightly disappointed that the back of the case is engraved with “One of 100.” With a proper limited edition at this price point, I would expect a brand like Jaeger-LeCoultre to go to the trouble of actually numbering each watch individually.
That aside, the rest of the watch is spot on with tons of character. It proves that while Jaeger-LeCoultre might not have the thinnest watch, or movement, this brand does have one of the best looking.
For more information, please visit www.mrporter.com/en-de/mens/product/kingsman/luxury-watches/dress-watches/limited-edition-master-ultra-thin-kingsman-knife.
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch
Case: 40 x 4.25 mm, pink gold
Movement: hand-wound Caliber 849, 1.85 x 20.2 mm, 19 jewels, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 35-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 100 pieces
Remarks: launched in collaboration with Mr. Porter