Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Minute Repeater watch looks elegant. This is one of those very rare minute repeater watches that you can wear on a daily basis.
In a nutshell, you have a sublimely elegant 39mm-wide dress watch with a super legible dial that also happens to have a thoroughly modern, in-house made automatic movement.
The case also appears slightly larger because of the minute repeater pusher system. And it is a pusher, versus a slider. Jaeger-LeCoultre engineered out the more traditional “all-or-nothing” minute repeater slider system for a pusher that works much better. The system is also designed using Jaeger-LeCoultre’s proprietary “Crystal Gong” system which helps the chimes sound richer and louder. Unfortunately, you can’t view the minute repeater gong and hammers from the rear of the watch, but the sounds from the minute repeater are impressive and “rich,” as advertised – watch our hands-on video by clicking on the Instagram window just below.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Minute Repeater dial is an example of good watchmaking ideals in practice. It isn’t just the legible and clean design of the dial which works, it is the careful attention to choosing the correct textures, colors, and polishes for all the elements. The “bumpy” face helps the hands and hour markers contrast well, and the applied gold indicators and hands are carefully polished to prevent legibility-killing light reflectivity and glare. Even though there have been other minute repeater watches in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition collection before, this ref. 5092520 is by far the cleanest and easiest on the eyes.
The deceptive simplicity of the watch is really part of its appeal, isn’t it? In fact, that ugly little plaque on the dial feels like a result of some designer feeling as though someone might forget that the watch has a minute repeater. I am pretty sure that big pusher on the side is reminder enough, but I do understand how the simple cleanliness of the dial might confuse regarding the actually complicated nature of the in-house made Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 942 automatic movement.
Operating at 4Hz with 40 hours of power reserve, the caliber 942 is produced from a whopping 437 parts which is about 300 parts more than your simple manually-wound time-only watch. The automatic rotor in 22k rose gold has that cool new JLC-style logo, set deep within the case which is designed for maximum chiming resonance. Movements like this which combine utter practicality with enthusiast-oriented high complications are a particular specialty of Jaeger-LeCoultre.