Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Unique Travel Time

SIHH 2013 Preview…

Perpetuelle readers here is a first look at the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Unique Travel Time.  The piece you see here is a 100 piece limited edition in a 42mm white gold case available exclusively from November 2012 at the brand’s Paris boutique (price: 37,500 EUR)  — non-limited edition model(s) are expected at SIHH Geneva in January 2013.   Follow on below as I run through the high points — including an explanatory graphic which highlights the numerous operations of the watch as seen on the dial.

A new member to the already impressive Duometre family, the Unique Travel Time and its JLC Caliber 383 follows watches such as the JLC Duometre Spherotourbillon (Caliber 382) and the Duometre a Quantieme Lunaire (Caliber 381).  The watch uses the “dual-wing” concept of the Duomètre-line which is one escapement but two independent operating gear trains and two barrels.   But before we get in to the particulars of the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 383, let’s turn to the dial.

Note the symmetrically arranged and well balanced subdials: at 2 o’clock is the hour and minute for home time; at 10 o’clock the hour and minutes of the worldtime.  Specially for this model, the digital numbers 7 and 9 are specially applied in red pay tribute to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutique at Place Vendôme, Paris.

Here is an overview of the key dial elements.  The grained dial is made of silvered brass.  Not highlighted but still on the dial in my graphic are the central seconds hand and also the dual power reserve meters below each sub dial.

The day/night indication and the hours disc are placed at 6 o’clock and presented via world map which turns.  I find the execution of the world map, though domineering on the dial, to be somewhat lacking in its aesthetic appeal.  Hopefully this is something that can be spiffed up for the final production models vs. what is shown here in the press photos and what I have seen in live prototype pics.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 383

The first barrel provides 50 hours of power for home time and associated gear train, the other barrel provides 50 hours of power for the travel time/second time zone — independent, but both regulated by the same escapement.  The same crown serves to wound both barrels, turn it clockwise to wind one barrel, turn clockwise to wind the other.  The operation of the dual time-zone display does not in any way influence the running of the watch, a fact that considerably enhances the precision of the watch.

As with any Duometre movement, the Cal 383 has received special care in the finish.  The Caliber 383’s bridges and gear train are  hand-chamfered and feature polished troughs.  The wheels, also hand-chamfered or adorned with polished troughs, are snailed or softened.  JLC notes that this decoration draws its inspiration from the great tradition of the brand’s pocket watches while setting new standards with its unique finishing.   The back also bears the engraved names of cities corresponding to 24 time zones.

The Duomètre Unique Travel Time watch in 18K white gold is a limited edition of 100 copies, and was specially created for the opening of the Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique in Paris’ Place Vendôme, where it will be available starting on 20 November 2012.  Price for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Unique Travel Time is 37,500 EUR (about $48k US at current f/x).  All in all a nice piece, though my arm’s length opinion is that it is not as impressive as other members of the Duometre collection and it is hard for me to get excited about this piece.  Those hungry for an in-depth and more technical discussion, see here.