Back in August I had the great pleasure to review the phenomenal Duomètre Sphérotourbillon. This amazing timepiece was not only delightful to wear but also visually stunning to look at. Subsequently the watch was awarded the public prize at the 5th edition of Munichtime. Although I only got to spend a limited time with this wonderful timepiece, the experience was truly memorable. These highly exclusive watches are extremely complicated and highly sought after.
Jaeger-LeCoultre have an extensive legacy dating back nearly 180 years. Now as part of the giant luxury goods group Richemont they still have a certain amount of autonomy. Fortunately the production of well-conceived high quality timepieces is still as important as profits to the company. When I established Total Watch Reviews my primary objective was to celebrate good design within the industry. On that basis every timepiece I feature is judged on merit. The sensational Grande Tradition Grande Complication illustrates this point perfectly.
Originally the Grande Tradition Grande Complication was released three years ago. Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled this incredible timepiece at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2010. Normally for my reviews I try to feature models of the current year. Due to the price, rarity and caliber of some timepiece it is especially difficult to access these pieces. This watch is a current model and is only produced in very limited numbers. Originally it took a year for the first deliveries to filter through. When I was first presented with opportunity to try on a watch of this magnitude I jumped at the chance.
My first impression of the Grande Tradition Grande Complication was how beautiful it actually looked. With dimensions of 44mm x 15mm the watch is slightly larger than the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon. These proportions won’t deter serious collectors, as it still would be considered by most to be a reasonable size. I found the timepiece sat very comfortably on my wrist without any friction from the lugs. Ultimately this is down to the elegant round case design and the use of luxurious 18k white gold in production.
Aesthetically the timepiece is absolutely mesmerising and definitely wouldn’t look out of place in a museum. The blue lacquered dial masterfully illustrates sky chart of the northern Hemisphere. This artwork in my opinion is utterly breathtaking and meticulously executed. Rarely have I ever seen such attention to detail on a watch face. Other intricate features include the dauphine style hands, 24 hour revolving disc and the mind blowing flying tourbillon. Overall the composition is exceptionally enticing and highly original.
To power the watch Jaeger-LeCoultre has devised the technically brilliant Calibre 945. This manual wound movement comprises 49 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Each of the mechanisms 527 components has been flawlessly assembled and decorated by hand. It can also be viewed in all it’s splendour through the sapphire crystal case back. Only a few of the worlds leading craftsmen can achieve this level of perfection. Functionally the Grande Tradition Grande Complication is jammed packed with features. These include hours, minutes, seconds, sky chart, zodiac month and 24-hour indicator. The timepiece also has a minute repeater with cathedral crystal gongs and rotating flying tourbillon.
The Grande Tradition Grande Complication is limited to only 75 pieces and has a hand sewn alligator strap with matching 18k white gold clasp. Priced for the connoisseur at $500,000. (available to purchase at: http://www.jfarrenprice.com.au