Haute Watch of the Week: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3

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The Gyrotourbillon 3, a masterpiece of complicated watchmaking, draws on skills and technology developed during the 180-year history Jaeger-LeCoultre, whose manufacture in Le Sentier in the Vallée de Joux was one of Switzerland’s first. The watch, part of the Hybris Mechanica collection that includes the first two Gyrotourbillon models and a Grande Sonnerie, is a double-axis tourbillon with spherical-shaped cage, spherical balance wheel and ball-shaped hairspring. The absence of an upper bridge – this is a flying tourbillon – provides a clearer view of the gyroscope-like carriage, which houses a hairpring that is spherical instead of flat.

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The tourbillon cages are made of aluminum – the inner cage rotates once every 24 seconds, and the outer cage once per minute, and the dramatic balance and spherical balance spring are made of heat-blued gold. 

If you can take your eyes off the tourbillon, you’ll notice the watch also incorporates a digital chronograph, with elapsed chronograph minutes recorded in what looks like a large date window. The movement, caliber 176 is the 1,242nd to be created by Jaeger-LeCoutre since its founding in 1833, and it is a serious contender for the It movement of the era. It is 36.8mm thick, with 596 components, including 112 just for the tourbillon alone. The tourbillon cages are made of aluminum – the inner cage rotates once every 24 seconds, and the outer cage once per minute, and the dramatic balance and spherical balance spring are made of heat-blued gold. These components in action create a three-dimensional dance that gives the impression of a whirling dervish spinning in mid air. The spherical balance was originally created for marine chronometers, to create a more regular pulse and efficient rate, a concept that is improved upon by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s more advanced technology. The watch is powered by to mainspring barrels.

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This is the brand’s homage to one of watchmaking’s original inventions, and the traditional understated hours and minutes dial is very deliberate. It was inspired by pocket watches of the 19th century, for which the tourbillon was originally invented. It is a monopoussoir, as were the early models. It honors the brands 180th anniversary, and will be made in a limited series of 75.

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Photos courtesy Jaeger-LeCoultre.

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