Swiss luxury watch manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils Hybris Artistica collection which offers twelve unique and precious timepieces symbolising the horological excellence of the Grande Maison. This ultra luxurious collection offers Hybris Artistica versions of 12 masterpieces: Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3, Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste, Master Gyrotourbillon 1, Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie, Duomètre Sphérotourbillon, Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Enamel, Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Pocket Watch, Grande Reverso Tourbillon Squelette, Reverso Cordonnet Neva, Rendez-Vous Célestial, Rendez-Vous Tourbillon and finally the Atmos Marquetry clock.
This highly exclusive watch collection builds on the fascination generated by grand complication watches and by the Hybris Mechanica collection that the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux has been developing over the years. The Hybris Artistica timepieces epitomise the unique spirit of inventiveness brought to life by 180 century-old skills in a ‘calendar’ of wonderment combining as never before watchmaking art and transcendent creativity.
Hybris Artistica further enhances the iconic masterpieces of the brand and demonstrates the boundless creativity as well as the rich watchmaking culture of the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux.
Faithfully perpetuating traditional watchmaking, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents complicated watches with specially crafted cases each more sophisticated than the next. Each of the twelve models in the Hybris Artistica collection represents an unprecedented blend of design, technical construction, watchmaking art and exquisite craftsmanship to achieve the point of equilibrium that dramatically expresses the Manufacture’s mastery and style.
Through daring materials and strong aesthetic choices, the Manufacture draws upon the talent of its artisans while eluding technical traps and constraints. It submits its cases and movements to the ultimate demands of beauty and excellence. Such is its singular vision that has been successfully mingling tradition and invention for over 180 years.
1. Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3
With its flying Gyrotourbillon and its spherical balance-spring, the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 unveiled in 2013 is undoubtedly the watch sensation of the 21stcentury. The absence of an upper bridge reveals a miniature universe wherein the two carriages engage in a carefully synchronised rotation. Ultra-lightweight materials were used to achieve a micromechanical tour de force: despite having more than a hundred parts, the Gyrotourbillon weighs less than one gram. Associated with a 14-carat gold blued balance wheel, the movements of the balance-spring are surprisingly three-dimensional. This timepiece also achieves the feat of combining the supreme precision of the spherical tourbillon with the first instant digital display chronograph presented in a grand complication.
For the Hybris Artistica version of Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3, the manufacture selected tantalum, an extremely rare metal which is rock solid, corrosion resistant, and particularly challenging to work. The watchmakers of the Manufacture had to rethink how to build the case, so that the shape would reflect the emotion generated by this hypnotic metal. Deep anthracite grey in colour, it seems animated, almost alive, because of its bluish lustre. The spirit of this timepiece is edgy and avant-garde, accentuated by the black dial for the hours and minutes, the anthracite dial of the chronograph counter, and the ruthenium-treated movement.
The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 decked out in tantalum is one of this century’s most extraordinary watchmaking inventions.
2. Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste
The Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste offers up a stunning interpretation of time. To fully demonstrate the astronomical aspect, the orbital flying tourbillon does not indicate the passage of civil time, but instead sidereal time, which is nearly four minutes shorter in duration than solar time. Thus, the passage of Sirus – the reference star – at the zenith marks the celestial meridian. The orbital flying tourbillon moves to the rhythm of the stars and constellations, and rotates with the dial in a sidereal choreography.
The dial is made of royal blue aventurine, between indigo and stormy sky, which maintains the mystery. The area of the dial representing the months is guilloché and covered in translucent lacquer which recreates the effect of the depth of the cosmos. The hour-markers march around the inner bezel ring (or flange) to mark the rhythm of time. The flange itself is guilloché and filled with lacquer to blend in a vision of absolute harmony.
Replacing the bezel, the domed crystal of the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste is placed directly on the caseback, which provides a greater sense of openness and ensures perfect visibility of the orbital tourbillon. The breathtakingly intense Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste brings the mystery of the skies within reach.
3. Master Gyrotourbillon 1
The Gyrotourbillon 1, a world premiere in 2004, returns to the roots of the watchmaking complications embodied by Jaeger-LeCoultre for over 180 years. It features a unique construction with an ultra-lightweight outer carriage which rotates on its axis every 60 seconds and an inner carriage housing a balance wheel, balance-spring and escapement rotating around an axis that forms a right angle relative to the first carriage. The balance wheel moves weightlessly in this incredibly lightweight microcosm.
The upper part of the Master Gyrotourbillon 1 dial features the fixed wheel of the running equation of time and reveals a unique semi-circular date display where two retrograde hands share the task. On the back of the watch, a sapphire crystal reveals the retrograde leap-year indication. Everything was designed with perfection in mind for this grand complication model, the only one with a power reserve of eight days.
The dial is a miraculous achievement made from a completely skeletonised aventurine plate, retaining in the end only openwork stone encrusted with sparkling flecks.
Traditionally reserved for the movement, a skeletonised dial is rare. Featuring carved rosettes forming an enigmatic and sublimely beautiful stained-glass window, decorated with hourmarkers in blue lacquer, the dial is touched by grace, in perfect harmony with this exceptional watch. The artisans of Jaeger-LeCoultre worked with unwavering tenacity in order to craft the dial from this extremely hard and brittle stone that shatters at the slightest impact. They brought the same patient determination to bear on the thick domed sapphire crystal, polished on the inside, which, in the absence of a bezel, is attached directly to the case in a true work of art. The Master Gyrotourbillon 1 bears the mark of intelligence and powerful creativity. It also calls upon the emotions. Thus, a sapphire crystal tab extending into the case at 6 o’clock draws the gaze to the Gyrotourbillon like never before, piercing the mysteries and savouring the wonderment in a truly stunning communion.
4. Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie
Unveiled in 2009, the Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie is simply the most complicated watch in the world. It strikes the hours en passant with a complete Westminster carillon that chimes the longest rendition of the Big Ben melody ever played by a striking watch. The engineers totally redesigned the basic principles of the mechanism, using avant-garde technologies to deliver a bright chime rich in tones and harmonies, a regular rhythm, but also an easy to use a Grande Sonnerie model that prevents errors in manipulation and features incomparable strength. While the Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie already represents an extraordinary feat in itself, the Jaeger LeCoultre watchmakers decided to add two other complications: a flying tourbillon and aperpetual calendar with retrograde hands. It is programmed to require no adjustment until the year 2100.
The art of the Hybris Artistica version consists in showcasing the outstanding features of this timepiece that incorporates the most sophisticated complications in inventive new forms. To do this, the Manufacture designed a dial made of rock crystal that reveals the horological movement from the back of this watch that is protected by ten patents.
Also known as “solidified light” of celestial origin, rock crystal has given rise to many myths and beliefs on several continents and in different cultures. This legendary material possesses a breathtakingly pure and organic beauty. It can be veined, but it is an absolutely transparent variety that was selected for the dial of the Duomètre à Grande Sonnerie. Its structure, which is not amorphous like that of glass, interacts with the light to give a unique and intangible colour to a solid matter. This sculptural watch propels the wearer into a world of horological erudition almost literally pulsating with energy.
5. Duomètre Sphérotourbillon
Endlessly inventive, the watchmakers of the Manufacture came up with a stunning movement design paving the way for unprecedented functions. The Dual Wing is a revolutionary concept that features two standalone movements, each with its own energy source and sharing a common regulating organ. The major feature of this Duomètre is its Sphérotourbillon, in which an additional axis of rotation provides a three-dimensional rotation. In addition to revolving around the axis in its titanium cage, the tourbillon rotates around a second axis, tilted at 20°.
The combination of these two distinct and rapid rotations enables the watch to defy the effects of gravity in all positions. Beyond its faultless accuracy, this exceptional piece is proud to be the first tourbillon watch adjustable to the very second. A button at 2 o’clock resets the small seconds counter located under the tourbillon to zero using a flyback mechanism.
In its Hybris Artistica version, the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon provides an enchanting view of the amazing mechanics of this timepiece. The Manufacture created a case composed of two sapphire crystal domes featuring lugs in 18-carat white gold. Making the timepiece water resistant represented quite a feat. The nearly transparent case looks like a time capsule sealed to its precious horological message. It showcases the dial, chiselled using a hand engraving technique that consists of removing material – 18-carat white gold – with a special chisel using multidirectional strokes to obtain a stunning surface, both finely grained and glossy. To accentuate the dramatic effect of the timepiece, a staircase is located in the opening that houses the tourbillon. With its finely chiselled steps, it frames and highlights the Sphérotourbillon whose transparent bridge is crafted from sapphire crystal. It seems to evolve unhindered in a limpid décor filled with its choreographed revolutions. The elegant dials of the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon are crafted from white Grand Feu enamel with numerals fired with the enamel in a traditional technique followed to the letter. Its aristocratic bearing and precious mechanism make the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon a top-tier fine watchmaking timepiece.
6. Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Enamel
The Dual Wing concept is reflected by the presence of two distinct areas on the dial: on the left, the opening revealing the secrets of the Sphérotourbillon, and on the right, the main dial indicating the local time. An additional 24-hour dial occupying the upper part of the watch displays the time in a second time zone. The small seconds counter is located in the lower part of the dial.
In this Hybris Artistica version, the dial is made of blue paillonné enamel that gives the watch face a dreamlike quality.
The enamelling workshop of the Manufacture has a perfect mastery of this technique which requires a delicate touch and intense concentration. The artisan shaves tiny motifs or chips from a block of silver, called paillons. These tiny chips are volatile and can easily scatter. Only with the expertise accumulated over time can the artisan distribute them harmoniously on the enamel. After the dial comes out of the kiln, with the inherent risks of firing at 800°, the artisan begins the difficult task of polishing the enamel. This involves revealing the metal elements flush with the dial without scratching the surface with specks of dust from the precious metal. In the end, the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Enamel is adorned with a sleek midnight blue robe strewn with stardust. Echoing this magical dial, the bezel is decorated with a border of enamel in an elegant reiteration of the overall harmony. The side of the case is engraved with a design inspired by the Doge’s Palace in Venice. For this purpose, openings are pierced all around the case, then filled with enamel and polished to reveal the beauty of the design.
Perfection has its challenges, and Jaeger-LeCoultre meets them unflinchingly. Thus, the movement itself had to be redesigned and reworked. Steps were added – in gold so they could be enamelled – to remain in harmony with the rest of the dial. This staircase forms a spectacular amphitheatre that showcases the exuberant actor of this timepiece, the multi-axis tourbillon with a transparent sapphire bridge.
7. Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Pocket Watch
In this timepiece, the Manufacture boldly joined two universes, that of pocket watches, long considered the epitome of masculine elegance, and the avant-garde style of visible grand complications. Jaeger-LeCoultre did so with the assurance of a Manufacture accustomed to taking its icons out of their familiar landscape.
The Duomètre Sphérotourbillon pocket watch is openly inspired by a masterfully crafted timepiece, a grand complication pocket watch from 1928. It reproduces the graphic codes of the original, as well as the blend of enamel and white gold, heir to a long historical tradition.This is a first, and what a first: a Sphérotourbillon included in a pocket watch.
The architecture developed by the designers ensures that it is clearly visible through the notched opening at 6 o’clock. It is crowned by the hand-chiselled dial that gives it a unique appearance, both rough hewn due to the grained effect, and timelessly elegant. The sophistication is enhanced by the presence of three small white enamel dials that beautifully echo the original timepiece. The part composed of the dial and the Sphérotourbillon is set in a golden frame attached to the bezel, creating an ethereal transparency that breathes lightness into this highly elaborate aesthetic. The transparent tourbillon bridge made of sapphire makes the spherotourbillon seem suspended in the air.
The side of the case and the bezel are enamelled, a bold choice given the painstaking steps required by this technique. On these curved and difficult to access surfaces, the enamel must be applied flush, then delicately polished to reveal the gold that adorns the bezel indicating the hours. By his steady hand, the artisan must achieve a perfect fusion between the precious metal and the enamels, until he obtains a flawlessly smooth surface that exudes an innate sense of balance. The wearer can then read the time by glancing at the beautifully graduated bezel of this timepiece that reveals a unique stylistic horizon.
8. Grande Reverso Tourbillon Squelette
In its Hybris Artistica version, the reversible case of the Grande Reverso Tourbillon Squelette is totally transparent. The pivoting part of the case consists of two sapphire crystal tiles. Just picture the painstaking work of the watchmakers, imagine the sensations down to the tips of their fingers. With the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre has ventured beyond the realm of what is round, what is known, what is feasible. Everything becomes more difficult to machine and assemble. Keeping the sapphire crystal tiles in place becomes a remarkable feat. Achieving water resistance defies traditional solutions because parts that are not round cannot come into compression. To all these exciting challenges, the artisans of Manufacture eagerly sought out and found bold answers. It was important to showcase the skeletonised tourbillon movement, a veritable metal labyrinth epitomising an expertise that very few master watchmakers possess.
Entirely openworked, with its hand-decorated plate and bridges, it reveals its inner workings in an intricate network that leaves nothing to chance. Like a sculptor of wonderment, the craftsman patiently removed material with the blade of a tiny saw to open up the mechanism, while maintaining a flawlessly accurate movement. To honour the work of craftsmanship, the skeletonised tourbillon movement is nestled in a metal frame. It seems to float inside the reversible case, while the frame allows the wearer to read the time. In an ultimate touch of refinement, the bottom of the bar is adorned with a sunburst motif. An ornamental watch with a precious and complex posture, the Grande Reverso Tourbillon Squelette has adorned itself in the trappings of a Prima Donna.
9. Reverso Cordonnet Neva
Due to the almost imperceptible presence of its miniature movements clinging to the contours of the case, Jaeger-LeCoultre is a pioneer in ladies’ watches. When the first ladies’ Reverso came out of the workshops of the Grande Maison, it presaged even greater creativity. With surfaces of expression serving as blank canvases for rare handcrafts, the Reverso lends itself to the most artistic jewellery interpretations in a halo of diamonds.
The Reverso Cordonnet Neva is part of this brilliant heritage, featuring the aesthetic glory of the Art Deco movement. It reinterprets a model from the 1930s in which the strap was a leather cord. The aim of this model was not simply to outdo itself with precious stones, but to elicit an emotion and a tangible, real, palpable reaction. The answer was obvious to the artisans of the Manufacture, who used the snow setting technique invented by the Manufacture to reproduce the magic of nature. The artisan jeweller applies the decorative pattern directly on the watch case, according to his vision and inspiration. One by one, hundreds of diamonds of varying diameters are placed side by side to smoothly carpet the surface of gold. Huddled against one another as if in an icy wind, the gems recreate the appearance of the Neva River in winter as it undulates below the ice covering its frozen surface. This shimmering pattern literally wraps around the curves of the articulated watch, blanketing the fixed parts, the lugs and even the cord, which gracefully embraces the delicate arch of the wrist. With the intoxicating capriciousness that is characteristic of this technique, no one knows, when the setting begins, what jewelled creation will emerge.
The visually stunning snow setting is unique in that it offers a one-of-a-kind experience. The diamonds are pressed together and blocked in place by the last stone set, with no claws to spoil the pleasure of touch. In a frost of diamonds, the Reverso Cordonnet Neva feels as soft as velvet and delightfully irregular.
10. Rendez-Vous Célestial
Introduced in 2013, the Rendez-Vous Célestial is a tribute to the founder of the Grande Maison. The sky has always been a preferred field of study for the watchmakers of the Vallée de Joux. Likewise, Antoine LeCoultre had an enduring fascination for the Milky Way constellations. An inventor of great genius, he dedicated his entire life to the quest for perfection, while devoting particular attention to the elements. It is in homage to his spirit of observation and inventiveness that Jaeger-LeCoultre created this timepiece.
For its Hybris Artistica version, the upper dial of the watch, featuring the hour arc stylised by the iconic stretching numerals, is fully paved with baguette diamonds using the Rock-Setting® technique. The mystery of this setting technique is a heavily guarded secret at the Manufacture, and is characterised by the absence of visible metal between the stones. Held from below, they dazzle and shine with no glimpse of the underlying material. The resulting brilliance of the dial is quite simply amazing. It forms a luminous aura around the oval opening which houses a disc displaying a chart of the sky. The twelve signs of the Zodiac were painted by hand on the rotating dial made of lapis lazuli. This stone in hues of azure and ultramarine was the obvious choice to depict the star-studded firmament. Offering a delightfully lyrical touch, the designers of the model have chosen to incorporate a shooting star as a means of customising time: via a second crown adorned with an inverted diamond, the mobile star serves to set a personal appointment with destiny. Extending from the richly adorned case, the bracelet is entirely set to make the Rendez-Vous Célestial an exceptional, infinitely desirable timepiece.
11. Rendez-Vous Tourbillon
For its Hybris Artistica version, the artisans considered how to fully pave the Rendez-Vous Tourbillon with diamonds, while maintaining the extremely expressive and distinctive features of the model. They recreated the composition of the Rendez-Vous dial, which, while it remains recognisable, is transfigured by alternating baguettes-cut and round diamonds. Born from the imagination of the gem setters of the Manufacture, Rock-Setting® is characterised by an exceptional arrangement of the stones to reveal the fire of diamonds of the finest water. Thus selected and positioned according to the art that the Manufacture has perfected, the gems seem to require no setting at all, leaving no underlying metal visible. The lustre of the stones reaches new heights of stunning brilliance. Above all, the dial offers a face of infinite purity perfectly suited to this iconic model that emphasises feminine beauty.
In the same spirit, the 18-carat white gold bracelet of the Rendez-Vous Tourbillon has been completely redesigned. Even more fluid, it has an assertive Haute Joaillerie aesthetic that makes it an integral part of this elegant timepiece. The superbly integrated lugs have been reworked and tightened so that they fit naturally to the bracelet that is one with the watch. Enhanced by a particularly striking setting style, the bracelet is a strong element of the design of the Hybris Artistica Rendez-Vous Tourbillon.
Faced with such brilliance, the only response possible is absolute limpidity. Thus, the oscillating weight support is made of sapphire crystal in order not to break the spell of transparency. With this unique model, Jaeger-LeCoultre undertakes an exercise in style that reflects its ultimate attention to detail and the art of setting diamonds to reveal their breathtaking fire.
12. Atmos Marquetry
Thanks to its virtually perpetual movement, Atmos draws its energy solely from variations in temperature, the slightest degree Celsius giving it a power reserve of 48 hours.
Within the crystal glass enclosure whose glass back is engraved with the same patterns as the wooden doors, the time is displayed with flawless accuracy on separate dials for the hours and minutes crafted from Grand Feu enamel. The phase of the moon has yielded to the unusual seduction of rosewood, chosen for its tones that echo the miniatures by Mucha adorning the doors of the Atmos. Inlaid with diamonds in a star-studded pattern, the moon phase disk delivers its captivating indication.
The design of the clock, with its disc of aerial dials and exquisitely balanced movement, exudes an extraordinary lightness, as if to proclaim that a breath of genius gave life to this work of wonder that is the Atmos. It contrasts with the sophisticated ornamentation of the lateral wooden doors – crafted from Indian rosewood and horse chestnut – featuring splendid handmade marquetry. Framed by these noble wood panels, two enamel miniatures reproduce paintings by Alphonse Mucha, spring and autumn. Mucha was an idealist who wanted to convey through his works a universal message of harmony, in which beauty and goodness are intimately linked. His style features allegorical figures and women with long flowing hair, as well as a palette of fawn tones. Each colour of the miniatures reproduced by the artist of the Grande Maison was fired to heighten their intensity and make them vibrate in unison.
Capturing the tender oscillations of the atmosphere, decorated with a steady and inspired hand, the Atmos Marquetry Enamel is a horological masterpiece that cannot fail to elicit a sense of wonder.