Unveiled during the Watches and Wonders 2022 luxury watch event, the new interpretations of the Grande Complication Calibre 945 highlight Jaeger-LeCoultre’s enduring expertise in celestial complications.
The new masterpieces from this series are the Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia in pink gold and the Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Atomium in white gold. These new works celebrate La Grande Maison’s artistic creativity and mastery of the decorative crafts while reaffirming its technical ingenuity. Each model is offered in a limited edition of five pieces.
Having fully mastered sidereal time – the measurement used by astronomers to track the apparent movement of the constellations across the night sky – the JLC watchmakers are able to create one-of-a-kind calibres that reproduce these astronomical events on the wrist, bringing complications together in fascinating new ways.
Originally created in 2010, Calibre 945 unites a sky chart with a celestial vault, a zodiacal calendar and a minute repeater, and is further elevated by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Cosmotourbillon – a celestial flying tourbillon.
The new “Atomium” and “Galaxia” dials showcase the skills of the Manufacture’s Métiers Rares® atelier, introducing grisaille enamel to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s repertoire of rare artistic crafts for the first time.
A Cosmotourbillon makes a complete circuit of the dial in one sidereal day, and a Northern Hemisphere sky vault tracks the positions of the constellations in real time, as seen from the Vallée de Joux. The exquisite chimes of a minute repeater complement the celestial timekeeping.
Highlighting the astronomical aspect of time measurement, the watchmakers developed a mechanism able to display the passing of sidereal time, based on the stars. Set at the centre of the dial, the celestial vault maps the Northern Hemisphere night sky as seen from the 46th parallel – the latitude of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s home in the Vallée de Joux – tracking the position of the constellations in real time.
Enhancing this celestial display, the Cosmotourbillon is elevated beyond its purely technical function as a regulating mechanism, measuring the passing of time as it makes a complete, anti-clockwise circuit of the dial in one sidereal day.
With a duration of precisely 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds, a sidereal day is defined by Earth’s rotation measured in relation to more distant fixed stars, whereas the 24-hour solar day – our civil time – is measured by Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
A golden sun-shaped pointer set at the edge of the dial indicates the month of the zodiacal calendar and solar time on a 24-hour scale, which is necessary for setting the watch. The Dauphine-shaped hands indicate the minutes and 12-hour cycles of civil time, which are displayed on two concentric rings on the flange of the dial.
An exceptional movement merits an exceptional habillage and the new Master Hybris Artistica Galaxia and Master Hybris Artistica Atomium bring fresh artistic expression to this marriage of complications.
Hand-decorated by the artisans in the Métiers Rares® atelier of the Manufacture, the multiple-level dial amplifies the beauty of the celestial theme while also showcasing the Cosmotourbillon.
For the star map, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduces grisaille enamel to its repertoire for the first time. A painterly technique that originated in 16th-century France, grisaille enamel is unique in creating a chiaroscuro effect, with an illusion of three-dimensionality created by half-tones and shading.
First, the enameller must perfect the dark background – traditionally blue or black – building the depth and intensity of colour by applying multiple layers, each of which requires firing. Then, using a super-fine brush, the image is added in white enamel, layer by painstaking layer, again with a firing after each stage.
Because thicker enamel creates lighter areas, its application must be controlled with the utmost skill to achieve the ethereal beauty and apparent depth that make grisaille so beguiling. Thanks to this rarefied technique, the dials of the Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 depict with utmost artistry the sky that we see above us at night.
In a subtle allusion to the way the night sky seems to form a dome above us when we look at the stars, the dials are constructed on multiple levels, dominated by a domed structure that also wraps around the Cosmotourbillon.
Visible around the edge of the dome and beneath the tourbillon, the deepest level of the dial is a midnight blue or black disc (for the white gold and pink gold cases, respectively) decorated with translucent lacquer over opaline, with transferred white inscriptions for the names of the months, and the tourbillon seconds.
The dome is formed of two sections. On the black dial of the “Galaxia”, both the outer section of the dome and the inner celestial disc are made of gold, with grisaille enamel depicting the planets, and the star map and names of the constellations transferred over the enamel.
The “Atomium” takes its name from the delicate filigree of silvered metal that forms the outer section of the dome, its shape echoing the lines that link the stars to form constellations. Framed within this, on the domed celestial disc, midnight-blue grisaille enamel and a transferred star map amplify the visual connection to the cosmos.
The dials of the “Galaxia” and “Atomium” are encircled by three concentric rings that carry the indices for solar time. The inner ring, for 24 hours, and outer ring, displaying minutes, are finished in opaline; between them, the hour ring is decorated with enamel over a hand-guilloché base, with applied indexes.
The Master Grande Tradition case is a perfect complement to the artistic dials and mechanical sophistication of these sumptuous pieces. Comprising more than 80 parts, its convex bezel is complemented by broad bevels on the lugs; the hollowed-out sides of the lugs add dynamic tension, while the repeater slide is tapered to harmonise with the curving case sides. Different surfaces are microblasted, polished and satin-brushed to maximise the play of light and emphasise the details.
This exceptional timepiece also takes Jaeger-LeCoultre’s expertise in chiming watches to new heights by uniting the astronomical complications with a minute repeater.
The technical difficulty of creating minute repeater lies in the complexity of the mechanism needed to transcribe the precise time shown by the hands into a series of perfectly programmed strikes, with different sounds for hours, quarters and minutes.
The artistic challenge is that, this being a miniaturised musical instrument, the chimes must be pure, harmonious and clearly audible. At Jaeger-LeCoultre, this continuing quest for the ideal sound has produced several patented innovations, including crystal gongs, trebuchet hammers and a silent governor.
In the minute repeater mechanism of Calibre 945, these inventions contribute a special magic that complements the romance of celestial timekeeping.
Ref. Q5262470: Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia, Pink gold case, Limited edition of 5 pieces
Ref. Q5263481: Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Atomium, White gold case, Limited edition of 5 pieces
Pink gold or white gold with micro-blasted, satin and polished finishes
Dimensions: 45mm x 16.05mm
Water resistance: 5 bar
Manual mechanical Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 945
Power reserve: 40 hours
Hours/minutes, months, 24-hour indication; Cosmotourbillon indicating sidereal time; celestial disc with star chart indicating the constellations in the northern hemisphere in real time; minute repeater, zodiacal calendar
Black dial with grisaille enamel (in pink gold case) or blue dial with silvered laser-welded structure (in white gold case)