Jaeger-LeCoultre may have stunned many a fine watchmaking connoisseurs with the Master Grand Tourbillon Enamel or the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual but the watchmaking Manufacture has set new records with its Hybris Mechanica Eleven, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon. The marvelous timepiece contains mechanisms covered by eight different company patents, six of which were filed specifically for the Hybris Mechanica Eleven.
The eleventh piece of haute horology in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Hybris Mechanica collection, this watch is the first ever ultra-thin grand complication timepiece produced by the watch maker. It comes with beautiful dauphin-style hands, and a case 7.9mm thick and 41mm across with short curved lugs, very à la pocket watch from 1907 and very well proportioned. Inside nestles the ultra-thin tourbillon, visible down at 6 o’clock through the aperture in the dial and giving you a view straight through the movement.
A new balance spring had to be developed to make this construction possible and the entire Calibre 362 movement, with tourbillon, is only 4.8mm thick. Also, in addition to the flying tourbillon, there is a minute repeater in Hybris Mechanica Eleven. And no guesses there, it was engineered from the ground up as well! Jaeger-LeCoultre made a few other adjustments while at it. The Swiss manufacture created a repeater that “knows” when there are no quarters and reduces the pauses between chimes, keeping a more even tempo throughout the sequence.
Moreover, the repeater uses sapphire gongs mounted to the back crystal as well as their trebuchet hammers, technologies the Swiss brand developed for previous Hybris Mechanica models. 18k white gold was picked for the case over the more precious platinum because it has better acoustics for the minute repeater, especially in these small case dimensions. Speaking of which, just as you start to think the watch can’t possibly also have automatic winding because the rotor is a principle means of adding thickness to a movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre proves that along with all else there are ways to engineer a thin automatic-winding movement.
Enter, peripheral automatic rotor in Hybris Mechanica Eleven. In fact, the rotor is on the dial side, and can be seen through cut slits on the outside of the dial, a visual treat for enthusiasts of mechanical movement! Now who is to argue with the fact that this is indeed an ahead-of-its-time watchmaking marvel! Add to that a high-end alligator leather strap secured by a white gold pin buckle and you have a seriously stylish granddaddy of Grand Complications. The Hybris Mechanical Eleven Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon is ultra-luxe and limited to just 75 pieces for 2014. It will appear in the year’s SIHH, which should bring us the full lowdown but for now, it is estimated to cost about $400,000.