Monday, December 8, 2014

Jaeger-LeCoultre to Hit SIHH 2015 with A Meteorite Dial

 Jaeger-LeCoultre is stepping outside the boundaries of traditional watch making material and bringing forth an ancient material - a dial comprised of a rare meteorite. Besides for the unworldly dial material, the actual concept of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar timepiece was introduced back in 2011. The perfect 39mm round face, sleek bold 18k gold or stainless steel, bezel, lugs and case, as well as the clear day/night indicator and  two date apertures ,not to mention the highly competent automatic Caliber 866,  all spell classic efficient elegance, yet the dial captured within the confines of classic convention is as mysterious as time itself. 
Companies that one expects to utilize this type of material is Romain Jerome, Artya and maybe even Omega - not so much Jaeger-LeCoultre.  Don't get me wrong, Jaeger LeCoultre has an intense fascination with the skies above, I mean their Rendez-Vous Celestial watches depict constellations , zodiacs and whimsical shooting stars, but actually utilizing a material that plummeted from a place far beyond our own to a place upon our wrist is highly intriguing. 

Scientist can determine the origin of the meteorite by examining the specific crystalline structure as well as the meteorite patterns.  The geometric pattern on the dial is known as a Widmanstätten pattern, which is a geometric pattern resulting from the formation of long nickel-iron crystals in octahedrite  iron meteorites. The pattern is recognizable by the octehedra, which in layman's terms is solid in three dimensions with eight faces. This particular meteorite found on the face of Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calender is from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which fell onto Swedish soil.  To work with any material with complex crystalline structures requires exceptional know how.     First the hard, fragile material must be thinly cut after which it is polished to expose the geometric patterns. Since each dial is fashioned from a different portion of the meteorite, the resulting pattern is unique to every timepiece.  

The meteorite dial serves as a compelling backdrop to the dial design.  Just beyond the bezel, the days of the month are clearly indicated by straight hand capped by blue or red arc. At the 6 'o'clock position, a  clear day night indicator doubles as a small seconds sub dial.  Below the 12 'o'clock position, a clear day aperture is located next to a matching month aperture.  Both the dial and case back is protected by a scratch resistant sapphire crystal. The transparent sapphire crystal on the case back allows one view of the Jaeger-LeCoultre in-house Calibre 866, blued screws, beveled angles, Geneva striping and the gold rotor inserts. 

The timepiece equipped with a 43 hour power reserve will be priced around the 10,000 Euro mark in stainless steel and 20,000 Euro mark in 18k gold.  Keep in mind this is not a perpetual calender , which accounts for differing lengths of months and leap years, but rather an ordinary calender, which must be adjusted every two months. In this regard the timepiece is still in the realms of relative affordability. 

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