Watches Wednesday: Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces 2 new 101 Novelties
26 August 2020

Watches Wednesday: Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces 2 new 101 Novelties

Jaeger-LeCoultre‘s 101 models is where fine watchmaking meets high jewellery. This year, the Maison introduces 2 new High Jewellery novelties with its minuscule Calibre 101, which was originally conceived and developed specifically for jewellery watches in 1929 by La Grande Maison. The “stacked” dual-level architecture of the Calibre 101 is just a decade shy of being a century old, and is, at present, a fourth-generation movement with 98 components,  with a balance wheel that oscillates at 21,600 librarians per hour with a power reserve of 33 hours.  And, just to give you an idea of its size, it measures a mere 14mm long and less than 5mm wide, weighing in at barely one gram, this hand-wound calibre is no doubt one of the oldest movements, yet, still the smallest mechanical movement in the world to date. In fact,  Queen Elizabeth II actually received one of these rare timepieces from France’s President for her coronation in 1953.

Both 101 models for 2020 are made of 18 karat pink gold and set with diamonds of IF to VVS clarity. For these exquisite timepieces, the designing of the forms of the bracelets and the style of the gem setting, took precedence over the cases and movements.

The Snowdrop was inspired by white bell-shaped flowers that are able to survive in winter and grow through a thin layer of snow in the Vallée de Joux. A circle of pear-shaped diamonds surround the dial to form a flower, with the diamonds forming a chevron-like formation of petals growing outwards from its centre in both directions, all away around the bracelet. The effect is stunning, as the “griffe” setting allows light to penetrate the stones from all angles. Made from a total of 904 diamonds, with 204 pear-shaped ones, and the rest brilliant-cut, amounting to 20.9 carats for this grandiose timepiece, which requires a total of 130 hours to complete just the gem-setting alone. Flip the watch over onto its side, and you’d also notice two bands of gold grain-set with diamonds.

The Bangle exudes an Art Deco vibe, with a graduated rectangle on one side, and a fan-shaped motif on the other end. An interplay of symmetry and asymmetry, the bracelet is set with 996 brilliant-cut diamonds graduated in size for that perfect undulating wave, with a total carat weight of 19.7 carats. Both the griffe and grain setting techniques were utilised by the artisans to emphasise its three-dimensional effect. Like the Snowdrop, this timepiece also has rows of grain-set diamonds along both sides. And, since it’s called the Bangle, you secure the watch simply by twisting both ends, as you would an actual bangle without a clasp.

Personally, we prefer the Bangle, but both of these are quite magnificent creations in their own right, aren’t they?


Images courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre