Jaeger-LeCoultre’s latest creation may have stolen the title of thinnest mechanical watch
Nowhere in the brief, florid press release from Jaeger-LeCoultre would you find any indication that this watch has set a record of any kind. It’s only in passing, in a paragraph dedicated to discussing the fine quality of enamelling on the watch, that the case thickness is mentioned. 3.6mm from top to bottom.
The lack of fanfare may be wise on the brand’s part; watchmaking has been beset by ultra-thin claims in recent years, each more specific and limited than the last. But this watch – a highly skeletonised and decorated version of the manual-wound Master Ultra-Thin – doesn’t have to qualify its thin-ness with caveats or complications. It is in with a very strong shout of being the thinnest mechanical watch ever made – full stop.
Records, they say, are made to be broken. But you can bet that when Piaget released the groundbreaking Altiplano 900P in 2014, it wasn’t expecting to be bested for a while. The 900P rearranged the movement architecture and did away with the idea of a dial at all (effectively). It was heralded as a masterstroke, and rightly so.
Now here’s the rub. Guess what the margin is between the Altiplano 900P and the Master Ultra-Thin Squelette? 0.05mm – roughly speaking, the thickness of a piece of paper. Perhaps that’s another reason Jaeger-LeCoultre isn’t singing from the rooftops about it, although fair’s fair, it is a thinner watch. Just.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has achieved the feat by taking its in-house movement, Calibre 849A (1.85mm thick), skeletonising it to within a micron of its life, and mounting it within, but on the same plane as, an enamelled outer dial. Being skeletonised, there’s no need for a dial in the traditional sense, and the case itself seems to be incredibly svelte. There are four references in total; two enamelled versions in pink or white gold, and two gem-set versions also in pink or white gold. The gem-setting necessarily busts the watch out a bit – only as far as 4.7mm, mind you – making it still thinner than most brands’ thinnest pieces.
The 38mm watches will each be produced in a limited series of 100 pieces, and all come on alligator leather straps. The pieces range from £43,000 for the rose gold non gem-set version to £53,000 for the gem-set version, and price on application for the fully-set white gold reference. For more information on all four pieces, click here.