It’s not merely the preponderance of the colour blue that distinguishes many of the SIHH 2019 novelties from the storied manufactures Jaeger-Le Coultre and Vacheron Constantin. The two brands have also given free rein to the imaginations of their designers and craftsmen, JLC with its exquisite (and exquisitely complex) Master Grand Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, and VC with the even more complicated Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar.
The fifth multi-axis tourbillon timepiece produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Master Grand Tradition also incorporates a carillon minute repeater that replicates the chime of London’s Big Ben using four gongs and hammers, as well as a constant-force mechanism that regulates energy to the tourbillon. Uniquely, it also offers both forward and reverse adjustment of the perpetual calendar. The lustrous blue dial, which is offset at 12 o’clock, features haute-de-gamme finishing such as hand-guillochage and grand feu enamel, while the tourbillon is fully visible at 6 o’clock, as are the gong hammers at 4 and 8.
Powered by the manually would 184 calibre, which offers a reserve of 52 hours, the Master Grand Tradition comes in a 43mm white-gold case and is available in a limited edition of 18 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin, on the other hand, claims its new Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar “comes closest to operating ‘in perpetuity’”, and utilises a mechanical system that can work on both high (5Hz, 36,000vph) and low “standby” (1.2Hz, 8,640vph) frequencies, the latter contributing to the hand-wound 3610 QP movement’s power reserve: a scarcely believable 65 days. That movement, not so incidentally, is made from 480 components and features 64 jewels in its construction.
Combining indicators for hours, minutes, instantaneous perpetual calendar, power reserve and frequency mode, the Twin Beat also features a slate-coloured guilloché dial with white-gold hands and markers and is enclosed in a staggeringly compact, 42mm case in 950 platinum.