In 1907, Jaeger-LeCoultre laid the foundations of what was to prove a key element in the identity of its watches. That was the year when the association between Paris-based businessman Edmond Jaeger and Swiss watchmaker Jacques-David LeCoultre gave birth to the world’s thinnest pocket watch featuring a blend of aesthetic refinement and horological sophistication that only a Manufacture uniting the full range of skills under one roof could hope to achieve. Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre confirms its ability to anticipate the future of Fine Watchmaking by unveiling the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon watch, the eleventh creation in the Hybris Mechanica collection and the first ultra-thin Grand Complication model.
Eleven, the number standing for inventions and exceeding expectations.
Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch. A new era – that of ultra-thin Grand Complications.
Think-tanks composed of insatiable visionaries and tireless developers: such is the very nature of the teams at Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre. It enables them, just one year after the introduction of the Master Ultra Thin Jubilee, to present an authentic pioneer in the field of Grand Complications. The newcomer bears a name revealing a set of technical feats that are bound to stimulate the imagination of Fine Watchmaking connoisseurs. And rightly so. The Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon stems from research on two iconic horological complications. It is indeed the slimmest minute repeater in its category at just 7.9 mm thin.
This watch capitalises on eight separate patents, six of which are entirely new. Its entire development process was governed by two watchwords – ingenuity and performance. Its quintessence lies in a successful bid to achieve extreme slenderness while making no compromises on reliability.
Hybris Mechanica Eleven is equipped with an original tourbillon, a high-performance new balance-spring, a peripheral automatic winding system, a retractable single pushbutton, as well as a new minute repeater equipped with a silent-timelapse reduction system. As the latest addition to an illustrious and fertile saga of Jaeger-LeCoultre striking watches, this model consolidates the brand’s leadership in this field.
Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch resolutely confirms that excellence and surpassing existing limits are second nature to Jaeger-LeCoultre.
A tourbillon born from the demands of ultra-thin horology
Contrary to the classic tourbillon with a construction that tends to obstruct the view of certain components, the Manufacture wished to allow complete visibility of the heart of the watch. Avoiding ordinary solutions, Jaeger-LeCoultre watchmakers have developed and patented an all-new tourbillon. Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch is equipped with a world première in the shape of a flying tourbillon fitted with a flying balance-wheel. This technical feat ensures a full view of both balance-wheel and spring that may both be observed in motion from a radically different perspective. The gaze is captivated by the regular swinging of the balance-wheel, with the balance-spring fixed above it in a highly unusual stage-setting. This expressive and appealing construction also contributes to reducing the overall thickness thanks to the prodigious inventiveness of the master-watchmakers in the Manufacture.
These substantial developments required rethinking the regulating organ and developing a new balance-spring specifically hand-crafted in the Complications workshop. All the characteristics of this new tourbillon are geared towards achieving extreme precision, watchmaking’s ultimate goal.
A concentrated blend of culture and expertise, the tourbillon of the Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch vividly epitomises perfect technical mastery. Yet above and beyond the art and science involved in making this outstanding timepiece, the process represents a human adventure strewn with all manner of obstacles that the watchmakers of the Manufacture take pride in overcoming. In each of these prodigious tourbillons, collectors of Jaeger-LeCoultre calibres will discern a combination of unflagging commitment and sheer talent.
A highly demonstrative automatic winding system
In its absolute quest to optimise components, the Manufacture has conceived and developed an automatic winding system that captivates by its remarkable conception and execution. To provide more space and achieve record-breaking ultra-thin dimensions, the winding is handled by a oscillating peripheral weight with a platinum segment visible through narrow openings on the dial. This platinum segment takes advantage of the wearer’s wrist movements to revolve around the dial and wind the mainspring. It is fitted on a ceramic ball bearing mechanism specially developed for this device. It is also extremely effective and able to move freely in either direction. However only clockwise rotation actually winds the calibre. The sculptural purity of the perfectly integrated high-performance oscillating weight becomes an aesthetic element in its own right, thereby further enhancing the graphic power of the watch.
A minute repeater that barely skips a beat
Striking watches hold a place of their own within the realm of horology. They embody a highly daunting challenge for watchmakers seeking to achieve the purest sound, the most regular melody, along with unfailing precision and reliability.
Due to their highly complex nature, minute repeater mechanisms represent prestigious watchmaking accomplishments. When in 1870 the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux decided to create repeater calibres, it revolutionised this age-old art by endowing it with unprecedented precision and reliability thanks to its perfect match between hand and machine. Since then, the Manufacture has created and produced over 200 different calibres equipped with repeater mechanisms, making this one of its favourite themes interpreted through timepieces that have constantly explored the facets of this sophisticated complication. Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch stems from a new line of approach: a minute repeater movement entirely rethought and rebuilt to be ultra-thin.
A minute repeater strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. When there are no quarters to be struck, a lengthy silent timelapse occurs between sounding the hours and the minutes. While there is always such an audible hiatus in the sequence, it is particularly audible when there are no quarters involved. To solve this problem, an innovative system reducing this silent timelapse was developed. It detects the absence of quarters to be struck and thus eliminates the marked pause between striking the hours and minutes. As a result, the appropriate high- and low-pitched notes seamlessly follow their appointed pattern without breaking the tempo.
Supreme expertise dedicated to pure sound
Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch benefits from the developments previously introduced in two exceptional models. To achieve a sound of perfect purity the transmission speed of the gong’s vibrations must be faster amongst elements diffusing the sound wave than in the gong itself. Sapphire is endowed with this very property. In 2005, the master-watchmakers of the Manufacture devised a system in which the crystal gong of the Master Minute Repeater was affixed directly to the sapphire crystal to which it transmitted the vibrations. Four years later, the development of Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie watch led to the replacement of traditional hammers by trebuchet hammers designed to ensure optimal energy transmission to the gongs. Hybris Mechanica Eleven is equipped with two patented trebuchet hammers. They ensure stronger, cleaner striking on the two crystal gongs fixed to the sapphire crystal. This helps to amplify the sound diffusion. Fine Watchmaking connoisseurs will also take pleasure in the traditional architecture of this minute repeater, as evidenced in features such as the symmetrical position of the two hammers – a tribute to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s historical watches.
Hybris Mechanica Eleven is a testament to the unfailing commitment of the watchmakers at the Manufacture who developed specific instruments such as a sound box to match their exceptionally high standards. Each watchmaker serves as a guarantor of the sound and remains carefully attuned to ensuring the harmonious restitution of the music of time.
A technically accomplished pushbutton
Again as part of an effort to make the watch even slimmer while preserving an extremely pure aesthetic, this minute repeater is activated by a retractable single pushbutton for which the Manufacture has filed a patent. Hybris Mechanica Eleven is equipped with a discreet locking system at 8 o’clock. Actuating it brings out the pushbutton that triggers the minute repeater. Once the minute repeater is activated, the pushbutton returns to its initial recessed position, thus ensuring that nothing disturbs the flowing, elegant appearance of the watch.
The discretion, the user-friendliness and the technical feat represented by this retractable pushbutton are not the only advantages of this ingenious innovation. As opposed to the traditional slides used to activate the minute repeater function and for which the length of travel may vary according to the hour to be struck, this construction ensures a constant 2 mm travel distance that is enough to both wind the barrel and trigger the minute repeater.
Powerful aesthetic appeal pervading every detail
Hybris Mechanica Eleven strikes the perfect balance between historical inspiration and avant-garde technology. It is nurtured by the distinctive elegance of early 20th century pocket-watches, which constituted the last incarnations of a cultural tradition before the wristwatch took over. Each detail of its refined design has its reason for being and serves two purposes in equal measure: establishing an aesthetic identity as well as ensuring the smooth functionality of the mechanism.
The masterful movement with its consistently ultra-thin proportions is accommodated in a new case inspired by a “knife-shaped” 1907 pocket watch. Hybris Mechanica Eleven watch measures a stunning 7.9 mm thin (including the crystal) considering its 41 mm diameter. Of the various precious metals from which it could choose, the Manufacture has opted for white gold because of its excellent acoustic qualities. The bezel, the sides and the tapering lugs are all entirely hand-polished.
The hour-markers, the traditional black transferred minute circle and the silver-toned grained finish are distinctive style nods to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s historical pocket watches. Hybris Mechanica Eleven also features new longer Dauphine-type hands, meticulously crafted with a polished, grained finish accentuating the harmonious overall appeal of the watch. The 6 o’clock opening affords a dramatic view of the new ultra-thin tourbillon, while the small apertures on the outer part the dial provide an ideal ringside seat from which to observe to the rotations of the delicately snailed platinum oscillating weight.
Considerable care has been lavished on the finishing and the sophisticated details of the 4.8 mm thin mechanical automatic movement. The movement blank and the bridges are made of a copper-nickel-zinc Maillechort alloy, a reference to the noble tradition of Jaeger-LeCoultre pocket watches and a metal that acquires a delightful patina with the passing of time.
The haute horlogerie finishes, including Côtes de Genève on certain bridges, entirely hand-crafted and particularly meticulous bevelling featuring interior angles on certain parts, admirably reflect the vision pursued by the Manufacture and its sense of quality taken to extremes.
As a subtle reminder of the musical nature of this timepiece, the exact spot on the crystal where the gong heel is welded to the sapphire crystal is marked by a few musical notes.
Issued in a 75-piece limited edition, Hybris Mechanica Eleven is powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 362 and has a 45-hour power reserve. It is crafted in ultra-white 18-carat gold and teamed with a high-end alligator leather strap secured by a white gold pin buckle.
The impressive complexity of Hybris Mechanica Eleven foreshadows the future presentation of the Hybris Artistica collection – of which the mission is to combine the most technical and creative skills of the artisans within a Manufacture housing 180 different forms of know-how.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is more strongly inspired than ever by the intangible heritage of the Maison: the unquenchable thirst to push existing boundaries and to create timepieces in the vanguard of innovation. Driven by such strong convictions, Hybris Mechanica Eleven places Jaeger-LeCoultre firmly at the very pinnacle of ultra-thin horology and Grand Complications.