Jaeger-Lecoultre Presents The Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste At The Venice International Film Festival
In 2019, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates the 15th year of its partnership with one of the most prestigious events in cinema, the Venice International Film Festival. Jaeger-LeCoultre has been the main sponsor of the film festival for over a decade, most notably by honouring personalities who have made significant contributions to contemporary cinema with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award.
The best films can redefine the most quotidian experiences, elevating life to art. In line with this approach, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste features a different perspective on time itself, with an orbital flying tourbillon that makes a complete turn of the dial over the course of 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds. This unusual time unit is the length of one sidereal day, calculated with reference to the more distant stars instead of the Sun.
The dial itself depicts the night sky of the Northern hemisphere, showcasing the constellations of the zodiac calendar framed by an outer ring displaying their associated symbols. A tiny gold marker, seen just beyond the orbit of the flying tourbillon, revolves around the dial annually, an indication of where we are within this alternative and ancient star calendar.
Differentiating this model of the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste from previous versions is its contemporary and arresting new design. At first glance, the dial has been simplified in terms of textures and indications, but it has in fact gained an additional dimension which is visible only in low light. The hour markers and constellations have been filled with Super-LumiNovaTM, evoking the glow of heavenly bodies on a clear night.
An elegant and contemporary case, part of the new generation of case design set by this January’s Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, encloses the 334-component calibre 946 of the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste. A complex blend of surface textures, from satin finish to microblasting and mirror polish, comes together in a 43mm white-gold case that perfectly complements the deep blue dial and the roseate hue of the constantly beating gold balance wheel.
In both its mechanical and aesthetic aspects, the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste takes us beyond the everyday. It is the rare timepiece that captures the rhythms of daily life in parallel with the movements of the universe.
An Affinity for the Extraordinary
Jaeger-LeCoultre has developed unparalleled expertise in a wide range of horological métiers since it was founded in Le Sentier in 1833. Today, the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre practices no fewer than 180 watchmaking and watchrelated skills in its Vallée de Joux facility, many of them honed over decades and enhanced by in-house innovation.
The orbital flying tourbillon featured in the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste was first seen in the 2010 Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication, a chiming masterwork that exemplifies the savoirfaire of Jaeger-LeCoultre and its role in expanding the field of high complication.
The flying tourbillon is uniquely combined with yet another area of mechanical watchmaking dominance for Jaeger-LeCoultre the sidereal indication of time, which appears in both masculine and feminine collections of La Grande Maison.
Following the successful launch of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris collection at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva last year, the Grande Maison is extending the Polaris line with a special new creation: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date (limited edition). Produced in a limited series of 800 pieces, the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date combines the Manufacture’s high-watchmaking expertise with contemporary proportions, vintage design motifs, and several important aesthetic changes.
A new watch with classic appeal
Drawing inspiration from the 1970 Polaris II, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date features a new hand- lacquered, blue double-gradient dial with sunrayed, grained and opaline finish, unique to this special model. The central disc and main dial now each incorporate a shimmering, color-change effect – from deep turquoise to a brilliant shade of royal blue. The blue rubber Clous de Paris strap, also unique to the model, is color-matched to the inner bezel, which, like the original Memovox Polaris and Polaris II, rotates for added functionality.
Keeping with the signature look of the Polaris collection, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date is instantly recognizable thanks to its elongated Arabic numerals, trapezoidal hour markers, and baton-style hands. These elements are each treated with Super-LumiNovaTM to provide maximum legibility in low-light scenarios. For this application, the luminescent coating is vanilla-tinted, another nod to the famed Polaris watches of the 1960s and 1970s. Still, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date is a fundamentally modern creation. Hewn from stainless steel, the case measures 42mm in diameter and has two prominent crowns—one to adjust the time, the other to control the aforementioned rotating bezel. Incorporating brushed and hand-polished surfaces, the case’s graceful appearance belies its real-world sporting credentials, as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date is water resistant to 200 meters.
Inside, a self-winding mechanical movement delivers all the precision and craftsmanship one would expect from Jaeger-LeCoultre. The in-house Calibre 899A/1 faithfully keeps the seconds, minutes, hours, and date (displayed through a dedicated window at the three o’clock position) while offering a power reserve of 38 hours. It’s secured by a closed caseback, which has four special engravings, including a SCUBA diving insignia, the Jaeger-LeCoultre crest, and the phrase “1000 HOURS CONTROL”, denoting the watch has undergone testing of the movement before and after being cased up as well as on the fully assembled watch beyond official timing tests before leaving the Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland. Finally, the words “Limited edition – One of 800” are inscribed near backing’s outer edge.
An evolving tradition
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date is the latest addition to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris collection, which is inspired by the iconic Memovox Polaris. This historic model was developed at the suggestion of the American market, and produced between 1965 and 1968. Today, the original Memovox remains synonymous with adventure and technical innovation, as it introduced a revolutionary amplified underwater alarm function for divers. The watch is also remembered for its distinct, sophisticated design code: a three-ring concentric dial layout, rotating inner bezel, and multi-crown case. The new Jaeger- LeCoultre Polaris collection pays homage by continuing to carry these visual elements, but has been entirely redesigned for the modern era, with shorter lugs, a slimmer bezel, ergonomic crowns, and a sapphire glass box crystal.
Capturing the pure essence of femininity, the Rendez-Vous collection has been reimagined this year as part of The Art of Precision theme. With a prong setting brought to life with the most meticulous and striking jewellery techniques, the new Dazzling Rendez-Vous pay tribute to the highest form of precision, both in craftsmanship and creative passion.
In addition to the Dazzling Rendez-Vous Night & Day (available in white gold or in pink gold) and the Dazzling Rendez-Vous Moon (in white gold) launched at 2019 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), Jaeger-LeCoultre is delighted to present the new Dazzling Rendez-Vous Red at the occasion of the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival.
Red: the colour of nobility, energy, passion, wisdom and good fortune. The colour of confident femininity – extroverted and undeniably glamorous.
With Dazzling Rendez-Vous Red, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents its emblematic Night & Day function in a radiant new setting that combines pink gold, white mother-of-pearl, white diamonds and the rich glow of rubies.
Created in the spirit of jewellery watches, Dazzling Rendez-Vous Red showcases La Grande Maison’s uncompromising attention to detail. To highlight the impressive rubies that encircle the watch case, its master jewellers have opted for a prong setting, one of the most demanding of jewellery techniques. Requiring extreme precision, each of the 36 rubies is held in place by tiny gold spikes. The master gem-setters spend hours meticulously positioning the stones one by one, mounting them high, to minimise the presence of the metal and allow light to pass through the stones from all angles. This creates an impression that the rubies could almost be floating, and intensifies their crimson-red glow.
A circle of brilliant-cut diamonds completes the bezel and within it, gleaming like moonlight, is the silvery-white mother-of-pearl dial – a perfect foil for the Night & Day display. Visible through an opening at 6 o’clock, a golden crescent moon alternates with a shining sun, as night turns to day in an endless dance of time.
The row of 72 diamonds on the bezel is echoed by a ring of 47 smaller diamonds on the inner dial. Set between these diamond circles, the pink gold Floral numerals stand out in warm contrast to the iridescent white dial. Adding a final flourish, 12 diamonds are set in the lugs and a further diamond in the crown.
As with the dial and case, Jaeger-LeCoultre allows no compromise inside the watch. Visible through the transparent sapphire case-back, Calibre 898B/1 is a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and produced within the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture.
This sumptuous timepiece is completed by a strap in ruby-red alligator leather with a subtly shiny finish, fastened with a pink gold pin buckle.
Dazzling Rendez-Vous Red
Dimensions: 36 mm
Thickness: 9.80 mm
Calibre: 898B/1– Automatic
Case: Pink gold
Water resistance: 5 bar
Functions: Hours/Minutes, Night & Day indication
Power reserve: 38 hours
Gemstones: 132 diamonds – 0.75 carats and 36 rubies – 3.24 carats
Limited to 8 pieces
Inspired by the parallels between the worlds of fine watchmaking and film, Jaeger-LeCoultre has enjoyed a close relationship with the cinematic arts over more than a decade, including its partnership with Shanghai International Film Festival. These are worlds in which creativity stems from a singular relationship between technical skill and artistic flair, where heritage does not simply mean history; it is the foundation on which the culture of the present and future are built. For Jaeger-LeCoultre, ensuring that its cultural heritage will be maintained is a core value – one that is embodied in its collaboration with Shanghai International Film Festival in an ongoing project to restore some of the great classics of Chinese cinematic history.
A Rendez-Vous With Time
On the opening night of this year’s 22nd edition of Shanghai International Film Festival, JaegerLeCoultre hosted a charity dinner, where it donated a specially customised timepiece for auction. The following day, Jaeger-LeCoultre and its Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Rénier, hosted a programme of events to celebrate the project and raise public awareness of its immense cultural value. It began with the unveiling of a new short film, A Rendez-Vous with Time. Starring the Chinese actress Ni Ni, it underlines the Grande Maison’s commitment to film restoration and reflects on the relationships between the past, the future and the making of memories.
This was followed by a panel discussion between Ni Ni and another brilliant young talent, the British actor Nicholas Hoult. A friend of the Maison, whose connection to Jaeger-LeCoultre dates back to the Venice Film Festival of 2015, Hoult flew to China specially for this occasion. Joined on the panel by Catherine Rénier, they explored the parallels between watchmaking and filmmaking, and the symbiotic relationship between cultural heritage and the future. Both Nicholas Hoult and Ni Ni firmly believe that their generation has an important role to play in passing on the value of classic cinema to future generations.
A Rendez-Vous With Flowers Of Shanghai
Highlight of the programme was the premiere of the restored version of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s 1998 masterpiece, Flowers of Shanghai, the subject of last year’s restoration project.
One of three masterpieces made during the 1990s by the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, Flowers of Shanghai is based on the 1892 novel Biographies of Flowers by the Seashore, written by Han Bangquing and later translated into Mandarin by the celebrated novelist Eileen Chang. It is set in the demi-monde of 1880s Shanghai and immerses the viewer in the richness, emotional intensity and claustrophobia of that world. With its intense dialogue, sumptuous design and beautiful amber-toned lighting, all captured by the remarkable work of cinematographer, Mark Lee Ping-Bin, it represents Hou’s great contribution to cinematic art.
Recapturing the visual beauty of the original was a challenge and to ensure the desired outcome, the director and cinematographer were directly involved. A team of language and culture experts worked to refine the subtitles in order to best capture both what was said and the meaning of what was left unspoken.
Like fine watchmaking, film restoration requires the utmost patience and precision, combining technical sophistication with artistic finesse. The aim is not simply to arrest decay but to bring a film back to a version most faithful to its original release in every respect. As with watchmaking, advances in technology are a great aid to the process, although they can never entirely replace the craftsman’s hand or the artist’s eye.
Time at the Heart
The restoration project focuses on classical Chinese masterpieces and has so far resulted in saving 12 films for posterity. Important cultural artefacts, rarely shown on the big screen, they include The Spring River Flows East, Two Stage Sisters, A Better Tomorrow, Endless Love, Outside the Window, Painting Soul… The film chosen for restoration next year is New Year Sacrifice (Zhu Fu in Mandarin) directed by Hu Sang and originally released in 1956. The screenwriter Yan Xia (who was China’s Deputy Minister of Culture at the time) adapted the screenplay for New Year Sacrifice from a famous short story written in 1924 by Lu Xun.
Time is the essence of both watchmaking and filmmaking: capturing moments in time, displaying time and expressing a sense of time. It’s about recording memories and creating memories. And with every classic film that it helps to restore, Jaeger-LeCoultre underlines its passion and dedication to the art of time.
Since its founding, Jaeger-LeCoultre has made precision an art form in its own right, balancing skills and artistry with sophistication and aesthetical finesse. In keeping with the inventive spirit of 1833, the artisans of the Manufacture create collections which have always been at the forefront of fine watchmaking: Reverso, Master, Rendez-Vous and Atmos. This rich legacy built by the Grande Maison over generations serves as a constant source of inspiration in pushing the boundaries with unprecedented timepieces.