Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) has moved online and Baselworld 2020 is canceled, but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. Stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases here.
The Master Control Collection has been central to the Jaeger-LeCoultre lineup since its launch in 1992. Part of the larger Master Collection that also contains the Master Grande Tradition and Master Ultra Thin lines, the Master Control selection is notable for its classically inspired case shapes and dial layout as well as its technical sophistication.
For 2020, JLC is revamping this line with an all-new case design and dial, drawing inspiration from mid-20th century models such as the Futurematic, PowerMatic and Memovox and offering watches in a new pink gold alloy dubbed Le Grand Rose gold. And for our money, we’d say the new Master Control Calendar is best iteration of this watch yet.
Master Control Date
The Master Control Date is simply a beautiful, minimalist timepiece. Featuring a newly reworked movement that maintains a 3.3mm height and a thin 8.78mm case heigh, the Date makes use of classic 1950s design to deliver the perfect modern take on the dress watch. While much of the significance of this update (the watch has been in JLC’s catalog for 15 years) lies in the latest generation of the calibre 899, the new case is what’s going to draw the eye of the potential buyer.
Key Specs: $6,700; 40mm steel case; time and date
Master Control Calendar
A contemporary take on JLC’s famed mid-century triple calendars has been part of the maison’s catalog for some time, but the new case design means that this model could easily be mistaken for one that was actually released in the 1950s. Though updated for the modern wearer at 40mm in either steel or Le Grand Rose gold®, the Calendar retains all the refined, whimsical touches that make vintage Swiss watchmaking such an endlessly fascinating subject matter. Interestingly, the pointer date hand jumps from the 15th to the 16th instantaneously, in order not to obscure the moon phase display at 6 o’clock.
Key Specs: $11,000 (steel); $22,400 (gold); triple-calendar display
The vintage influence continues. While there are some stupidly complicated, mildly futuristic-looking pieces in the Master series, the above two watches are not those. The Date and Calendar are firmly within the realm of 20th century-inspired design language, which is currently still a tenant of watch design in general.
JLC’s catalog is large without feeling overwhelming, and while many of the models within are holdovers from the last century of watchmaking, there are some decidedly modern timepieces as well. The Master Control collection is a place for JLC to bring its back catalog into the future, offering classic designs to new buyers as well as to collectors. To that end, the redesigned Date and Calendar are perfectly suited to the task.
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.