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Best Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches To Buy In 2020

While some watch manufacturers have models that are considered to be “must-have” for avid watch collectors – the Rolex Submariner or the OMEGA Speedmaster, for example – few brands come close to the outright exquisiteness presented by luxury Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The company, founded in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre has a number of accolades and patents to its name, which include being the maker of the world’s smallest movement, the producer of the Grande Complication (a watch with some incredibly intricate complications) and the Atmos Clock which generates its power from temperature and atmospheric pressure changes.

Suffice to say, Jaeger-LeCoultre is an absolute master in the field of horology and one that demands the respect of watch enthusiasts around the world.

The company has an illustrious history under its belt and was originally known as LeCoultre & Cie from 1866 until 1937. The introduction of Jaeger came following a partnership with Edmond Jaeger, a Paris-based watchmaker to the French Navy. In 1903, Edmond set Swiss watch manufacturers the task of actually producing ultra-thin movements he had designed and invented. LeCoultre accepted and succeeded with the LeCoultre Calibre 145. LeCoultre was also – in 1903 – the exclusive movement supplier to Cartier, after the French jeweller made a fifteen-year agreement with Jaeger (and LeCoultre produced all of Jaeger’s movements).

It was this collaboration that eventually spawned the Jaeger-LeCoultre name.

With over 1,200 calibres, 400 patents and hundreds more inventions, picking the very best Jaeger-LeCoultre watches to buy right now isn’t the easiest of tasks. However, just as LeCoultre accepted Edmond Jaeger’s challenge, we have accepted this challenge ourselves and present to you, the coolest JLC watches to buy this year.

Reverso Classic Medium Duoface Small Seconds

Reference Number: 2458420
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 42.9mm x 25.5mm
Price: AU$13,800

The Reverso is an absolute classic; not just as a Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece, but in the entire history of wristwatches. First launched in 1930, the Reverso was designed to be worn by British Army Officers in India, where it also needed to be able to withstand the rigours of polo matches. The dial can be flipped over – or reversed – so that the face would be concealed and therefore protected from mallet strokes. Its square face helps lend it towards being worn in more formal settings, but its Art Deco styling and with some models, such as this Medium Duoface Small Seconds, being given Arabic numerals and some funky blue second hands, it can easily be used as a daily wearer.

JLC’s manually-wound 854A/2 calibre is running the show, responsible for displaying two separate time zones (one on each dial) had has a generous 42-hour power reserve.

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Polaris Memovox

Reference Number: 9038670
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 42mm
Price: AU$20,000

The Polaris Memvox is another equally iconic model within the JLC history books. First released in 1968 as part of the Polaris series, the Memvox edition has the extra selling point of a mechanical alarm, or “voice of memory” – JLC first launched a standalone Memovox timepiece in 1950 – which was designed to assist divers to tell them when it was time to resurface. To set it, you need to use the crown found at 2 o’clock, which rotates the internal bezel upon which there is a small triangle. Simply move this to the time you want the alarm to go off at, and you’re done.

This particular model of the Polaris Memvox was released to commemorate the watch’s 50th anniversary and is limited to 1000 pieces. The coupling of a black dial with off-white hour markers and hands (both of are treated with lume) give it a thoroughly vintage feel that helps it acknowledge its roots. It is, however, a completely modern affair with a rubber strap adding to its sporting credentials.

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Master Control Chronograph Calendar

Reference Number: 4138420
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 40mm
Price: AU$23,500

JLC introduced this clever watch in 2020, however, the Master Control family of watches has been around since 1992. The family has always been one to be on the receiving end of complex complications and this particular timepiece is a first for JLC as it combines a full calendar (day, date, month) with a moon phase indicator. To allow such a watch to exist, the watchmaker had to design and develop a brand new movement in the form of the JLC 759, which has no fewer than 356 parts and also boasts a healthy 65-hour power reserve.

We’ve picked out the stainless steel version as our favourite, however, it can also be had in a new Le Grande Rose Gold colour, which has palladium added to JLC’s top-secret formula to help prevent the natural oxidation process, leaving it shiny for years and years.

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Reverso Tribute Small Seconds

Reference Number: 3978480
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 45.6mm x 27.4mm
Price: AU$12,700

The Reverso Tribute is a completely different series to the Reverso Classic because, as the name suggests, it is a tribute to the original model released in 1931. The Classic meanwhile is a more modern affair with automatic movements and Arabic numerals. The Tribute series is also the one where you’re more likely to find various complications integrated into the dial. This Small Seconds edition is one of the more simple editions, offering just a small seconds complication, but it also introduces a blue dial (the Classic models only get white dials, and the Tribute can also be had in burgundy).

The dial is what will attract many to this watch, as the sunray finish paired with an applied lacquer give it a sort of 3D effect that can only be really appreciated in the flesh. Throw in a Fagliano leather strap (the Argentinian company makes some of the finest leather riding boots in the world) in a matching colour and you have yourself an incredibly premium, incredibly comfortable timepiece.

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Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétual

Reference Number: 5253420
Case Material: White Gold
Size: 43mm
Price: On Request

If ever you needed evidence to prove that JLC really is at the top of its game and a watchmaker that can do pretty much anything, then this mouthful of a watch is it. This Master Grande, on first glances alone, is quite clearly a monumental feat of engineering. There’s a lot going on here, and your eyes will no doubt be drawn to the gyrotourbillon. This was invented by JLC and sees a regular tourbillon cage mounted inside another cage, so that it rotates on both vertical and horizontal axes, thus eliminating the effects of gravitational forces.

Elsewhere there is a minute repeater with Westminster chime to indicate the quarters between hours and minutes, again, no easy accomplishment. Oh, and then you also have a perpetual calendar, a walk in the park for a manufacturer of JLC’s calibre. In fact, the JLC 184 movement inside has 1056 parts, all in a case that is just 43mm wide and 8.9mm high. Hats off JLC.

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Reverso Tribute Moon

Reference Number: 3958420
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 49.7mm x 29.9mm
Price: $20,900

Another Reverso Tribute timepiece we feel should be on your shopping list is this version with moon phase and date complications, as well as a second dial on the reverse side that displays the time in a second time zone, but is powered by the same movement that runs the front dial. Yet more proof of how Jaeger-LeCoultre can push the boundaries of watchmaking.

This Reverso Tribute does revert to a white dial but retains the Roman numeral markings found on the original 1931 model, although the second dial is given the blue treatment, and we’re particularly fond of the velvet-looking Clous de Paris textured finish. Yet again, this makes the Reverso an ideal dress watch despite it technically being a sports watch.

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Master Ultra Thin Perpetual

Reference Number: 1308470
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Size: 39mm
Price: AU$32,500

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Ultra Thin line of watches has always been revered within the watch community. For JLC to pack in various complications with different models, yet keep the timepieces much thinner than you’d expect, is no easy task. This model complete with perpetual calendar – launched in 2013 – is testament to that, coming in at just 9.2mm thick, which is, quite frankly, insane. That slim frame is made possible thanks to JLC’s calibre 868; a 4.72mm thick ultra-thin modular perpetual calendar movement that has been used before.

While it can also be had with either a rose or white gold case for those who love their precious metals, the stainless steel option should make a lot of watch fanatics particularly excited, as it makes a perpetual calendar that bit more accessible.

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Best Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches FAQ

How much is a Jaeger-LeCoultre Watch?

Because of their use of complex movements and precious metals, Jaeger-LeCoultre watches can demand high prices. The most affordable route into the brand is with a Reverso, which will set you back less than $10,000. However, models such as the Master Grande Tradition Gyrtourbillon Westminster Perpetual will cost you over $1 million.

Do Jaeger-LeCoultre watches hold their value?

This is a tricky question to answer, but in general, no, JLC watches will not hold their value. At least, not compared to other brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe. Select JLC models may be able to command a higher price than what you paid if you ever sell it, but it would need to be in an incredibly clean condition to have such a chance.

What is the best Jaeger-LeCoultre watch?

A very subjective question. For us, we love the Reverso for its ability to have its face flipped around. The Master Control Chronograph Calendar is another favourite too. But since JLC offers a wide range of timepieces with a generous selection of complications used throughout, you should have no issue in finding the best Jaeger-LeCoultre watch for you.

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