First introduced in 1992, the Master Control line up has been a constant in the Jaeger LeCoultre catalog offering the classic conservative designs and technical know how. The name of the line up was from the 1000 hour control testing that started in 1992, where the testing is not just the movement outside of the case as in the COSC testing but with the actual watch assembled!
The new Master Control collection for 2020 introduces 4 models, differentiated by their complications. The designs are not bold as one would find with a rainbow bezel or indexes but rather restrained, but in a good way as these are on the dressier side and would feel out of place.
All four watches have a case diameter of 40mm and have polished bezels and top of the lugs, while the side case is brushed. Although the watches are all 40mm, the bezels are thinner than previous models, allowing the watch to wear larger than its stated specs due to the visual presentation.
All of the models have a sunray finished dial that is silvery white, with brushed dauphine hands and polished triangular applied indexes. With the exception of the Master Control Date, the other 3 models are also available in Le Grand Rose gold, which JLC states will be more corrosion resistant and color fading.
Master Control Date:
The entry level model of the line up is the Master Control Date with Arabic numerals at 6,9, 12 and the date at 3 o’clock. All the hour markers have filled lume dots and the date window is finished with applied markers with multiple layers. In addition, the seconds hand is thermally blued, providing a nice contrast and touch. The JLC logo under 12 o’clock is now applied. Running inside is the updated caliber 899 with a silicone escapement and boasting a power reserve of 70 hours vs the previous 38 hours.
Master Control Calendar:
While this model is very similar to the current line up, JLC made some nice updates to the model. To begin with, the date pointer is a JLC logo. The moonphase disc is also changed with the silver moon and stars against the navy blue background instead of the applied gold moon and stars.
The biggest change, which is both technical and visually pleasing is the date jumping mechanism. The new date pointer jumps from 15 to 16, just like any pointer date except it moves from 4:30 to 7:30 so the moonphase and sub seconds will not be blocked by the view of the date! Previously this mechanism is seen in the higher end models like the Master Tourbillon so the date pointer does not block viewing the tourbillon aperture! Beating inside this is the updated caliber 866 movement that is also updated with silicone escapement and 70 hour power reserve.
Master Control Geographic:
This watch retains most of the designs from the previous model with a central hour and minute hand and second time zone at 6 o’clock and city disc. The date is still at the top right corner and power reserve at top left. However, instead of 40 hours it now shows one as full and going down by quarters until zero, this is to go with the updated caliber 939 movmeent inside with the 70 hour power reserve.
Master Control Chronograph Calendar:
This one is what drew my attention to the new JLC releases for 2020, as the other 3 watches are updates to previous models, this is a brand new model in the line up. It is the first time JLC combined a triple calendar and chronograph in same watch. This is a very elegant watch with the tri-compax sub dials showing the sub seconds hand at 9 , 30 minute chronograph counter at 3 and the moonphase with date at 6. Under the JLC logo at 12 is the month and day aperture. To achieve this, JLC added a triple calendar module to caliber 751 chronograph movement. With all the complication, the watch is only 12.05mm thick!
All four watches are expected to be available in Fall 2020, with the Master Control Date coming in $6,700, the Master Control Calendar in stainless steel has a MSRP of $11,000 while the rose gold is $21,000. The Master Control Geographic in steel has a retail price of 12,200 CHF, no pricing available on the rose gold or in USD yet. The Master Control Chronograph Calendar in steel comes in at $14,000 USD, no pricing on the gold model yet.
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