Jaeger-LeCoultre has always been a name synonymous with innovation, precision, and timeless elegance. The Swiss luxury watchmaker has consistently pushed the boundaries of watchmaking, and its latest creations, the 101 Secrets, and the reinterpreted 101 Bangle, are no exception. These magnificent high jewellery watches not only showcase exceptional gem-setting but also highlight the signature Calibre 101, a testament to the brand’s relentless pursuit of excellence.
Among the trio of exquisite timepieces is the 101 Secrets, an entirely new design that encapsulates nearly 27 carats of dazzling diamonds. This masterpiece represents the most precious Calibre 101 timepiece ever created by Jaeger-LeCoultre. What sets it apart is the rivière-style bracelet, which boasts a revolutionary secret mechanism, allowing the wearer to reveal the dial only at her discretion.
Calibre 101, originally introduced in 1929 by La Grande Maison, redefined feminine watchmaking. Its minuscule size and distinctive baguette shape gave designers unprecedented creative freedom. Weighing a mere gram, this tiny, hand-wound movement remains the world’s smallest mechanical movement. It’s also one of the oldest movements still in continuous production by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The 101 Secrets watch is defined by four rows of diamonds meticulously set by skilled artisans. The two outer rows employ the claw setting technique, which elevates the stones above the gold surface to maximize their brilliance from all angles. The larger diamonds are graduated in size and arranged symmetrically, showcasing the gem-setters’ mastery. The inner rows feature grain-setting, providing visual harmony and emphasizing the Art Deco-inspired design. Even the bracelet’s profile is adorned with diamonds, infusing the piece with more radiance. In total, the 101 Secrets boasts an astonishing 1,024 diamonds, requiring 182 hours of meticulous craftsmanship in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Metier Rares™ workshop.
The concept of secret watches traces its roots back to the 19th century when pocket watches had hinged covers adorned with enamel and gemstones, concealing the dial. As wristwatches gained popularity among women in the 20th century, the notion persisted that a lady did not need the time constantly on display. Today, secret watches represent the harmonious union of jewelry and watch design, offering exquisite beauty and practicality.
The 101 Secrets watch holds two hidden enchantments. First, it seamlessly transitions between being a piece of jewelry and a timepiece, with the dial concealed until the wearer wishes to reveal it. Second, a micro-mechanical mechanism concealed within the diamond rows allows the wearer to discreetly access the time. A gentle press on the hidden button opens a section of the bracelet like the pages of a book, unveiling a glowing mother-of-pearl dial. Upon release, the dial disappears, leaving behind an unbroken river of diamonds.
Initially introduced in 2020, the 101 Bangle has been reimagined for 2023 in two one-of-a-kind versions. One features pink gold with a striking red lacquer dial complemented by diamonds, while the other boasts white gold with a snow-white lacquer dial enhanced by sapphires and diamonds. These reinterpretations of the 101 Bangle pay homage to the sweeping curves and strong lines of Art Deco and 20th-Century Modernism.
The pink gold 101 Bangle is a study in contrasts, with a delicate red lacquer dial providing a bold counterpoint to the white diamonds and warm-toned precious metal. Nearly 996 diamonds, graduated in size, enhance the three-dimensional effect, while griffe- and grain-setting techniques play with light, creating a dazzling spectacle. Diamonds set along the bracelet’s profile add to the brilliance.
For the first time, white gold is used in the 101 Bangle, accentuating the design’s graceful curves. A row of brilliant-cut sapphires, graduated in size and encircling the wrist, adds a touch of color. Sapphires set into the bracelet’s profile, combined with white diamonds and a snow-white lacquer dial, enhance the cool, sophisticated aesthetic. In total, this interpretation of the 101 Bangle boasts 347 sapphires and 645 diamonds, totaling an impressive 21.28 carats of precious stones.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s legacy is rooted in its pioneering spirit, exemplified by its early development of watches for women. Calibre 101, created in 1929, showcased the brand’s commitment to precision and miniaturization. Despite technological advancements, the mechanism’s dimensions remain unchanged. Each component of the Calibre 101 is custom-produced and assembled, making each movement unique. Only a select few watchmakers at Jaeger-LeCoultre possess the skills required to work at such a microscopic scale, resulting in a limited production of just a few dozen examples each year.
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