Featuring the world's smallest mechanical movement, both watches feature diamond-covered dials
The 101 movement is now available in two new versions encrusted with diamonds from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Jaeger-LeCoultre's famous 101 is so tiny its components are visible to the naked eye as particles of dust. Movement components reduced to Lilliputian proportions are nothing new in watchmaking.
A mechanical movement that was first designed specifically for high-end jewelry timepieces in 1929, the caliber that was conceived made headlines when it was first introduced in 1929 as the world's smallest mechanical movement with its 14 mm long and 5 mm wide diameter, a record that is still held to this day. As well as being one of the oldest movements in continuous production since its conception, the 101 movement was also put on the international stage in 1953 when the French President gave it to Queen Elizabeth II, who wore the timepiece during her coronation, which led to its global recognition.
Several dozen can only be made per year because of the minute construction process of the caliber, which takes about 30 hours of work to complete. It takes about one year and a half for each new version of the 101 to be created, from concept to creation. Two years ago, the last two new 101's appeared on the market with the Reine and Feuille on linear bracelets. There is now a dynamic band style available for those that did not get a chance to own one of the roughly 36 pieces of the 2018 models, as well as a more rounded-looking "Snowflake" bracelet for those who didn't get one.
Several of Switzerland's greatest watchmaking houses are located in the Vallée de Joux, home to bell-shaped flowers that grow in a thin layer of snow. With 204 pear-shaped diamonds and 700 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 20.9 carats, 904 diamonds were used to create the motif.
You will know that a lot of people understate what it takes to assemble a movement if you have ever seen a watchmaking factory or tried to do it yourself. When it comes to putting a screw into a regular-sized movement, it requires extraordinary skill, but working with components that are almost invisible without a loupe is quite a challenge.
The watchmaker who made the world's smallest chiming watch for Audemars Piguet once wrote to the brand that his eyes were damaged from making the miniaturized invention and that he would not be able to make them any longer, no matter what the price was. In an effort to get an idea of how difficult it is to create a caliber of this size, let me tell you something about how difficult it is to do.
As a result, the gem setting takes longer than the movement itself, in this case. This piece was made using a linear technique that involved pulling small gold beads from the surface of the metal and then securing them over each stone in the form of griffes. The griffes are designed to maximize the amount of light passing through each gem so that it has the greatest amount of brilliance.
With the new 101 bangle version, you get more design in a dynamic shape inspired by the Art Deco era, when the watch was first introduced. This diamond ring has been set with a total of 996 brilliant-cut diamonds, totaling 19.7 carats. It is set with 144 diamonds arranged in a griffe setting, while 852 diamonds are arranged in a grain setting, providing a more multidimensional look.
This is an added bonus because it is reversible, so there is no clasp to achieve that, so that you can wear it frequently without having to worry about it coming undone, which is a common problem with clasps, regardless of how well-secured and well-made they are.
Designed for both comfort and lightness, both have been set in pink gold with diamonds of IF to VVS quality and have been carefully designed to be as light as possible.
One of the most elegant and understated watches in the world of high-jewelry is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 101, which is made out of sterling silver. And as it is just small enough for everyday wear, should you wish it to spend more time on your wrist than in your safe, you will love its simplicity.