No no, we’re not talking about the erotic minute repeaters Jacob & Co. makes get your mind out of the gutter people, but rather the more traditional complications one typically finds in Haute Horlogerie.
Haute Horlogerie brands have a vast array of complications they produce ranging from calendar complications which tell you the day, date, month, and the phase of the moon to minute repeaters which will audibly chime the current time through a complex hammer and gong system. Today we’re going to be featuring 4 unique complications in watches that in most cases are actually very undervalued for what they are.
1. Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Quantième Lunaire Watch Q6043420
The first watch is by a brand famously known as the watchmaker’s watchmaker, Jaeger LeCoultre. Now how did JLC get that nickname? They got it for their unmatched watchmaking prowess which has allowed JLC to make over 1,300 calibers for the who’s who in the watch industry including the Holy Trinity – Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin.
The watch from JLC in question is the Duometre Quantieme Lunaire. When you first see this watch it’s hard not to be stunned. From its incredible dial, unique format and complication, and out-of-this-world movement finishing, it’s a watch that has a gravity to it that becomes apparent only when you see it in the flesh. The watch’s name stems from its movement where you can find two independent barrels and gear trains that connect to one escapement module.
The concept behind this watch is derived from the basic principle that all complications affect the accuracy of a watch because that complication – be it a date complication, chronograph, moon phase or any other complication – will cause a loss in amplitude to the balance in varying degrees when the complication is engaged. And so by having an independent gear train controlling the escapement of the watch and another gear train controlling the various functions of this watch as the hours and minutes, moon-phase, seconds, jumping seconds, and date, JLC is able to achieve more accurate timekeeping.
So why would JLC invest its resources into all that R&D just for the sake of timekeeping accuracy? Well this is JLC we are talking about after all so why wouldn’t they?!? Overall this is a remarkably conceived watch that is incredibly engineered and exceptionally well finished. And at about $30,000 on the pre-owned market, it is a serious Haute Horlogerie bargain!
2. IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Watch IW502119
The next watch is an enduring classic, it’s the IWC Portugieser Perpetual. Not much needs to be said about this watch other than the fact that it’s an absolute bargain on the pre-owned market and one of the best-looking Perpetual Calendars on the market period. The perpetual calendar will be accurate until the year 2200 when it will need to be reset by a watchmaker and then be accurate until the year 2300!
In most instances, you can pick this watch up in precious metal for under $20,000 which to me is just mind-blowing considering the history of the Portugieser line and the fact that this is one of the best functioning and accurate perpetual calendars. It’s a watch that is slightly more dressy yet still very sporty with its 43mm case size and can be worn really every day and in any situation. Not only will this watch accurately tell you the date November 23rd, 2182 but it also will look just as timeless and sporty then as it does now.
3. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique Watch Q5086420
The next watch is another JLC, this time the Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique. The tourbillon was a complication that was originally invented in 1801 by Abraham-Louis Breguet and was designed to eliminate the effects of gravity that affected the timekeeping of pocket watches that would remain in a fixed position.
For wristwatches, tourbillons are technically a redundant complication since your wrist will constantly move throughout the day and so the effect of gravity on a wristwatch is mostly negated. Despite this, it doesn’t take away from the technical prowess it takes to make a tourbillon movement, especially the way JLC did it this time around.
The watch has a rather plain aesthetic with a platinum case in 42mm and a rather plain white dial that almost forces the wearer’s eyes to focus on the tourbillon.
The tourbillon is a 1-minute tourbillon, meaning it will do a full rotation in 60 seconds, but is different from traditional tourbillons in that its hairspring is cylindrically shaped rather than flat.
The cylindrical shape of the hairspring actually has a better ability to negate the effects of gravity on the watch’s timekeeping ability. This is a watch that retailed for just under $110,000 and in today’s market, you can find it for much less.
4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication 25865BC.OO.1105BC.01
For the last watch, let’s end with a bang! A Hublot BIG BANG!! Just kidding although this is a heck of a bang to end off with.
It is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grand Complication. It’s a watch that features a perpetual calendar, a split-second chronograph, and a minute repeater all in the iconic Royal Oak case shape and all while being self-winding – that’s right it’s an automatic movement.
This watch is a beast! Not only does it weigh a ton because of its white gold case and bracelet but it also has a case size of 45mm. This watch is the definition of a horological flex from Audemars Piguet because it features three of the most difficult-to-do complications in the watch market and features them all simultaneously in one watch.
In today’s market, it’s hard to estimate what this watch will go for but it is certainly in excess of $500,000 because there are just so few of these watches out there. Not too shabby for a watch model that back in 1972 the industry and watch buying public thought was overpriced.