Jaeger-LeCoultre Platinum 2 Tourbillon
A brief SIHH impression

by Jaw
April 2003

Before actually fondling the Platinum 2. I was somewhat skeptical and jotted down my cynicism in my mind like so:

  • Why not XGT size? too lazy to design a new XGT size Tourbillon?
  • In a year of too many Tourbillons, who needs another?
  • JLC will actually produce 500 Tourbillons in 2 years, probably more than all the other manufacturers combined, in the same period.

JLC created an exceptional Tourbillon calibre 828. In 1993, successfully squeezed probably the first rectangular Tourbillon movement in a relatively small Grand Taille Reverso case. It continued to impress the industry after the now legendary 60eme.

(The 1993 Limited Edition Reverso Tourbillon)

Platinum is the hardest precious material to machine, and Jaeger-LeCoultre successfully used this metal to make the complicated watch case in 2001, the Platinum 1 Reverso, featured a white gold skeletonised movement.

Ten Years After, the Platinum 2 Tourbillon this year is a natural product evolution, a Platinum Grand Taille Reverso Tourbillon, featuring the new Calibre 848 with full 18ct solid white gold Bridges and plates (small parts are rhodium plated except for the balance which is gold plated).

(The first Platinum Reverso, The Platinum 1 with skeleton movement)

In the initial stage, the development team considered a Platinum 2 in a more trendy XGT case, which should be more contemporary and perhaps easier to market. The team finally decided to target purists collectors and devotees who are essentially in pursuit of horological accomplishments and beautiful mechanism, rather than the more fashion conscious accessories buyer.

Continuing its tradition of launching a limited edition complication annually is a conscious choice by JLC to bring together each year the talents of its craftsmen in order to rise to a challenge which will then take shape within a Limited Series, delivered over a one to two year period, depending on production constraints.

Having played with the watch, all the faults are forgiven and I am now blinded only by the positive attribute of this watch. Let me count the ways:

(Platinum 2 Tourbillon, Dial View
note the unusual power reserve pointer in the centre)

  • The calibre 848 is a genuine gem of craftsmanship, the new "cotes Soleillees" pattern radiating around the tourbillon carriage is a sight to behold. and this exquisite movement finishing is never seen in a JLC before. And I would safely declare that it is now a Tourbillon finished to the level of A Lange & Sohne with a JLC sticker price
  • I also like the movement engravings with ink finish, not a particular technical challenge, but pleasantly complementary to the movement aesthetic.
  • The pointer-type power-reserve display in the centre of the dial is unconventional and looks a little akward initially, and can be at times hidden behind the minute or even the hour hand. It took me just 3 minutes to realise that this power-reserve position is exceedingly rare for a tourbillon and the look does grow on you gradually.
  • The two-tone ruthenium-grey and silvered shade solid gold dial is also of exceptional quality, understated, but classy.

    (Exquisite sapphire case-back view)

    In summary, This is an exceptionally beautiful watch with top class finished movement, a classic looking and understated basic watch when worn dial-up, with a solid (beating) heart of gold (movement) and I have no doubt all skeptics will change their mind when they hold one in their hands.

    I leave you with brief comparisons of (approximate) retail prices of most currently available tourbillons:

    Data sheet

    JLC Platinum 2CHF 87,750.-
    Blancpain 8 days TourbillonCHF 88,900.-
    BreguetCHF 107,000.-
    ParmigianiCHF 128,000.-
    A Lange & SohneCHF 129,000.-
    Vacheron ConstantinCHF 141,500.-
    Audemars Piguet CanapeCHF 175,000.-

    (Movement View, Platinum 2)

    (Another view of this amazing case-back)


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