Jaeger-LeCoultre’s three new dazzling additions to its Calibre 101 collection function as an impeccable showcase of the technical expertise and dexterity of the Maison’s watchmakers and gem-setters. A distinct ode to femininity, the three high jewellery timepieces include two new interpretations of the 101 Bangle first introduced in 2020 — each a one-of-a-kind piece — one in pink gold with a red lacquer dial, complemented by diamonds (Ref. Q2892260), and the other in white gold with a snow-white lacquer dial, complemented by sapphires and diamonds (Ref. Q2893202). The new launches also include the 101 Secrets, a brand new ‘secret watch’ design, set with over 1,000 diamonds, amounting to almost 27 carats (Ref. Q2872201).
At the heart of all three models is Calibre 101, known as the world’s smallest mechanical movement. Conceived and developed for jewellery watches and introduced in 1929, Calibre 101 revolutionised feminine watchmaking. The minuscule size paired with the baguette shape opened up new opportunities for designers, allowing them to exercise greater aesthetic freedom. At a weight of barely one gram, the tiny, hand-wound calibre, offering a 33-hour power reserve, is also one of the world’s oldest movements to have remained in production.
101 Secrets: A Touch of Art Deco Magic
The four rows of diamonds on the 101 Secrets add a unique sparkle to the timepiece. When the wearer first looks at the two outer rows of claw-set diamonds, set on either side of a double row of grain-set diamonds, there’s no way of knowing that the diamonds hide a little secret: the dial remains hidden until the wearer wishes to see the time. A stunning new mechanism — composed of unique micro-mechanics — enables the functioning of a hidden button. When gently pressed open by the wearer, a small section of the bracelet pops open to reveal the time on a mother-of-pearl dial. On releasing the button, the dial disappears into the folds of the diamonds once again. The tradition of secret watches dates back to the 19th century and the 101 Secrets stays true to that playful, elegant spirit while pairing it with contemporary design sensibilities.
The gem-setters chose the traditional technique of claw-setting for the outer rows of diamonds: this enables the stones to be held above the surface of the gold, allowing light to pass through them from all angles to maximise sparkle. The inner rows are incorporated via grain-setting, providing a visual anchor for the larger stones. Together with the diamonds that frame the dial, the design of the timepiece brings out the Art Deco influence that forms such an indelible part of the Maison’s watchmaking spirit.
The 101 Secrets, sized at 29.07 x 12.22 mm, flaunts a total of 1,024 diamonds (26.75 carats), representing a whopping 182 hours of arduous gem-setting, undertaken at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s own Metier Rares™ workshop.
101 Bangle: Jewelled in Colour
Jaeger-LeCoultre first introduced the 101 Bangle in 2020, its inspiration rooted in the strong, sweeping lines of Art Deco and 20th-century Modernism. The model was set with almost 1,000 precious stones and the bracelet came without a clasp to hold it securely to the wrist. This was made possible by a unique locking mechanism that could be opened and closed with a simple gesture.
The latest iterations of the 101 Bangle include two colourful references, both sized at 18.35 x 5.98 mm. One of the two sits on a pink gold bracelet, sporting a red lacquer dial that contrasts boldly with the white diamonds while complementing the warmth of the pink gold. The 3D effect of the design is heightened by the use of graduation in terms of sizing of the 996 diamonds (19.7 cts). To maximise the play of light, the Maison’s gem-setters also employed both griffe- and grain-setting techniques.
The white gold variant (this is the first time white gold has been used for the 101 Bangle) boasts a stunning row of brilliant-cut sapphires, graduated in size. The blue of the stones is further enhanced by a row of sapphires set into the bracelet and beautifully offset by the cool tones of white diamonds, white gold, and a snow-white lacquer dial. With 347 sapphires (10.29 cts) and 645 diamonds (10.99 cts), this 101 Bangle represents a total of 21.28 carats of precious stones.
While the 101 Bangle variants are one-of-a-kind pieces, the all-new 101 Secrets is made to order.