On August 10, Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced two high jewellery watches featuring the iconic Calibre 101 named 101 Snowdrop and 101 Bangle. These pieces are a blend of high jewellery craftsmanship and fine watchmaking.
This special calibre dates back to 1929 when it was introduced by La Grande Maison, Vallee de Joux. With miniaturisation at its core, this hand-wound calibre is 14mm long, less than 5mm wide and weighs barely one gram. It holds the record of being the world’s smallest mechanical movement. Also, it is one of the oldest movements that is still in production.
Calibre 101 has been used in some rare timepieces by Jaeger-LeCoultre under its name and also in some creations by other great Maisons. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II wore one of these jewellery watches for her coronation in 1953, after receiving it as a gift from France’s President Vincent Auriol.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s in-house artistic team took a jewellery-led approach while creating these two new jewellery watches. First, they designed the bracelets and decided the style of gem-setting, then integrated the cases and movements into the designs.
101 Snowdrop takes inspiration from the white bell-shaped flowers that grow through a thin layer of snow in the Vallée de Joux. This symmetrical design features a circle of pear-shaped diamonds surrounds the dial like a flower and waves of diamonds repeating the petal. A ‘griffe’ setting of diamonds is used to minimise the metal’s presence while allowing light to pass through the stones from all angles.
This bracelet watch contains 904 diamonds out of which 204 are pear-shaped and the remaining are brilliant-cut. This structure is supported by two bands of pink gold.
This piece is inspired by the geometry of Art Deco and the bold forms of 20th-century Modernism. Its a mix of symmetry and asymmetry. It has 996 brilliant-cut diamonds that have been altered in size to highlight the curves of this design. It uses a combination of griffe and grain setting, to give the bracelet a three-dimensional effect and enhance the play of light. The bracelet is made with pink gold and it opens by simply twisting the two sides.