Sunday, April 11, 2010

JLC iW Dinner - Hong Kong

Jaeger le-Coultre released an impressive range of time pieces in 2010 and I was lucky enough to be invited to view these pieces at a dinner hosted by iW Magazine Hong Kong at the Conrad Hotel. The new Extreme Lab was just one of the many highlights of the evening.

The dinner menu was rather impressive too.

First course – refer to menu above. The creaminess and sweetness of the Alaskan crab made this the stand out dish amongst the three.

My dining companion on the right sported this little beauty.

Second course – refer to menu above. The bisque was absolutely fabulous, and probably the highlight of the meal. Unfortunately, it looked a mess when it was served. I think the waiter did a couple of pirouettes before setting it down. Fortunately, it tasted so good that it didn’t matter what it looked like.

My dining companion to the left sported this little number.

Palate cleanser – refer to menu above. We really needed this after the bold flavour of the bisque.

My gracious host had this simple but stunning piece.

The main course – refer to menu above. For some reason, everyone bar one person on my table got the beef dish. I didn’t know the person who had the fish well enough to stick the camera between him and his meal.

Desserts – refer to menu above. Not content with a trio, the chef went for a quintet of desserts. All were good but by this stage, I was just rushing to finish the meal so I could get to play with the toys.

The piece that most intrigued me was the new Extreme Lab Chronograph, especially the way several JLC had designed the dial lay-out to accommodate a myriad of functions including a chronograph, power reserve indicator, GMT and a rather interesting function selector pusher that was integrated into the crown.

My apologies, but my photography does not give this piece the respect it deserves. However, the skeletonised dial combined with the harsh lightingmade it extremely difficult to capture the depth and detail of the piece.

The watch geek in me was drooling over this piece, especially the digital minute counter, the radial power reserve display on the outer edge of the dial and the very sophisticated function selector which employs a column wheel design. This selector was probably the most interesting feature since it allowed one to select the crown to perform one of three functions – winding of the movement, date and second time zone adjustment and time setting. As with the Lab range of watches, the movement utilised a system of ball bearings for the automatic winding mass in order to reduce the need for lubricants.

While my inner watch geek drooled all over the technical details, I could not ignore some glaring practical issues with this watch.

Firstly, the skeletonised dial does not facilitate easy reading of the information off the dial. Legibility is made worse by the unconventional use of a digital minute display coupled with a radial hour and second display that is positioned oddly. Secondly, the size of this piece, while extremely masculine, makes it a little unwieldy, especially if the case is gold. The titanium piece was, however, very light. Finally, I find that this piece attempts to do too much in showcasing JLC’s technical prowess. Just because one can does not mean one should. This piece seems to feel over engineered and over designed.

In closing, I love the technical elements of the piece it but I’m not so sure about the over designed / over engineered aspect of it and the price tag. The titanium version clocks in at over US$30,000.

The theme of illegible watch faces continue with this Master Compressor Chronograph.

My inner watch geek was stirred again by the magnificent Reverso Triptyque.

Those familiar with this piece will know that it’s the only mechanical watch in existence to have three faces. Again the technical ingenuity behind the whole piece is mind boggling. Unfortunately, the size and thickness of the watch makes it next to impossible to wear and have anyone take you seriously. This is purely an ornamental piece.

The other highlight of the evening was the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication.

Being technically capable of developing a three-faced watch, I was surprised to find that JLC’s marketing department was only able to fit two “Grande” for this rather spectacular piece. I would have gone for the trifecta of Grande Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication. This piece is surely deserving of being not just a master but a grand master. Anyway, I am off with the fairies again.

What surprised me was the clarity and the loudness of the minute repeater. JLC has certainly excelled in achieving the highest levels of sound quality with their crystal gongs and trebuchet hammers. The use of the crystal gongs mean that the minute repeater is no longer slaved to the metal of the case to produce a good sound quality. Generally, the density of gold and platinum produces a very dull sound which the Grande Grande does not suffer.

At 44mm, the case sits very comfortably on the wrist, and that blue dial is just amazing.

Other highlights of the evening include the introduction of a dress chronograph in the Master range along with an extension of the Memovox line with the introduction of more vintage inspired pieces.

Overall, the JLC SIHH 2010 collection offered a strong range of pieces across a broad spectrum. JLC’s reputation for being a sophisticated mass manufacture really shines in this collection. I would only caution that they pay more attention to the functionality and practicality of these pieces as they can come off as being too much of a prototype-style watch rather than a legitimate collection that retains JLC’s more practical sensibilities.

And for those who care, this was what I wore to the event.

Shirt by Herringbone in Thomas Mason shirting, jacket by Mystery Bespoke Tailor in Harrisons Moonbeam fabric, pants by Mystery Bespoke Tailor in Holland and Sherry wool and cashmere fabric and shoes by Vass.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. By the way, can anyone explain to me how we got from crucifixion and resurrection to bunny rabbits and chocolate coloured eggs?


1 comment: