Hands-On with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme LAB2
May 21, 2010
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme LAB 2 was introduced at SIHH 2010, in January. The Extreme LAB does not feature a tourbillon, perpetual calendar or a minute repeater. It does, however, have some very high-tech watchmaking functions and features, even if they are not considered "complicated" by traditional definitions.
It has a patented jumping digital minutes counter, a push-button crown function selector, an anti-magnetic silicon escapement, a black zirconium-ceramic bezel, a rotor that is mounted on lubrication free ceramic ball bearings and an advanced multi-adjusting strap.
Even the case is high-tech. It is a dual-ring-case: sandwich structured case with carrier-chassis and movement container. It has 143 components and is made of an advanced titanium alloy, exclusive to Jaeger-LeCoultre, called TiVan15.
Powering the Master Compressor Extreme LAB 2 TiVan 15, is the Calibre 781 (Calibre 780 is in rose gold version). The difference between the 781 and 780, is that the 781 Calibre movement features an advanced silicon escapement. The advantages of this type of high-tech escapement is that it is anti-magnetic, runs with lower friction, does not need periodic oil lubrication and it is lighter (which can allow higher speed and accuracy). The power-reserve is 60 hours.
The dial, which is skeletonized, offers a great view of the movement. The patented mechanical digital jumping seconds is displayed at 12 o'clock. Using two discs, it displays chronograph minutes, for up to 30 minutes. Chronograph hours go up to 24 hours and are displayed in the subdial at 9 o'clock. Chronograph seconds are displayed by the red central hand. Accuracy is 1/8th of a second.
At the top of the dial is a radial power reserve indicator. The power-reserve is 60 hours, and the indicator turns from white to red as the power reserve goes down.
By pushing the zirconium-crown, you can select from three different functions, without pulling out the crown. This and a double gasket system help prevent dust and dirt from entering the case. The function selector controls watch winding in the first position, the GMT and date are controlled after one push and the time is controlled after the second push.
While the time is being set, the seconds hand doesn't stop, so timekeeping precision is not affected. However if the watch has to be set to a timing signal, the user simply operates the slider located on the left side of the case. By sliding it up and then pressing it, the seconds hand stops, and upon releasing, starts again. This double sliding-pushing function prevents the slider from being activated accidentally.
The strap features a simple changing system. By moving a lever on the caseback, you can then remove the strap easily, without a tool. This by itself is very cool. But that's not it, the strap also has a comfort adjustment that allows you to ratchet the strap into one of three different positions, based on your wrist size and preference. It even has an advanced adjustable buckle, which adjusts to two different positions, without a tool.
The bridges and oscillating weight are PVD coated and visible through sapphire glass, front and back. The dial is open worked so, you can see the bridges from the front as well. The indexes and skeleton hands are luminescent.
The price is $53,700 - Ref. 203T470 TiVan 15, limited series of 300 and $64,300 - Ref. 2032470 18-carat pink gold/TiVan15, limited series of 200.