Friday, March 28, 2008

2008 SIHH Preview: JLC AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT

Press file provided by MJLC.

AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT the watch with the dual mechanical heritage.

Born from the partnership between Aston Martin and Jaeger-LeCoultre, the AMVOX line has asserted itself within just a few years as the ultimate expression of the imaginary world of these two legends. Loyal to the sporting and elegant nature of the collection, the new AMVOX3 immediately proclaims its membership of the most select fine watchmaking circles. Its round ceramic case is the first ever made in this material by the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux. It houses the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988 tourbillon movement, driving two time-zone displays and a date making a larger jump between the 31st and the 1st of each month so as not to obstruct the full view of the tourbillon mechanism.
The extraordinary open worked dial enables one to admire the ruthenium-coated bridges and base plate, as well as the blackened central bridge of the AP/PM indicator. As befits such supreme quality, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT will be produced in a limited edition reflecting that of Aston Martin cars, also issued in small series so as to remain a luxury reserved for a privileged few.

Revolutionary form and content

The AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT strikes an undeniably perfect balance between strength and performance. In making its ceramic case, the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux opted for a cutting-edge process designed to ensure that the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT meets the quality criteria expected of an Haute Horlogerie model. A mixture of zirconium and yttrium oxides is heated at high pressure to a temperature of over 2000 degrees so as to combine the two
components into strongly cohesive blocks. To avoid any risk of porosity, the homogeneity of the material is also subjected to radioscopic scrutiny. This material is then ground in order to shape the case. This process is the only way of guaranteeing the correct machining of high-end ceramics and to achieve extremely precise contours of the watch. This final stage calls for the use of special tools coated in diamond crystals as well as diamond powders for polishing. The type of ceramics used by Jaeger-LeCoultre features peerless resistance and stability, for a material that is barely harder than titanium, as well as far lighter and twice as hard as steel.

Just as a sports watch is equipped with an engine on a par with its ambitions, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT houses a high-performance movement that enjoys the privilege of incorporating the patented oscillating weight of Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988C, the movement powering the Master Compressor Extreme LAB. This 21st century automatic movement is distinguished by the presence of a new oscillating weight featuring redesigned geometrical shape and affording a considerable improvement in winding performances. Its weight is 28% lower
than classic rotors, since it is made from an alloy of platinum and iridium, the densest non-toxic physical body currently machinable. The use of avant-garde materials also serves to slim down the construction and achieve a far thinner result. Its arms are made from carbon fibers so as to make them lighter and more rigid. Friction is further reduced by mounting the oscillating weight on tiny ceramic ball-bearings. The design of the parts and the nature of the materials used in making them further enhance their shock-resistance and their durability.

The natural harmonies between fine mechanical engineering and Haute Horlogerie

What would be the point of technical inventions if they were not accompanied by an aesthetic quest capable of nurturing emotions and reams? Likewise, the seductive appeal that Aston Martin cars have for decades exercised on demanding drivers stems from their unique blend of sport and style, of cutting-edge technology and classical design references. Faced with the rough gem represented by the splendid high-tech case with its intense black sheen, Jaeger-LeCoultre designers decided to cultivate the natural harmonies between fine mechanical engineering and Haute Horlogerie, between noble materials and contemporary technologies, by associating ceramics with the classic beauty of 18-carat gold in its most exquisite shade. The black hue of the case, the numerals and the dial echoing the characteristic structure of car radiator grids,
makes a striking contrast with the 18-carat pink gold of the polished crown, the back bezel and the double folding clasp, as well as with the gilded accents of the luminescent broad pointers including a delicately openworked minute hand.

The fascination of complications: tourbillon and dual time zone

Since the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT is intended for devotees of mechanical engineering, whether dedicated to automobiles or to precision timekeeping, it naturally sought to provide an ample view of the exceptional capacities of its revolutionary mechanism – starting at 6 o’clock, with a clear vision of the fascinating motion of the tourbillon. This brilliant mechanism that emerged during the first golden age of watchmaking two centuries ago has retained the original
operating principle while improving its efficiency by the choice of state-of-the-art materials. Its grade 5 titanium carriage features ruthenium-coated bevelled, drawn and polished edges and weighs no less than 280 mg. The 4N gold-plated upper bridge features a splendid openworked design vividly evoking of the finest hours of automobile sports. The tourbillon is equipped with a variable-inertia balance oscillating at a cadence of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

Imbued with an inimitably British touch of elegance, this newcomer to the realm of sports watches, naturally could not forego the indispensable dual time-zone display, indicated by an additional hour hand and complemented by the ever useful AM/PM indication at 12 o’clock. The main hour hand is adjustable in one-hour backward or forward increments by rotating the crown. Finally, to ensure that the tourbillon is visible at all times, the slender date hand pointing to the monthly calendar inscribed around the inner dial ring, in a classic 270° sweep reminiscent of vintage speedometers, has been “trained” to jump between the 31st and the 1st of each month: an exceptional accomplishment for which patent has been duly registered.

Further revealing the feats achieved by Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988, the central dial opening affords fascinating glimpses of the ruthenium-coated bridges and baseplate, as well as of the central AM/PM indicator blackened with a PVD coating.

The first AMVOX model with sapphire crystal case-back

And since everyone knows that enthusiasts of fine English cars love to lift up the hood to admire the running of the engine, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers have fitted the case of the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT with a glareproofed sapphire crystal case-back.

Power and elegance

The AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT testifies to a powerful spirit that vividly reflects its dual heritage. It embodies the power, style and performance of sports cars, as well as the technical innovation, reliability and artistic sophistication of a Manufacture uniting over 40 professions under one roof. Its appearance echoes that of the Aston Martin world through its avant-garde movement, its generous black ceramic case measuring 44 mm in diameter – a cutting-edge achievement in its own right – and aesthetic reminders relating to the signature codes of prestige automobiles, such as the driver’s strap in perforated black calfskin with white overstitching and the winged Aston Martin logo appearing at 6 o’clock on the dial and admirably matching the brand’s emblematic J and L capital letters at 12 o’clock. Issued in a limited, numbered series of 300, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT combines admirable strength and elegance, entirely dedicated to the masters of speed and of time.

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