Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon 2: A fascinating chronometric Reverso!

Mar 28, 2008,00:09 AM

So here is finally coming the first and perhaps the most fascinating new watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre this year?


1833-2008, that's 175 years of history to celebrate so the task is huge smile


The launch of the Gyrotourbillon 1 a few years back in 2004 was a great time in Jaeger-LeCoultre's history. The Gyrotourbillon was indeed an instant revelation of the innovative potential of the "Grande maison". The following years saw the birth of several great watches like the Master Minute Repeater, the Grande Complication a Triptyque, the Amvox2, The Duometre a Chronographe, the Master Tourbillon, the Master Compressor Extreme Lab on the complication side, but also the Squadra range, the Diving range or the expansion of the Reverso 8 Days range.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2


It would be far from seeing the truth to consider this Gyrotourbillon 2 as a Reverso cased Gyrotourbillon 1!  In fact this watch nearly only keeps the Gyrotourbillon principle, here applied with several innovations in a new calibre.


A fifth Reverso Tourbillon


The first and main difference with the Gyrotourbillon 1, and also in my opinion the most appealing new characteristic of this calibre 174 is its cylindrical balance spring with end curves. This kind of balance spring is totally new in wrist watches even if John Arnold patented this kind of helical spiral in 1882 (some references also date this patent to 1776) and if it was even apparently invented much earlier by Robert Hooke.

Such cylindrical (or helical) spring supposedly improves chronometry as it is easier to make it isochronous.


A heat blued cylindrical balance spring


So far only marine chronometers and a few pocket watches have been equipped with such balance spring.  The reasons were that it is complex to manufacture and particularly to miniaturize. In fact its geometry goes well with the form of the Gyrotourbillon whose tourbillon cage has the necessary third dimension to house this voluminous balance spring.


Calibre 174 on dial side


The Gyrotourbillon combines two intertwined tourbillon cages, the first inner cage doing one rotation in 18.75 seconds and the second outer cage in 1 minute. This combination on 2 axes set at a 90° angle creates the ellipsoidal movement of the regulator that is said to isolate this very regulator from the gravitational effects on the rate in any position. While the Gyrotourbillon 1 needed 2 minutes to take all positions, this Gyrotourbillon 2 will need 5 minutes.


Calibre 174 on back side


Once again everything has been done to ensure the best timing to this calibre. The large size 14 carat gold balance wheel regulated to 4htz, or 28800 vph, has a 12.5 mgXcm² and is adjusted through gold inertia blocks arranged around its rim.


A horologically glamorous blue colour


The cylindrical balance spring has a rectangular section.


The heat blued cylindrical balance spring


The two final curves are chosen to allow a perfect breathing and a consequent isochronism. I have not been able to know the name of these curbs. Jaeger-LeCoultre has used existing curbs, but not Phillips curbs. The spring is pinned in a traditional triangular stud and the stud holder is secured with two screws for a safe fix.


The Gyrotourbillon 1 balance spring


The difference of geometry between the two Gyrotourbillon is particularly obvious if you compare these two drawings. It also shows that consequently the cage is not exactly the same.


The Gyrotourbillon 2 new geometry


Looking at these cages below it looks like a torture cage for the balance wheel but it is apparently a magical treat to forget gravity!


Horology is getting more and more complicated


The new balance Wheel has open-worked arms to decrease the overall moving weight inside the cage. The 100 or so parts of the Gyrotourbillon apparel weight 3.4 grams (while the full calibre is 371 parts). The full spherical diameter of the aluminium cage is 10.85 mm.


The balance wheel


The dial side shows the hours and minutes through two heat blued hands on a sapphire dial at 12, and a close wheel on the left upper part of the dial shows the 24 hours. This is not a second time zone.


The dial side of calibre 174


The back side shows the power reserve indicator of 50 hours.


The back side of calibre 174


The watch has simple functions but once again that's the basic functioning that is improved.


The torque limitation device


The mainspring is fitted on top with a torque limitation device that limits the power reserve to 50 hours and that ensures that the watch is stopped before becoming un-precise. In fact I'm tempted to consider also this torque limitation device, coupled with the power reserve indicator like a torque indicator. As long as you make sure that the power reserve is between the two extremes you have a torque considered as optimal, or at least sufficient. Or in more pragmatic terms, with this device as long as the watch is running it has the desired torque!


The power reserve blued hand


The torque imitation device is quite nice and simple in principle. The principle is about two wheels turning together. One is concentric with the barrel, the other one is below the little bridge. They don't have the same number of teeth.


One is driving when the barrel is giving power to the main train, the other one is driving when the barrel is being wound. The driving one drives the other, in one direction or the other. Both have each a unique upper tooth and these two teeth can't cross. When they touch the device is stopped, either stopping the winding or the main train.


There's a patent applied for this device.


The back of the Gyrotourbillon 2 in its full glory


The power reserve indicator also has a little refinement. There's an additional hairspring to compensate the play in the gear train, so that the power reserve indicated is always the real power reserve in the main spring.


The main spring


The main spring is covered on top and below with sapphire parts to reduce friction.


The main spring in the calibre


The winding system is equipped with conic wheels.


The cannon-pinion wheel


The cannon-pinion wheel has a new and surprising design.


The cannon-pinion wheel is used to engage the main train to the cannon-pinion, i.e. to the hands. When the watch is running the wheel is attached to the cannon-pinion through sufficient friction. When the hands are set through the crown the friction between the cannon-pinion wheel and the cannon-pinion is not enough to make the main train be driven by the cannon-pinion. In some way the cannon-pinion is by force disengaged from the main train when the hands are set.


The cannon-pinion wheel in place


In the case of the Gyrotourbillon 2 the cannon-pinion wheel is slightly flexible and is not round when it is not engaged. This wheel has 5 arms, one being detached from the others.


When the cannon-pinion is engaged in the wheel the wheel takes its round shape and the movable fifth arm applies a force to the cannon-pinion so that the necessary friction is distributed all around the cannon-pinion.


The cannon-pinion wheel below the dial


There's also a patent applied on this new wheel design.


The awesome Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2


Obviously this amazing watch is not just a chronometric machine. It is somewhat a simple watch with little additional complication smile


The chronometric necessity of the seconds hand


Still it is a very beautiful watch, with a pure horological design, and also a very high level of finish not seen before on  a Jaeger-LeCoultre wrist watch.


Defintely not a design gimmick


The launch of the Gyrotourbillon in 2004, and several following upscale models, have necessitated the creation of a new finish department at the manufacture.


The highest level of finish


The « haut de gamme » finish department is in some way the legacy of the work done for years by master watchmakers like Sylvain Golay and his colleagues.


A new dimension of finish


The evaluation of the finish on this watch will necessitate an open approach to the new dimension broad by the Gyrotourbillon. This calibre is not just a pile of assembled pieces like every classical calibre is. The tri-dimensional Gyrotourbillon adopts a more modern approach than the more classical dial area finish.


The aluminium outer cage


You will please not forget that the watch shown is an early prototype and doesn't necessarily show the final finish.


Finish tools


The finish works is hand made but the hand is sometimes helped by motorized tools.


Wood and leather polish wheels


The tools can be very traditional like the polish tools in box wood or leather. The materials offer a very soft polish on some very small and sometimes light pieces.


Leather at work


The intangible dial and the large opening of the tourbillon cage show a complete view on the calibre parts. These parts are the style of the watch through their finish. That's why I wrote pure horological design.


Layers on the dial area, lack of field on the Gyro side


Re-entrant angles are everywhere, for the pleasure of the high finish fans !


Sharp finish


The finish is sharp and not rounded like it is often the case with Jaeger-LeCoultre. This is really the work of this new finish department and they even admit that they keep improving. Some coming Master Tourbillon watches may hopefully get the next step of finish to be at the top!


Close to the top


Frederick Henry Royce the co-founder of Rolls-Royce stated that "the perfection is no small thing but is made of small things". This watch is definitely a new step towards perfection for Jaeger-LeCoultre.


There's no small detail


Some bridges on the dial side are nailed, a first time for Jaeger-LeCoultre and a very pleasant result.




The nails reinforce the visual effect of the sharp angles.


Nailed closer


The nickel silver bridges are also very nicely angled. The angles are polished to bring a third dimension to the pieces.


Even closer


So the watch is technically superb, shows an un-seen level of finish from Jaeger-LeCoultre, but is it a usable watch?


But is it too large


Let me be clear ! This is a usable watch. It is made for use. It is simple, precise, waterproof (30m), comfortable to wear with its integrated leather strap.


Tri-dimensionally fascinating on the wrist


This watch becomes perfect only on the wrist where it is supposed to be the time organ of your body!


Somewhat thick


Of course the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 is not an ultra thin. It is a thick watch. But it is not over thick, neither over large.


Fitting even my smallish wrist


This watch was very cleverly designed as its Reverso case is much more wearable than the Grande Complication a Triptyque.


If you can wear a Grande Reverso or a Squadra


In fact the reversing case is 14.5mm thick. The case and sapphire glasses have a standard Reverso appearance.


Extreme inside, classical outside


Due to the weight of the platinum reversible case the watch is fitted with a locking device like the Grande Complication a Triptyque.


A fascinating view on the wrist


The series will be strictly limited to 75 pieces in platinum.


You can wear it on the back side too


This amazing watch is certainly a satisfying tribute to the long history of the Grande Maison, from the pioneering spirit of the founder Antoine LeCoultre who invented the tools that allowed the production of more precise watches to the following integration in a complete manufacture.


A watch with substance


This rare watch may not be essential for many of the more than 1200 people working at Jaeger-LeCoultre (around 20% of the total of the Vallee de Joux workers), it will be an essential watch dream for many of us watch admirers and specially for the chronometry amateurs.


Who can say no thanks


As this Gyrotourbillon 2 will be more affordable than the first Gyrotourbillon I have little doubt that it will encounter an even larger success.


I would put it on my desk and spend hours looking at it


Around 2 thirds of the 75 Gyrotourbillon 1 have been delivered so far, but the production of the Gyrotourbillon 2 has already begun.


Gyrotourbillon 2 cases already made


Now it's time to decide already if you want it!


Time to decide


This watch will make a hit at this year's SIHH.


Or it will turn its back to you


Congratulations to Jaeger-LeCoultre for this outstanding timepiece.


Here is my all time favourite JLC!




ps : my sincere thanks to the Jaeger-LeCoultre teams who gave me some of their precious time while preparing the soon to be SIHH 2008.

This message has been edited by Dje on 2008-03-29 23:43:31

More posts: Amvox2DuometreDuometre ChronographeMaster CompressorMaster TourbillonRolls-Royce

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Comments: view entire thread


This watch derserved waiting a bit, no?

 By: amanico : March 28th, 2008-00:37
Jerome, I don't speak about you, of course, but about all those who wanted to see absolutely the pics before the embargo... They saw it before, but they only saw a press file pic, not what YOU did, a review, a special, complete, detailed, personal review.... 

Overload! Overload!

 By: Allen : March 28th, 2008-01:46
What a tremendous report, Jerome! I'll have to come back to this post many times to fully take it in. It's late at night and I know what will my dream will be. Wow. That is some watch. Thanks so much!

Fascinating post....

 By: drsh : March 28th, 2008-01:11
Thanks Jerome for the wonderful write-up and heads up.... Read thru twice...i think ineed to do it twenty times...LOL! cheers! sh

Thanks for the introduction and report.

 By: PoyFR : March 28th, 2008-01:22
It sure looks like you spent a bit of time with the meriting extraordinary Gyrotourbillon 2. I personally was handed this piece and I had it for a moment on my wrist. All I can add to Jerome's report is my personal feelings and appreciation... It was the ... 

GREAT review Jerome !!!

 By: p@trice : March 28th, 2008-02:17
Thanks for sharing !!! With JLC, the term "Manufacture" is not ternished.

Outstanding accomplishment for JLC

 By: Ares501 - Mr Green : March 28th, 2008-02:19
Thank you very much for sharing. Amazing how small is the watch. JLC is IMHO really started to "smash" competition Best


 By: Marv : March 28th, 2008-02:21
Jérome, Thank you for this great review. For sure, this reverso deserved better than a press picture. Your very well illustrated and documented post is up to the challenge! JLC has successfully achieved a fascinating merge between the reverso case and the... 

Thanks Jerome! I never liked the Gyrotourbillon 1

 By: SJX : March 28th, 2008-04:37
Impressive as it is, I never liked the Gyrotourbillon 1. I find the movement as seen through the caseback very unattractive, it does not not seem well designed from an aesthetic point of view; the rectangular form of the Gyrotourbillon 2 is much better lo... 

It is way less massive, SJX

 By: amanico : March 28th, 2008-05:10
Indeed the triptyque is a biig watch, the Gyro II is between a XGT and the smaller Squadra... Best. Nicolas

That's good news

 By: SJX : March 28th, 2008-07:30
All the more I want to try this on my wrist. Thanks for clarifying Nicolas. - SJX

It won't be easy, SJX,

 By: amanico : March 28th, 2008-08:01

Don't worry!

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-06:33

Jerome, that is the kind of preview that makes this place

 By: Asimut : March 28th, 2008-05:12
so special. As Nico put it, any web site can post pictures and press releases, but it takes someone as passionate and knowledgeable as yourself to compose such a wonderful report. I salute you! (and yes, I am satisfied!) Asi

Thanks Asi! nt

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-06:34

Thanks for the excellent report and photos

 By: akashjain_del : March 28th, 2008-05:23
The watch is stupendous as well Best Regards


 By: Mark  : March 28th, 2008-05:59
Impressed by the watch - what a beauty and what a technical achievement. Also impressed by the amount of detailed information and good pics in this wonderful post ! Excellent stuff - thanks so much for preparing this. Regards Mark

Torque thingy

 By: aaronm : March 28th, 2008-06:24
Facinating report. It sounds like that torque thing is basically a stop-work, that keeps the mainspring from running all the way down? -a

12.5 mgcm2 at 28800 eh!

 By: Velociphile - No longer in the building : March 28th, 2008-07:34
Fabulous report Jerome. And it fits you...... V

A Masterpiece!

 By: kglaw : March 28th, 2008-08:44
Fantastic report Jerome! I was glued to my screen reading up on the Gyrotourbillion II. This is truly a magnificent piece! For sure it will be a huge hit for JLC.

Wohoo.....that's someting else...

 By: Andy : March 28th, 2008-09:00
Thanks Dje for a fantastic review.....your a lucky man to see it. Where do I sign..!! How many more surprises are in store for this special year for JLC..?? Andy.

Stay Tuned, Andy, that's not the end

 By: amanico : March 28th, 2008-12:12
Other posts to come!!!

Nicolas, I will travel to Geneva...

 By: Tassos : March 30th, 2008-10:54
...on Monday 7 April for the watch fair... Let us hope I will see this marvel (and not only that) in the flesh!!! Tassos

all i can say is

 By: rijowysock : March 28th, 2008-09:00
holy crap! thats amazing...... i still like the dual retrograde date and the perpetual functions of the original tho. compared to original gyro how much thicker is this piece?

JLC shock the world again.

 By: BHK9 : March 28th, 2008-11:47
Hi there, Firstly,Thanks jerome for the great introduction and partial review of the new release. I would say,since the gyroI then Triptype and now the Gryro II,JLC has never ending impressing and shocking the world of horology. Will definately be another... 

Wait some more few days, BHK9

 By: amanico : March 28th, 2008-12:13
I think you will be very pleased... Best. Nicolas

Again Nicolas?

 By: BHK9 : March 28th, 2008-13:00

Thank you BHK9 nt

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-06:45


 By: mjnoumoff : March 28th, 2008-12:08
Yes I am using WOW becuase that is a magnificent watch!! Simple excellent!!! It looks rather chunky but considering the components, I am not surprised! What are the dimensions of this watch? Will it only be sold through boutiques? On a separate note/quest... 

For what i know

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-06:47

Great review and photos Jerome - however, the watch leaves me cold

 By: 219 : March 28th, 2008-19:56
While as usual the JLC technical accomplishment comes out, the design and aesthetics of the piece fail. Three years ago I thought the whole three-axis tourbillon thing was WOW! Now, I am not so sure. Part of my dislike for this piece comes from the aesthe... 

Superb watch & review!

 By: Peter  : March 28th, 2008-20:20
Thks for sharing!

Thank you! nt

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-07:08

I’m tachycardic and tachypnoeic.

 By: AndrewD : March 28th, 2008-20:43
I don’t get ‘weak in the knees’ over too many watches, but that is just amazing. Thanks for the report and your insights Jerome. Definitely worth waiting for! I thought that Kari Voutilainen’s blued hairsprings were startling, but this cylindrical spring ... 

Thanks Andrew....

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-07:07

Clap, clap, clap, clap.....!!!

 By: pplater : March 28th, 2008-23:54
Indeed, a standing ovation. Congratulations Jerome, that is easily - easily - the best review of any watch in recent memory. We were all waiting as we read, wondering when we would see the telling side-on shot of the case: surely the cage would make the c... 

Hey pplater

 By: amanico : March 29th, 2008-00:04

A very good report, Jerome!

 By: HerrK : March 29th, 2008-05:19
Other than the in every aspect disappointing AMVOX3 this new Gyrotourbillon is close to perfection: Further innovating the already superlative spherical tourbillon, a very pleasing design and finish and had the case not neces- sarily to be that large I wo... 

Aaaah, Herrk, you see!

 By: amanico : March 29th, 2008-07:32
We're exactyl between a small Squadra and a XGT Reverso, in terms of size... Finally, you admit that the size may not be a problem! LOLOLOL As for Magali, I vwill check this point...I was so under the chock when I saw this watch that I didn't have the min... 

Size, well, my ...

 By: HerrK : April 1st, 2008-09:52
... banker told me that the size would be a problem. But I fear that he was not refering to the case-size! Any news on Magalie? Cheers Christian

I see her next week, Herrk

 By: amanico : April 1st, 2008-10:29
Do I tell her something from you? LOL Best. Nicolas


 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-07:15
Hi, In fact the span of the power reserve is selected so that the torque is always necessary. When the power reserve indicator falls down to 0 the watch stops because that also means that the torque device stops the watch. Winding from 0 the power reserve... 

Thanks so much for the very complete report as well as...

 By: Rob : March 30th, 2008-02:20
kudos to JLC for doing a follow-up to the legendary Gyrotourbillon. Whilst I still feel the original is better in all aspects, this certainly deserves at least a look when it arrives at my favorite AD Thanks again for sharing!!

Your welcome Rob....

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-07:18
Hi, The Gyro 2 is indeed so different from the Gyro 1! The Gyro 1 can easily be seen as superior for its additional complications, but the Gyro2 has a simpler charm that can make it superior on some aspects! Dje

I take a few weeks off from the JLC forum . . .

 By: Dr No : April 9th, 2008-09:48
. . . and I come back to find this heroic amalgamation of precision chronometry, technical development, and pleasing aesthetic all in one magnificent watch . . . jeez, what else have I missed? I've never really taken a liking to any of the multi-axis tour... 

My pleasure! nt

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-07:19


 By: Tassos : March 30th, 2008-10:24
I dreamt a dream, looking at this incredible watch!!! And the cost might be???? Thanks for a magnificent presentation!!!! Tassos

So far...

 By: foversta : March 31st, 2008-12:25
The most impressive watch of the year ! The finishings are outstanding, the tourbillon is perfectly integrated on the dial, the overall design is great. Thanks Jerome for the news ! Fr.Xavier

great report jerome!

 By: DaMctosh : April 1st, 2008-08:35
fantastic read and incredible piece. much nicer than the gyro 1 IMHO. Wonder if it was possible to add another barrel for a longer power reserve, perhaps doing away with among others the 24h wheel.

Thank Damien. nt

 By: Dje : April 5th, 2008-07:21

Thanks DJE,

 By: michelW : April 2nd, 2008-07:55
For this great report. Cheers, Michel

Amazing post !

 By: DrStrong : April 2nd, 2008-11:04
and watchmaking at its best ! Cheers Jeff