Watches: Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on October 16, 2014

With the presence of extremely skilled and highly reactive Swiss watch movement suppliers able to produce highly complex calibres in small quantities for their clients, the grand complications are no longer the prerogative of a small group of extremely high-end watch brands. Even today, though, the ability to design, develop and manufacture such refined calibres in-house remains more the exception than the norm and sets the best watchmaking Maisons apart from the rest of the industry.

In this Haute Horlogerie elite that counts less than twenty or so members, only a handful dare to offer feminine interpretations of such exclusive and expensive creations. With a dedication to present dedicated ladies’ grand complications since 2012, Jaeger-LeCoultre is at the forefront of this new way of showcasing one’s horological expertise.

After the symbol of Fine Watchmaking, namely the tourbillon escapement, for the Rendez-Vous Tourbillon, the poetry of celestial indications on the Rendez-Vous Celestial and the usefulness of calendar information on the Rendez-Vous Perpetual Calendar, the Great Maison revisits the pinnacle of Haute Horlogerie, the Minute Repeater, for their new women’s creation, the Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater.

When a Manufacture of this stature introduces its take on the Minute Repeater for ladies, do not expect the recycling of an existing men’s minute repeater movement, however prestigious it is, housed in a diamond-set case for good measure. The watchmaking team went to great lengths to create a small-sized minute repeater movement able to adapt to a small 39 mm case with a limited thickness while still producing a rich and audible sound.

The 942A calibre also boasts the quality of being automatic with a power reserve of around 43 hours: a characteristic much appreciated by women in general and only shared by the Hybris Mechanica II. This marvel of Fine Watchmaking beats at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and uses two patented trebuchet hammers that strike two crystal gongs connected to the sapphire crystal to create a loudspeaker effect. The watch is also equipped with a silent regulator to reduce any peripheral sound disturbance of the mechanism. The result is a clear, warm, rich sound in a lower decibel range.

Before describing the magnificent aesthetic treats that adorn this Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater, one more technical feature seems worth mentioning even for the ladies who don’t really fall for these aspects of a watch. Unlike most minute repeaters that are activated by a slide lever on the side of the case, Jaeger LeCoultre opted here for a push-piece placed at 9:30 fitted with a security system ensuring that even if it is activated inadvertently while the repeater is working, the mechanism will not start again preventing any damage to the delicate movement.

Aesthetically, this Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater is as refined as it is feminine. The white gold case mounted on a blue satin strap secured by a folding buckle features two rows of brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel. The lugs of the case and the push-piece for the repeater are also diamond-set. The most original part, however, remains the magnificent white gold dial with a sunburst guilloché base motif covered with blue translucent Grand Feu enamel requiring several firings at very high temperatures to obtain this richness of colour and sensational depth.

Above this beautiful background, the master gem-setters have worked their magic on a white gold flowerbed of Ivy leaves snow-set with brilliant-cut diamonds. This impressive technique actually invented by the Manufacture uses different sizes of diamonds to completely cover the gold surface and give this impression of snowflakes during the winter's first frosts. Arabesque white gold numerals at the cardinal points seem to jut out from the stems of these Ivy leaves and complete the ensemble.

The Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater is a blatant illustration of Jaeger LeCoultre’s Fine Watchmaking skills as well as exceptional expertise in decorative crafts. It also evidences how right they are when it comes to designing the perfect ladies’ watch.

For more information please visit the Jaeger LeCoultre web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: