Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grand Taille:

A Great Watch in Disguise

Posted by Eugenio Demmenie on December 31, 1997 at 6:06:55:

Hi Forumners and WIS,

With the holidays, I had some time to write a watch-review, you will find
below. From the Netherlands I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Best regards,

Eugenio Demmenie

Jaeger-leCoultre MGT: A Great Watch in Disguise

In February 1997, I bought my first Swiss watch. After reading Justin Time’s and Michael Friedberg’s reviews on respectively IWC (Mark XII, Flieger-chronograph, Porsche Design) and Patek (Neptune), I felt inspired to review my Jaeger-leCoultre Master Grande Taille (JleC MGT).

Jaeger-leCoultre’s Master Collection

In 1992 Jaeger-leCoultre launched the first models of its Master collection: The Master Grande Taille and Master Date. The Master collection watches can be characterized by classical styling (a bit like watches of the fifties) and a gold seal on the back, giving the watch an unique number and indicating it passed a 1000 hour test.

In Jaeger-leCoultre’s 1000 hour test, the complete watch – in its case and with hands and dial – is subjected to accuracy tests in 6 positions at different temperatures (between 4 and 40 degrees Celsius) and magnetic fields. It also has to pass shock and vibration resistance tests. The case is tested for water tightness at a pressure of 8 atmosphere (but the water tightness is guaranteed up to 5 atmosphere).

The styling of the Master collection resembles to a version of a Jaeger-leCoultre Futurematic in the early fifties: the arrow shaped hour markers on the dial, the shape of the lugs and their connection to the bezel seem to be directly copied from this watch.

Since 1992 several models have been added to the Master Collection, of which I would like to mention the Master Reveil, the Master Ultra Thin (both introduced in1994), the Master Lady (1995), the Master Memovox – a handwind version of the Master Reveil, but without date indication – and the Master Geographique(1996). In 1997 a limited edition (250 pieces) of the Master Geographique and Master Perpetual in platinum with a blue dial was launched.

The present Master Collection contains 11 models. Most of the models are available in steel, in pink gold and yellow gold with metal bracelet or strap.

Jaeger-leCoultre Master Grande Taille

Being my first Swiss watch, receiving the Jaeger-leCoultre MGT (with steel case/bracelet) was quite an experience to me: It was packed in a wonderful, white box and placed on a white cushion. Plastic foils surrounded the watch case to make sure the first buyer receives his watch in an immaculate condition. It came with a certificate stating it had past the 1000 hour test (however without a chart indicating how well the watch passed the accuracy-tests).

Case, bracelet and dial

The name (Grande Taille) suggests this watch is for a big wrist. Well with its diameter of 36.5 mm it fits my
wrist which is not big at all (circumference of about6 inches). The total height of the watch is 9.4 mm, less than a Rolex. For those who prefer a smaller model there is the Master Classic (diameter 33.1mm, height 8.2 mm), that also uses a Jaeger-leCoultre 889 caliber.

One immediately notices the amazing quality of the polishing of the case and the bracelet of this watch. The
sapphire glass is slightly curved (you have to look closely to see it). The back is attached to the case with four screws, is also polished and shows – as already stated – the gold Master seal. It is easily to scratch the back if you a have steel bracelet. You can avoid scratches by not removing the plastic foil on the back.

The steel bracelet is polished on the three visible sides. It shines
beautifully. Some people may dislike this and prefer a leather strap or prefer the more sportier IWC Mark XII. But I love
it. I am not that handy and I didn’t like to make scratches while adjusting the bracelet to the wrist. So my more experienced jeweler adjusted it for me. Can’t tell you how easy or difficult it is to adjust the bracelet. It hangs a bit loose on my wrist, what I like especially in the summer. The clasp a folding type, is not rugged, but alright for a every dress (as opposite to sports) watch.

The silvery dial with its light green (luminescent) hour dots, arrow shaped steel hour markers and blued seconds hand harmonize well in day light. The dial doesn’t say the hour points are tritium treated. Readability of the dial in the dark isn’t that good, hour hand and minute hand are hard to see or distinguish in the pitch dark. I don’t think this can be improved without sacrificing the now elegantly shaped and shining hands (maybe I should eat more carrots).


The movement used in the Jaeger-leCoultre is the caliber 889/2, which is also used in the IWC Mark XII (there it is known as the Caliber 884/2). Details of the movement can be found in the Appendix below.

The December 1997 issue of Uhrenmagazin offered a nice large picture of the movement in the Master Grande Taille. One
immediately notices the 21-Caratgold mass attached to the rotor, blued screws and the Geneva bars on the rotor and some bridges. The ground plate shows a pattern of overlapping circles (perlage). It is a very nice movement to look at: although it is not of Lange quality (what one might expect for a far less expensive watch), it looks much nicer than some of it competitors in the same price range.


In answer to my question, Jaeger-leCoultre stated one might expect an average accuracy of -1, +6 seconds a day. When I received the watch, it ran 4-5 seconds fast per a day, well within this limit. The gain in each position was very consistent (generally no deviation, max. deviation less than 1 second).

Recently the watch was regulated by Jaeger-leCoultre in Switzerland and it now runs within -1, +1 seconds a day. In certain positions the deviation can be larger. I hope my Jaeger-leCoultre will keep this accuracy during its hopefully long life.

The date jumps instantaneously between 1 and 2 minutes after mid-night, depending if you are lifting something heavy or not (a shock may then trigger
the date jump a few seconds sooner).


The service of Jaeger-leCoultre Switzerland and my dealer has been excellent. The information they gave was accurate and they responded well to my questions.

During the past year, Jaeger-leCoultre Switzerland regulated the watch and also removed a couple of very small green particles on the dial. The particles were hardly visible with the naked eye and probably fell off from the hour hand. I suspect (but I am not sure) they also replaced the hour hand. All this was
done under warranty.


I would characterize the Jaeger-leCoultre as an every day dress watch. It has an amazing polishing. If you like shining, classic watches, this is a very nice choice.

Despite its shining appearance, the steel version gets hardly noticed, compared to let’s say a Pasha de Cartier or a Rolex. From a distance some people might even mistake it for a polished Seiko. But closer examination reveals the great attention to the smallest detail (e.g. the slightly curved
sapphire crystal, nice blued seconds hand, light green dots marking the hours). And inside there is a great looking movement, that can run very accurate. In other words: It is a great
watch in disguise.


  • Description: Movement with central hours hand, minutes hand and
    seconds hand, jumping date indication
  • Height 3.25 mm
  • Diameter 26 mm
  • 28800 alternations per hour
  • 36 jewels, 202 parts
  • Glucydur balance (two spoke and without screws)
  • Flat spiral
  • Kif-shock absorber
  • Adjusted in six positions
  • Power reserve 40 hours
  • Bi-directional rotor with 21-carat gold mass