The house of Jaeger-LeCoultre has brought out once again a beautiful high jewelry time piece with a new version of its 101 Snowdrop in white gold adorned with 916 diamonds for a total of 11 carats. The gem-setting work alone represents 130 hours of work by the jewelry artisans of the house. The watch is the incredible showcase for the house’s calibre 101, the smallest mechanical movement in the world which with its minuscule size and baguette shape, revolutionized ladies watchmaking. Less than 5mm wide and weighing barely one gram, the tiny hand-wound calibre is a remarkable feat of miniaturization that was first developed by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1929, a half a century before the advent of computerized design and production technology. It is also one of the world’s oldest movements that continues to be in production. Over the years the calibre 101 has been the star of jewelry watches not only by Jaeger-LeCoultre but other leading houses as well.
The Snowdrop is inspired by the white bell-shaped flowers that are able to grow through a thin layer of snow in the delightful Vallée de Joux, where the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture is located. A circle of pear-shaped diamonds surrounds the silvered opaline dial to form a flower, and waves of diamonds repeat the petal pattern in perfect symmetry, all the way around the bracelet. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers chose a griffe setting for the diamonds, which minimizes the metal’s presence and allows light to pass through the stones from all angles. This intensifies the sparkle of the watch, creating an impression that the diamonds could almost be floating on the surface of the bracelet. There are 204 pear-shaped diamonds on the timepiece with the remainder of the 916 diamonds being brilliant cut. These rare timepieces have been worn by exceptional women including Queen Elizabeth II who wore one — a gift from the then French president Albert LeBrun when she was a princess— on her Coronation Day. The Jaeger-LeCoultre watch appeared as a simple slender diamond bracelet in yellow gold on her wrist.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette