Why does it matter that JLC has released two extra models to its Cal 101 range? Simple really, it shows that technological brilliance for its own sake, still holds sway at the Swiss horologist, and long may it continue we say.
Originally conceived and developed for jewellery watches and introduced in 1929 by La Grande Maison, Calibre 101 revolutionised feminine watchmaking – its minuscule size and baguette shape offering new realms of aesthetic freedom to designers.
At 14mm long, less than 5mm wide and weighing barely one gram, the tiny, hand-wound calibre remains the smallest mechanical movement in the world to this day.
Yes we are talking watches that blend into high end jewellery, like sparkling chameleons and some might say it’s just bling for the sake of it, and others may point out that is difficult to tell the actual time. Fair point, but there is something – dare we say it – Japanese about this devotion to making something so small and precise, for its own sake.
The watch is housed inside a torque style, twisted bangle and a more conventional clip-on cuff type bangle, packed with diamonds in both cases. This is millionaire stuff of course, with 904 diamonds, 20m carat weight in total. Price? Come on, why bother asking – most of us will never afford it.
It’s jewellery first and a watch second, but a tech tour-de-force for all that.