It was a cold, damp and blustery day on arrival in the U.K. for the Jaeger-LeCoultre/Aston Martin event in early November. However, a heart-warming welcome in the Great Hall of a 500 year-old manor complete with four-poster beds and its own ghost, an excellent dinner and the promise the following day of something revolutionary as far as horology was concerned, ensured the English weather was swept into the background.
The sun appeared the next day when Jérôme Lambert, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s energetic CEO, introduced the brand’s second AMVOX timepiece in the Aston Martin factory’s conference room to an expectant, attentive group.
“Our aim with this model is to create a performance watch that is as intuitive to use as driving an Aston Martin,” Lambert began. “The AMVOX 2 Chronograph Concept is the ultimate driver’s watch. Inspired by the start button on the Aston Martin DB9 dashboard, it is a quantum leap in the world of chronographs,” he said with a controlled sense of intrigue.
“It has taken two years to develop and comprises 427 parts, 130 of which are the case, with a further 25 parts making up the complex dial. It is a patented world premiere … and is the first chronograph without pushbuttons. It functions by pressing the upper and lower part of the sapphire crystal which has a 4° movement and, via a complex system of levers, transmits impulses to trigger the chronograph.
“The movement is a Calibre 751 mechanical movement assembled from 272 individual parts with vertical coupling, a 72-hour power reserve, 28,800 v.p.h (vibrations per hour) and has undergone 1,000 hours of testing plus 400 hours of tests on the chronograph,” Jérôme Lambert concluded.
The presentation was accompanied by a slide show, but although the illustrations were excellent everyone wanted to actually get their hands on a model … to see if this innovative, no make that revolutionary, chronograph actually functions.
Well … it does!
This has to be the ultimate in chronographs, a sports watch that doesn’t require a degree in technology to use or read. It can be immediately and instinctively activated and disengaged, with a simple pressure on the sapphire crystal – without taking one’s eyes of the road, the FI race or the pan of hot water in which an egg is being boiled. As Jérôme Lambert explained, “… it is as easy as pressing the engine start button on an Aston Martin.”
The Vertical-Trigger Chronograph
So how does it function? Magali Metrailler and Francis Cretin, respectively Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Designer and Design Engineer, gave a detailed explanation of the modus operandi and what makes the AMVOX2 tick.
This seemingly simple chronographic system requires the support of high-tech engineering and a completely innovative mechanical concept. A unique ball-joint system permits the case and bezel to pivot 4° away from the shoulders of the watch, thus activating levers that instantly transmit impulses to control the chronograph mechanism. Each of the 4 levers (two at the 12 o‘clock position and two at six o’clock) is mounted on a miniature stainless steel ball bearing which in turn contains seven balls of 0.1 mm diameter. To ensure that the chronograph is not triggered, disengaged or reset inadvertently by the wearer, the AMVOX2 has a three-position sliding indicator or cursor on the flank of the case at 9 o’clock that locks the chronograph.
Reliability, sturdiness, longevity and precision, all the standard strengths of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s mechanisms, are to be found in the AMVOX2 Chronograph Concept. Powered by the new Calibre 751 movement with a 72-hour power reserve, it has a complex column-wheel and vertical coupling system that guarantees the accuracy of the chronograph. The adjustment of the balance wheel’s inertia using four screws on its felloe ensures that the setting remains stable in all situations and conditions. To avoid the necessity of lubricating the rotor’s ball bearing, the ball contains ceramic balls, which ingeniously add to the watch’s long-term reliability.
The steel and titanium case is covered in an elegant black coating of titanium oxide sealed with silicium oxide and the luminescent black appliqué numerals around the dial underline the design team’s passion for Aston Martin cars.
Magali Metrailler and Francis Cretin, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Designer and Design Engineer.
The Aston Martin ‘connection’
The chronograph’s timing data is to be found in two very legible quarter-moon indicators on luminescent dials (a 30-minute counter between 2 and 4 o’clock and a 12-hour counter between 8 and 10 o’clock) that “… recall the awesome headlights of an Aston Martin car”. The date aperture is at 5 o’clock.
A dark-hued highlight runs around the dial with a break between 4 and 8 o’clock so that the wearer can appreciate the extraordinary red lever mechanism that controls the chronographic functions. (The red tint is the same as the optional red available for the Aston Martin’s brake calipers)
The 25-part dial is filled with all sorts of Aston Martin references: ‘the emblematic dark grey of the sports car brand; the circular satin finish similar to the surface effect of the brake disks; the five markers on the highlight band inspired by the DB9’s dashboard instruments; the refined contrasts of shiny and matte surfaces reminiscent of the co-existence of polished chromes and sand-moulded engine parts.’ Finally, there is the distinctive 270° sweep of the dial that recalls the historic Jaeger automobile counters of yesteryear.
The AMVOX2 Chronograph Concept will be available on the market in May 2006 in a Limited Edition of 750 pieces and comes in a presentation case specially designed and produced by hand chez Aston Martin. Priced competitively at around 12,000 euros, a snip compared to the asking price for the custom-made DB9, this truly unique timepiece will without doubt be a much sort after chronograph by Jaeger-LeCoultre enthusiasts, watch aficionados and collectors … not to mention Aston Martin owners.
A defining timekeeper in the history of horology, the AMVOX2 Chronograph Concept is, to repeat Jérôme Lambert’s phrase, “a quantum leap in the world of chronographs.”
Self-winding mechanical movement, Calibre Jaeger-LeCoultre 751, crafted, assembled and decorated by hand
28,800 vibrations per hour
72-hour power reserve
5.6 mm high
Oscillating weight segment in metal
Hours, minutes, date
Chronograph: hour and minute dials, centre seconds
Black. Surrounding highlight and centre with transparency effects and tinted or open areas. Metallic appliquÃ© hour markers. Highlighted with a metallic ring that indicates the motion-work. Central arc with circular satin-finish, black luminescent appliquÃ© figures. White luminescent chronograph dials.
Local hour and minutes:
trapeziums in rhodium-plated brass,
luminescent skeleton hands
Others: lacquered white brass
Vertical triggering system:
A vertical triggering system for the functions
of the chronograph
A selection device to block one or the other
of the chronographâ€™s functions
Ã¸ 44 mm in titanium and steel
Engraved Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin
logos on caseback
Sapphire crystal, hardness no. 9
Water-resistant to 50 metres
Strap and buckle:
Technical fabric embossed on waterproof calfskin
20 mm steel folding buckle.
Source: December - January 2006 Issue
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