Thursday, October 22

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife – hands on review

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Jaeger-LeCoultre and MR PORTER have launched the Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife watch, a limited edition of 100 timepieces, specially adapted for The King’s Man, the upcoming Kingsman origins film directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife

Jaeger-LeCoultre draws upon its historic mastery of ultra thin calibres to develop a new timepiece directly inspired by the 1907 ‘Couteau’ (couteau is French for knife) pocket watch.

The King’s Man, scheduled to be released in September 2020 is now delayed till later this year. The movie’s wardrobe department had specified watches for the agents in each of the movies. This was first done with Bremont in The Secret Service. In the followup sequel the Golden Circle, the TAG Heuer Connected watch took the honours. And now JLC with the third installment – The King’s Man.

The Case and Dial

Fit in a 18K rose gold case, this ‘Knife’ edition features a relocated crown nestled between the top lugs and has a discreet cutout in the alligator strap to make room for it. 40mm in size, the rose gold case measures just 4.25mm thick. 

Aesthetically, the watch alludes to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s traditional pocket watches, with a broad bezel that slopes gently from the sapphire crystal to the edge of the case. The fine profile is reminiscent of a knife blade and the winding crown, protected by its triangular bow, is placed at 12 o’clock. 

A railway track guides the periphery of the dial, marking the minutes, while stick hour markers are printed creating a pseudo sector dial look. The dial layout is clean, clear, legible with the use of blued steel leaf hands. 

The Movement

The ultra thin case houses Jaeger-LeCoultre’s celebrated hand-wound calibre 849. At just 1.85 millimetres thick, the movement underlines La Grande Maison’s century-old mastery of this demanding form of Haute Horlogerie: ultra thin movements require a perfect ratio between thinness and solidity, to ensure that components retain sufficient strength to ensure reliable timekeeping.

The JLC caliber 849 (released in the early 1990s, and is a derivative of the original JLC 839 which was introduced in 1975) is a mainstay in the ultra thin world, with the beautiful movement appearing in many of JLC’s MUT watches, as well as ultra thin watches of other brands. The 849 is famed among the ultra thins for its robust design perfected over time.

Concluding thoughts

The watch is a well-designed and executed ultra-thin watch. It’s biggest sellpoint is its unique case design, and for fans of the movie, a movie memorabilia. But like a double edged sword, the case design, may not be palatable to everyone. The triangle crown, and uncommon ergonomics may take some time getting used to. Perhaps another hurdle is the use of the caliber 849 which was also available in entry level stainless steel master control ultra thin models. It is a discontinued collection, but the knowledge that the same movement can be acquired in another Jaeger-leCoultre ultra thin watch at a fraction of the cost may be concerning for some. That said, the novelty of the ‘Knife’ and the limited edition of 100 pieces may help justify collectibility. The watch is priced at S$44,200. 

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2 Comments

  1. Great article. One thing I want to point out is your comment in regards to the caliber 849 movement. Specifically in regards to people possibly thinking that this movement is not appropriate for this watch as it can be found in cheaper discontinued SS JLC watches. Rolex does this with all of their watches. I can get the same movement in a datejust as a solid gold submariner for a quarter of the price. People don’t seem to comment about that.