Of all the new timepieces which will be unveiled at SIHH 2014, I predict that none will match the momentousness of this one, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon.
At first glance it seems innocent enough - an elegant case and a marginally plain dial with a modernistic twist thanks to the cutaway slots at the dial edge and their accompanying hour and minutes dots and dashes - but, it is to the the dial opening of the tourbillon that the eye is naturally drawn, for 'tis a mesmerising panorama .... then you look for the bridge and the upper tourbillon cage, and realise that in fact there are none.
In a stroke of horological trickery, Jaeger-LeCoultre have placed the hairspring in the topmost position with the inner end pinned to the tourbillon arbor and the outer attached to the balance arm, inverting the "normal" order and thus offering a no holds barred look-see. The no cage restriction means that a larger balance can be used which should impact positively on accuracy, and adds and eye-pleasing feature too. To make this new arrangement viable a strengthened mainspring design was necessary, but how delicate such an unusual layout will be is a question for another day, we can for now applaud Jaeger-LeCoultre for sticking their necks out and being unable to resist the urge to fiddle with and reinvent such micro mechanics just for the sake of it.
Let's not forget that despite its slender case of just 7.9mm thick that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanical 11, as it will also be known has a Minute Repeater Complication, one which has been re-designed in every aspect including the doing away with the inter-chime pause if there are no quarters and, in order to preserve the profile of the white gold case (chosen for its acoustic resonance), the long case-side slider which you would normally expect has been replaced by a diminutive slider for on-demand chiming at 8 o'clock and a push button at 10 o'clock for activation.
And there's more. Those dial-side slots offer a look-see through to the peripheral rotor, which in a final flourish of smoothness in keeping with the entire character of this fine watch, winds unidirectionally, with ceramic ball bearings to aid its industrious flow.
Supremely techinical, with a little added horological trickery, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon Hybris Mechanical 11 will be limited to 75 pieces.