The 11 Best Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches To Buy In 2024
— Updated on 28 December 2023

The 11 Best Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches To Buy In 2024

— Updated on 28 December 2023
Randy Lai
WORDS BY
Randy Lai

Often billed as “the watchmaker’s watchmaker”, Jaeger-LeCoultre (affectionately also known as “JLC”) has done so much more for the culture of horology than craft the world’s first purpose-built sports watch.

Between the ingenuity of its Atmos perpetual clock and various forays into grand complications, JLC is a brand that has real chops on the technical front, evident from the moment you step into its factory. This, in large part, explains why its watches enjoy an evergreen appeal among sophisticates — those individuals who aren’t necessarily interested in flaunting their horological credentials from 100 paces away.

To properly illustrate the mechanical breadth and nuance in design that is endemic across the entire Jaeger-LeCoultre range, we’re pleased to bring you our latest Buyer’s Guide — dedicated to none other than the best JLC watches.

Note this list is not ranked.



The Best JLC Watches To Add To Your Collection In 2024

1. Reverso Tribute Duoface Calendar

JLC watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 49.4mm x 29.9mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.9mm
  • Case Material: 18k pink gold
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Calfskin leather
  • Dial Colour: Silvered grey/dark grey
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Calibre 853
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours

When the Reverso first arrived on the polo fields of the British Raj, few could predict that it would eventually become such a recurrent showcase for complicated watchmaking at Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Equipped with JLC’s in-house calibre 853, this particular Reverso Tribute Duoface combines two dials: one with a complete calendar indication; and the other in a beguiling sunray grey, unadorned save for a daytime/nighttime disc.

On the wrist, the Tribute-inspired proportions coalesce into a timepiece that’s very much in keeping with the original Reverso’s Art-Deco aesthetic. Comes bundled with both grey and light brown leather straps.


2. Polaris Perpetual Calendar

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.97mm
  • Case Material: 18k pink gold
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Rubber
  • Dial Colour: Blue
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: Calibre 868
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours

One of the most discussed JLC watches at last year’s edition of Watches & Wonders, this perpetual calendar is handily the most complex specimen in the Polaris collection.

By definition, the Polaris design is one that resonates most strongly in an active/sportive environment. That makes JLC’s choice to integrate these pillars with a 351-part calendar complication all the more impressive.

A large and powerful presence on the wrist at around 42mm, this Polaris variation uses its sizable amount of real estate to display all the traditional perpetual calendar indications. That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. In spite of impressive wearability, JLC’s engineers have also managed to integrate a full-size winding rotor; in addition to a moonphase that is operable in both hemispheres.

The watch’s myriad of complicated displays come together atop a handsome blue dial. For this, JLC opted to use a lacquered treatment; lending a gradient effect that lightens toward the dial’s centre.


3. Reverso Tribute Duoface Chronograph

JLC watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 49.4mm x 29.9mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.14mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Calfskin leather
  • Dial Colour: Blue/opaline black
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Calibre 860
  • Power Reserve: 52 hours

Not content to rely on the iconic, perfectly gadrooned design language of the Reverso Tribute, JLC’s watchmakers set to work releasing an ambitious chronograph version earlier this year.

Outfitted with the new Calibre 860, this Reverso’s two faces handily encapsulate the duality at play within the brand at large. (Namely: hyper-complex watchmaking meets understated design.)

On its literal face, this Reverso Chronograph looks a lot like the ‘1931’ limited editions of yesteryear — save for two discretely integrated pushers, mirroring the case’s geometry.

The other proverbial shoe drops once wearers turn the front-facing dial over: revealing a partially skeletonised chronograph movement, complete with 30-minute and 60-minute totalisers. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a technical collector, the challenges of reimagining the column-wheel chronograph for the Reverso’s unique geometry cannot be overstated.


4. Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 45.5mm x 27.4mm
  • Case Thickness: 9.15mm
  • Case Material: 18k pink gold
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Silvered grey/gold guilloché 
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Calibre 847
  • Power Reserve: 38 hours

Easily the priciest inclusion in our shortlist of the best JLC watches (notice how there isn’t even a suggested retail price?) this tourbillon-sporting variation of the classic Reverso Tribute is what to wear if you desire visible horological firepower.

The front-facing ‘Recto’ dial keeps with convention: superimposing the tourbillon cage against a bright, sunburst-brushed backdrop of grey.

In our view though, the primary dial plays second fiddle to the caseback side. The latter offers not just another perspective on the tourbillon, but also a second individually tailorable time zone, technically making this watch a marvel of multiple complications. Swish stuff indeed.


5. ‘The Collectibles’ Triple Calendar

JLC watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 36mm
  • Case Thickness: 9mm
  • Case Material: 18k yellow gold
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Calfskin leather
  • Dial Colour: Eggshell
  • Water Resistance: N/A
  • Movement: Calibre 494
  • Power Reserve: 40 hours

Historically, all of the ‘Holy Trinity’ brands have produced a triple calendar wristwatch; yet none have done as much to serialize the complication as JLC.

As part of its recently unveiled Collectibles program, the brand has acquired, authenticated, and restored a number of important watches from throughout its history. This Calibre 494-powered model (from the era predating JLC’s usage of reference numbers) certainly ranks among those.

A relic of a bygone golden era in which — as our colleague Garry is so fond of saying — mechanical objects were “just built different”, this complete calendar features applied hour markers, a hand-painted moonphase and the traditional two-aperture format used to indicate day and month.

In spite of the small-sounding 36mm diameter, the watch remains soundly wearable on a range of wrists: a quality that is enhanced by the large, teardrop-shaped lugs. For when only classics will do.


6. Master Control Memovox

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.39mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Calfskin leather
  • Dial Colour: Grey
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Movement: Calibre 956
  • Power Reserve: 44 hours

Those still dubious of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s groundbreaking credentials need only consult the Memovox: a line of mechanical alarm watches that the brand launched (not long after Vulcain) in 1950.

Today, the essence of the Memovox’s DNA endures within the Master Control line-up. The collection’s contemporary take retains the essential parts of its ancestor — albeit now with an exhibition-style caseback through which wearers can enjoy the alarm mechanism in real-time.

Note the applied triangular index: as users wind the crown at 2 o’clock, the dial’s inner disc will rotate; with the precise hour your alarm is set for indicated by said triangle.


7. Polaris Automatic

JLC watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 41mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.2mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Black
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: Calibre 898
  • Power Reserve: 40 hours

Try as we might, no Buyer’s Guide for watch lovers in Australia would be complete without the addition of a serious steel sports watch on an integrated bracelet. Enter the Polaris.

A lean, mean, sunburst-black machine (also available in green, and several other colours), the Polaris’ now-distinctive twin crown design enables wearers to treat this exactly as they would a Seamaster or Submariner (with the added advantage of having no exposed external bezel). Instead, the 60-minute diving scale is housed internally in the watch’s rehaut; and rotated using the crown at 2 o’clock.

Predictably, JLC gives one the option to purchase the Polaris on a calfskin strap; but really, it’s one of those watches that’s best worn on a steel bracelet in order to be fully appreciated. The 40-hour power reserve falls just short of what we’d deem ideal, but when you’ve got a case-and-bracelet combo that looks this good, we doubt you’ll be able to keep it off your wrist for two straight days.


8. Master Control Chronograph Calendar

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.05mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Grey
  • Water Resistance: 65 hours
  • Movement: Calibre 759
  • Power Reserve: 65 hours

At this point, I cannot count the number of times that I have (very unironically) used the phrase “surprisingly good value” in reference to a $30,000 mechanical wristwatch. Well folks: here we are again.

Dubbed by one prolific watch journalist as a product that looks “as if it has been part of the JLC lineup for a long time”, the Master Control Chronograph Calendar is, at its core, an incredibly well-sorted execution of the typical steel sports chrono — with just enough of a luxury flourish to justify its 5-figure price tag.

To be sure: the calendar complication is modular, and the movement finishing isn’t 1-to-1 with what you’ll find coming out of JLC’s own Atelier des Métiers Rares. Be all that as it may, one has to give kudos to the brand for a watch that is so masterfully executed and mechanically distinctive.

As far as we’re aware, you won’t find a calendar chronograph anywhere else in the JLC line-up. Also available in red gold.


9. Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds

JLC watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 45.6mm x 27.4mm
  • Case Thickness: 8.5mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Calfskin leather
  • Dial Colour: Green
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Calibre 822
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours

There are certainly pricier and/or more complicated JLC watches to canvas throughout this list, but when push comes to shove, there’s a strong argument to be made that this is the watch that encapsulates JLC at its finest in the 21st century.

Characterised by the same mathematically divine sensibility as the original Reverso, the current crop of ‘Small Seconds’ models gives you everything you need in an exemplary dress watch. No more, no less.

In green, the dauphine hands and sword-sharp indices are a sight to behold; and, uniquely for Aussies, evoke the nation’s tapestry of rainforests, eucalypts, and ancient pastures.

Plus, at 8.5mm in thickness, it flies appropriately under the radar; sliding neatly under the cuff of your favourite Merino crewneck or suit in Loro Piana cotton. To make a truly personal statement, consider having the ‘Verso’ side engraved.


10. Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar

JLC watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 39mm
  • Case Thickness: 9.2mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Grey
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Movement: Calibre 868
  • Power Reserve: 38 hours

The Master Ultra Thin collection is one of those product verticals that really flies under the radar, even by the standards of card-carrying watch enthusiasts. But when something is this good (and underrated to boot) we’re obliged to sound off on it for the BH readership, which brings us to the matter of a certain perpetual calendar.

Previously, you might have had vague half-memories of this QP being Marvel hero Doctor Strange’s preferred timepiece of choice; and given its technical credentials, that is unsurprising.

At 39mm x 9.2mm, the Master Ultrathin perpetual is an elegant daily companion. Despite svelte proportions, it’s also equipped with a full-size rotor and year aperture: giving you more or less all the calendar info that could possibly be useful in an everyday setting.


11. Master Ultra Thin Moon

JLC watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 36mm
  • Case Thickness: 9.4mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Alligator leather
  • Dial Colour: Grey
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Movement: Calibre 925
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours

Softly marketed as a women’s novelty, we happen to think that this Master Ultra Thin (with moonphase) is an excellent couples’ watch: understated and eminently wearable, thanks to its 36mm case size.

Additionally, the watch houses the latest generation of JLC’s self-winding time-and-date movement. Designated calibre 925, it’s in possession of what is practically a 72-hour power reserve.

The neutral grey dial rounds out this piece’s versatility; making it a certifiable “strap monster” with any alligator, calfskin, or fabric straps you choose to style it with in future.


Now that you’re acquainted with all of the best JLC watches of the year, why not take a look at a few of our other horological stories below?


The Best Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches — Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular JLC model?

Without a doubt, the most popular and iconic JLC model is the Reverso, which has been expressed in dozens of different designs over the decades.

Is Jaeger-LeCoultre worth buying?

Jaeger-LeCoultre is definitely worth buying and is understood among watch collectors to be one of the most well-made brands in the world today.

What type of person wears a Jaeger-LeCoultre?

Because many of the watches Jaeger-LeCoultre makes are more traditional dress watches, the kind of person who wears a Jaeger-LeCoultre every day might wear a suit and generally dress more formally.

Randy Lai
WORDS by
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].

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