Friday, June 19, 2015

Jaeger-LeCoultre's Jumping Seconds Hand

Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire.
Photo courtesy Jaeger-LeCoultre.
I spied a Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire, with its amazing jumping seconds hand, at a watch fair in Tokyo. This was the first time I'd seen a jumping seconds hand in action. And what an action it is!

I'm sure that the jumping seconds hand, also called a foudroyante, which shows 1/6 second increments, is something I can't possibly need on a watch, but it was something that I couldn't possibly take my eyes off of.

The engineering that went into into this Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire would make BMW jealous. It has 27 complications, including showing the moon's phases as they change during the month. The watch uses 1,300 parts. Somehow Jaeger-LeCoultre managed to cram a 50 hour power reserve into this magnificent time piece.

But the complication that stands out the most is the jumping seconds hand, which when compared to this watch's other hands --heck, compared to every watch hand I've ever seen-- moves like it's in hyperdrive. The jumping second hand makes a complete revolution once a second. Measuring 1/6 of a second...that's a time interval that's so brief that there are few things that we can grab ahold of in our heads for comparison. It takes 1/4 to 1/3 of a second to blink. At 35 miles per hour, a car goes 8.5 feet in 1/6 of a second. A fit person will have 1/6 of a heart beat in 1/6 of a second.

The jumping seconds hand synchronizes the Duomètre's two independent power supplies, one for the general time functions, and another for moving the complications, including the jumping seconds hand.

You have to see the foudroyante in motion:

When you wear this watch you can withstand the most brutally boring of meetings, the longest imaginable line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or being on hold forever with customer service, because when you look at your watch you will be drawn into its magic to the exclusion of everything else in the world around you, like you're watching a unicorn play in a forest. There is nothing that bothers you when your Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire is just a wrist away.

The Duomètre comes in several variations. Expect to pay about $30,000 and up for this 40.5 mm watch.

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