Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph
There are a lot of great bargains out there on the pre-owned market, and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph is one of them. Steeped in heritage, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the few old masters, making movements that can and do rival those of heavy-hitters such as Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. Better than that, all three of those brands have at some point in their existences come to Jaeger-LeCoultre for its know-how. Kudos, then, is plentiful with the brand.
Like the drummer in a rock group, Jaeger-LeCoultre is the dependable, lesser-known player in among the top tier of watchmaking. It isn’t the flashy frontman: it’s quiet, steady and reliable. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s focus on its craft has left it relatively unknown in the eyes of the greater public, and this presents an opportunity to pick up a really good deal. Because the brand doesn’t have quite the following of the likes of Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet, pre-owned prices work very much in favour of the buyer. With strong, well-proven internals, a watch like this Master Compressor Chronograph makes for a fantastic step into the upper echelons of watchmaking.
The Master Compressor Chronograph heralds from the introduction of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s compressor technology in 2002. Simpler and quicker to use than screw-down crowns and pushers, the compressor design allows just a small rotation of a locking collar to seal a watch from water. On a watch with a chronograph, the ability to unlock the pushers with ease is a welcome benefit.
Watch Spec | Jaeger-LeCoultre
Master Compressor Chronograph
Case: Stainless steel Dimensions: 41.5mm dia, 13.3mm thick Crystal: Synthetic sapphire Water Resistance: 100m Movement: Calibre 751F, automatic Frequency: 28,800 vph Power Reserve: 65 hours Strap: Leather Functions: Time, date, chronograph
Looking at a year-old example, there’s already a 35% discount from new, a substantial saving and an undeniable bargain. Add another four years and a pre-owned piece will save a buyer a colossal £3,000, and that’s money worth saving because, let’s not forget, this is still a high-end watch. As with a bargain-priced supercar, luxury products still attract luxury ownership costs, and an enthusiast looking to purchase a pre-owned Jaeger-LeCoultre for less than a new Rolex will do well to take heed of the potential outlay.
Take this Master Compressor Chronograph: after a year, the leather strap is likely to need replacing, at a minimum expense of £350. If you decide you want a steel bracelet, that’ll be over a thousand pounds. Reach the end of year two and the watch will need to return to Jaeger-LeCoultre for a service, because the service intervals on this are two years rather than the more usual three-to-five years. A service starts at £550 if all’s well; if parts need replacing, costs soon spiral. A good independent can help reduce labour expenses, but the price of genuine parts will still be in keeping with the quality of the watch.
Launched: 2002 Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years Service intervals: 2 years Servicing cost: starting at £550 Replacement strap: starting at £350 for leather, £1,500 for steel
So, after five years, the watch could well net an extra £1,800 in costs, bringing the price back up to the original RRP. Of course, a new watch will still need the same care, but it’s a large cost that many bargain-hunting watch buyers often overlook. Picking a watch that’s covered by a comprehensive warranty and has recently been serviced is the ideal way to protect against unexpected big bills—a watch bought in a private sale could easily cost an extra £1,000 to bring up to standard.
Generally speaking, Jaeger-LeCoultre watches are hardy and reliable, and are some of the best out there. They present a rare opportunity to wear real world-class watchmaking for surprisingly little outlay, but it’s good to go into the purchase with open eyes. If you do, you’ll be rewarded by years of excellent performance from one of the greatest watchmakers to have ever existed.
You Could Also Consider
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As luxury sports chronographs go, the eye-catching Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the very best
If it’s sporty yet elegant you want, IWC’s Portuguese Yacht Club is a safe bet. Carbon fibre dial is a must
Not only do Jaeger-LeCoultre watches make a fantastic proposition from a watchmaking point of view, they also reward when buying pre-owned. The degree of anonymity Jaeger-LeCoultre watches have compared to, say, Patek Philippe, has kept the brand relatively unknown to all except a select handful who appreciate its quality and heritage. This smaller market share is reflected in pre-owned prices: a year-old Master Compressor Chronograph offers a near-£2,000 saving, a whopping 35% off the RRP.