Jaeger-LeCoultre watches at timing competition.
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First and second for Jaeger-LeCoultre watches at timing competition. A Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Tourbillon Calibre 978 wristwatch has won the first timing competition in more than 35 years, gaining 909 points out of a perfect timing score of 1,000. It was closely followed in second place by a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillon with 908 points.
The result certifies the Master Tourbillon as the most precise mechanical wristwatch made The Chronometrie 2009 international timing competition for mechanical wristwatches was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the watch museum in Le Locle. This watchmaking town in Canton Neuchâtel, Switzerland, was known in the pre-quartz-watch era for its chronometers. It was the first timing competition since the Neuchâtel observatory held the last trial in 1972.
A total of 16 watches entered the competition and six were eliminated during the 45 days of timing trials held at Switzerland’s chronometer-testing institute, COSC, in Biel and at the Besançon observatory in neighbouring France.
The results of the competition, kept secret since it ended in October, were announced at a ceremony at the museum on December 3, 2009. The prize for the best performing watch submitted by an independent watchmaker was awarded to Mr René Addor, whose watch gained 795 points, coming seventh overall.
Unlike the previous competitions held at observatories from the late 19th century to 1972, Chronometrie 2009 included reliability tests in which the watches were subjected to the shocks and magnetic fields of daily wear. The timing trials, according to the ISO 3159 international chronometer norms, were divided into three 15-day sessions, starting in Besançon, then at COSC and once more at COSC after the shock and magnetism tests.
The watches were tested cased-up; the usual COSC chronometer certification tests only the basic movement. The revival of competitive timing also brings back the craft of the régleur, or precision timer who prepares watches for the contest. The art consists of juggling conflicting parameters to achieve the truest time and the most constant rate in different positions and temperatures.