One of last year’s novelties was the Jaeger-LeCoultre: Master Control 2020, an updated version of an old classic!
Often overlooked due to its minimalistic features, yet the base for the entire Jaeger-LeCoultre Master line!
This new version is in my mind “a step back” in a good way!
Jaeger-LeCoultre: Master Control 2020 reference 830.8.A6.S:
This new version is again 40 mm in diameter, silver white sunburst dial, Dauphine hands, numbers and applied index in matching metal, yet I find it more open than the previous version.
But let’s start from the beginning –
The Master Control 1000 Hours – introduced in 1992 as the new standard of quality control was the birth of the Master Control Date reference 140.8.89.
Looking at my reference 140.8.89 from 2000, the new version is similar but not the same.
Up front, the elements looks the same, the rather thin bezel, the Dauphine hands, the applied numbers and indexes. Even the heated blue seconds hand!
As the original Master Control is three millimeters smaller in diameter (37 mm), than the Master Control 2020 (40 mm), the original have a more “compressed” look. Also the smaller JL logo makes the 2020 version look to have a more open dial.
One detail that Jaeger-LeCoultre kept unchanged is the “AUTOMATIQUE” text on the dial, a heritage from being located in the French speaking part of Switzerland.
A legacy which many other brands been voiding by using English text on their dials, Jaeger-LeCoultre embraced their heritage, often using French names for their models, like the Master Reveil.
To my understanding, the Master Control remained pretty much unchanged between 1992-2005.
In 2006 the reference 139.8.20 was introduced: sign of it’s time, more “butch” with a broader bezel and lugs. Instead of the classic Dauphin hands, Alpha hands were used. No “AUTOMATIQUE” text which to me gives the watch a rather big and unbalanced look…
In 2012 the reference 154.8.20 was launched and as far as I know, it was previous version before the Mater Control 2020.
Here the size has been reduced to 39 mm in diameter which mainly came off the bezel and lugs. Compare with the 139.8.20, the lugs are less square, more “shaped”.
The JL logo and name are larger and placed more to the center, which to me brings back the balance to the watch! Also the classic Dauphine hands are back which I prefer over the Alpha…
To me, a much more elegant version of the Master Control, even the new crown profile is less square.
Remember that I use to say that I see the Geomatic as the start point for the Master Control?
I know that Jaeger-LeCoultre refer to the 1950’s automatic watches as start, but to me the early bumper automatics were not as refined and elegant as the Geomatic or the Master Control!
Except for the difference of full rotor automatic movement of the Geomatic, here are T.W.O arguments:
The obvious argument would be the gold medallion on the back of the Geomatic which was reintroduced with the Master Control 1000 Hours back in 1992:
Second is the antimagnetic feature! Most collectors think of the Geophysic as soon as antimagnetic is mentioned, but the Geomatic was also feature as antimagnetic.
The gold medallion you saw above, but antimagnetic – what has that to do with the Master Control?
Less known fact is that the first version, reference 140.8.89 which has a closed case back, also featured a inner soft iron case to withstand up to 5000 A/m (compared to the 600 Gauss of the Geophysic).
If I remember well, with the 2006 reference 139.8.20, the open case back was introduced on the Master Control and still today, the is the case: reference 830.8.A6.S
I can appreciate the very nice finish and the pink gold rotor, but have to confess that I miss the gold medallion here…
On the wrist the Master Control 2020 is very elegant! Less “business look” as the alligator has been replaced with a calf-skin leather strap, still the option to dress it up with an alligator strap is available.
To me this is the best version of the Master Control since the original from 1992! But to be honest, my preference for the version I have is purely emotional as it was one of my first modern Jaeger-LeCoultre and has been with me for over T.W.O decades…
After more than a year of social distance it was a great pleasure to again visit my local Jaeger-LeCoultre AD – Nymans Ur 1851! Big thank you for always great service and for letting me handle this beauty!
To read more about the Master Control 2020, I recommend you to visit the Jaeger-LeCoultre home page.
Stay tuned for more Master versions –