Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos 568 by Marc Newson
This year, the Australian designer Marc Newson applied his imagination to the Atmos. His work for Jaeger-LeCoultre has given rise to an an exceptional object of startling purity that draws breath under a Baccarat crystal globe.
It is all lightness, transparency, and simplicity. At first glance, what draws the eye in Marc Newson’s Atmos 568 is its timekeeping mechanism, which appears to float freely in the air, while actually being held in place by the rear part of the movement.
Its very simple dial is optimised for easy legibility. Although light passes right through the clear glass face, it is simple to read thanks to blue transferred Arabic numerals that always face outwards and are underscored by a minute circle. To avoid adding further elements, the marker indicating the month has been designed to form part of the transparent dial. The counterweights are painstakingly designed to melt from sight, while perfectly balancing the hands picked out in a harmonious echo of Marc Newson’s chosen blue. Uniquely for an Atmos, the entire cycle of moon phases is shown – with a white moon and a blue sky – on a very smoothly finished disc embellished with concentric striations.
On the movement’s reverse, the mechanism is visibly held in place at four points, rather than the three on traditional Atmos clocks, to create symmetry. The membrane bridge, redesigned in a cross-shape and with a brushed finish, showcases the membrane’s bellows to great effect. It bears the clock’s name in the chosen shade of blue, along with the designer’s discreet signature in his trademark orange.
Closer inspection reveals a continuous play of light on the movement, which was devised by Manufacture artisans and had some of its components redesigned by Marc Newson. It is worked in a very contemporary-looking matte satin-brushed finish, with a number of shiny areas that are thrown into brilliant relief by the light streaming through the crystal. A brand new design for the balance wheel features grooves with matte tooth surfaces and shiny hollows, so that as it rotates back and forth, it creates a beautiful pattern of remarkable subtlety reflecting the sun’s rays. A true show of craftsmanship! Another mobile part of the movement, the membrane, is adorned with the same play of contrasting finishes, shiny depths set off by a matte exterior.
As soon as you manage to tear your eyes away from the movement, you are struck by the sophisticated elegance and sheer immateriality of the cabinet that houses it. Newson chose crystal – loved by the designer for its aesthetic qualities and unique finish – as the material for this globe that resembles a rounded cube. Only a glassworks operating at the cutting edge of crystal manufacturing, like Baccarat, had the necessary technical expertise, and lengthy research was needed to reduce the crystal thickness to a minimum – a mere 13 mm in some places. Although not easy to smooth and even, this crystal has a remarkably beautiful finish. The fine contours of the globe, along with its thicker base, have been perfectly crafted by Baccarat artisans to give a fluid and harmonious effect, like a cushion of light.
Invented in 1928, the Atmos runs independently of any human intervention, thanks to a gaseous mixture in a hermetically sealed capsule, which expands when the temperature rises and contracts when it falls. The capsule is connected to the clock’s drive spring, and as it swells like the bellows of an accordion, it constantly winds the clock movement. A temperature fluctuation of a single degree is enough to provide the clock with an operating autonomy of about two days. The gear trains are so perfectly designed that they require no oil, which would interfere with the optimum running of the clock.
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Ever since the brand was established in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been enchanting lovers of beautiful objects. Its craftsmen and craftswomen, the guardians of the inventive spirit of company founder Antoine LeCoultre, pool their expertise to create collections that are as surprising as they are sophisticated: Reverso, Master, Rendez-Vous, Duomètre, Geophysic® and Atmos. This great brand continues to be inspired by its rich heritage and...Find out more >
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