Insider: Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos 568 by Marc Newson. Hands-on with the Latest Iteration of the Atmos with a Baccarat Crystal Cabinet.

Since 2008, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Australian designer Marc Newson have worked together on new and unique interpretations of the iconic JLC Atmos clock. This year, Marc Newson applied his imagination to give the Atmos a Baccarat crystal cabinet in the shape of a rounded cube. The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos 568 Marc Newson features a clear monobloc crystal case that magnifies the view of this exceptional clock from any angle. With its energy drawn from barely perceptible variations in temperature as we explained its functioning here, and driven by a mechanism that would have fascinated great thinkers and creators like Leonardo da Vinci centuries ago. The Atmos 568 Marc Newson capitalizes on the sheer transparency to accentuate its essence and iconic status.

In the words of designer Marc Newson, he explains his affinity with this clock by saying: “I was thrilled to have been asked to design an Atmos because it is a timepiece that I have loved since I first saw one when I was in my early teens. An Atmos for me is a complex and magical object, it seemingly runs on perpetual motion or the closest thing to it and it needs a constant environment to function in. It is as if it is a living thing —you have the feeling that it can sense your presence —which I find strangely comforting.”

The Dial

At first glance, what draws the eye in Marc Newson’s Atmos 568 is its timekeeping mechanism, which appears to be floating, while actually is being held in place by the rear part of the movement. Its dial is very simple with blue transferred Arabic numerals that always face outwards and are underscored by a minute circle and the marker to indicate 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 the moon is indicated with a white moon and a blue sky on a smoothly finished disc with concentric striations.

The Glass Cabinet

Only an expert company in crystal manufacturing like Baccarat, had the necessary technical expertise and lengthy research to create a rounded cube out of one single piece of crystal. In order to reduce the crystal thickness to a minimum —a mere 13 mm in certain areas— consequently reducing the weight of the clock, Baccarat had to apply all its expertise for this task. This Baccarat crystal cabinet allows light from all around, creating an outstanding spectacle of light refraction that is treat for the eyes. Perfectly even and smooth, this crystal
has a remarkably beautiful finish with fine contours and a much thicker base than the rest of the cube. This thicker base makes the clock very stable and can hold the mobile glass wall that gives access to the movement without any issues.

The Movement

On the 211-part movement’s back side, the mechanism is visibly held in place at four points, rather than with the traditional three on most Atmos clocks. 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 artisans at the manufacture in Le Sentier and had some of its components redesigned by Marc Newson.

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. To further enhance light refraction, the membrane is adorned with the same play of contrasting finishes set off by a matte finish on the exterior. As the clock appears magnified inside its crystal cabinet, the extreme transparency of the Jaeger-LeCoutlre Atmos 568 by Marc Newson, allows for uncompromised view of every component in the movement including the tangle of gear trains.

Invented in 1928, it 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.

A piece of art in its own with transparency to the max, we can compare the new Atmos 568 by Marc Newson to the exceptional Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. More about the Atmos clocks here.

Sticker Price $28,000 USD. For more info on Jaeger-LeCoultre click here.