Jaeger-LeCoultre is delighted to announce the launch of The Collectibles, a new programme for collectors and enthusiasts who wish to acquire a piece of history from La Grande Maison. Introduced to coincide with 190 years of the Manufacture, it will form part of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ongoing offer.
The Collectibles presents a meticulously curated collection of rare and sought-after timepieces that represent high-water marks for both Jaeger-LeCoultre and 20th-century watchmaking.
“With Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most emblematic timepieces being increasingly sought-after by collectors, we are delighted to introduce The Collectibles,” says Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre. “Together with a new master reference book for our Maison’s most emblematic models of the 20th century, this new programme presents a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of the Manufacture’s history.”
Over time, a continually evolving selection of timepieces will be available to purchase through The Collectibles on jaeger-lecoultre.com and in the form of capsule collections that will travel around the world.
Among the first to be offered are fine examples of a Geophysic, a Memovox Parking, a Master Mariner Deep Sea and a Shark Deep Sea. Every Collectibles timepiece is presented with an extract from the Jaeger-LeCoultre archives, a new watch strap and a complimentary copy of The Collectibles coffee-table book. In addition, when available, the original box and papers, and original strap or bracelet will be included.
Every piece offered through The Collectibles is thoroughly vetted by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s historical experts and fully serviced and restored by the specialised watchmakers of the Manufacture’s restoration workshop.
Currently numbering 10 experts, the restoration team can go through the Manufacture’s archives and find the blueprint of every piece ever made, and in some cases also find a stock of original spare components. If there is no component to hand, there is a stock of some 6,000 swages or stamps that they can use to make an identical component from scratch. Because the Manufacture is fully integrated, the entire process can be carried out in-house. While the mechanical restoration may, in some cases, be significant, the intervention on the case and dial must be kept to a minimum, since too much work would alter the historical nature of the piece for collectors; therefore, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Heritage team seeks watches that are as close as possible to their original condition.
“Being able to restore these remarkable timepieces and offer them once again is a nice tribute to our current environment, in which sustainability and second lives have come to the fore,” says Catherine Rénier. “It is fantastic to see 50- or 80-year-old pieces given a new life. For me, that symbolises the beauty of our world – of timeless and durable objects to be passed from one generation to the next.”
The Collectibles coffee-table book covers the period from 1925 to 1974, surveying 17 of the most significant models produced by the Manufacture during this ‘golden age’ of 20th-century watchmaking. Shining the spotlight on the pioneering spirit that has always driven La Grande Maison, the roll-call of ground-breaking innovations includes timepieces such as the Reverso, Memovox, Futurematic and Geophysic. A full chapter is devoted to each of the 17 models, providing an encyclopaedic history and including essential data for collectors supplemented by detailed and informative photography, and copies of historic documents from the Manufacture’s archives.
While Jaeger-LeCoultre collectors and enthusiasts have always been able to glean information from a variety of different resources online and in print, this is the first time such detailed information on these key 20th-century models has been brought together in a single volume, written by the experts within La Grande Maison.
Besides providing indispensable data for collectors, The Collectibles book offers history aficionados a broader understanding of the evolution of the modern mechanical watch over the course of half a century. With background stories that place the watches in the historical and cultural context in which they were born, the book brings a fresh perspective to the way that watchmaking responded to the momentous social changes that occurred during the 20th century and the role played in that evolution by the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre. With the increasing freedom of women in the 1920s, wrist-worn watches, along with radically new styles of dress, liberated them from the stiffness and constraints of old society; in the 1930s, the Reverso – with its distinctive style, coloured dials and unisex appeal – epitomised the lifestyle of the newly fashionable ‘sporting gentleman’; as the 1950s brought an emphasis on technology and the emergence of the international businessman, Jaeger-LeCoultre responded with automatic movements and numerous useful functions – as seen in the Futurematic, Memovox and Geophysic. More than a collection of watches, The Collectibles provides a snapshot of a remarkable period in world history.