Jaeger-LeCoultre presents the second capsule collection of rare and sought-after timepieces under its programme The Collectibles. Created for watch enthusiasts who wish to acquire a piece of history from La Grande Maison, The Collectibles was introduced to coincide with the 190 years of the Manufacture and forms part of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ongoing offer.
Covering the 50-year ‘golden age’ of 20th-century watchmaking (1920s-1970s), The Collectibles encapsulates the way that watchmaking evolved through five decades of momentous social and technological change, and the role played in that evolution by the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Under The Collectibles programme, a continually evolving selection of historically significant timepieces is released as a series of capsule collections presented in different cities around the world, and available for purchase.
To complement these meticulously curated collections, Jaeger-LeCoultre has published The Collectibles book – the definitive reference to 17 historically significant models that represent high-water marks not only for Jaeger-LeCoultre but also for the development of watchmaking in the 20th century.
Written by the experts within La Grande Maison and covering each model in encyclopaedic detail, supplemented by copies of historical documents from the Maison’s archives, the beautifully illustrated coffee-table book also offers fascinating insights into the cultural and social milieu in which the watches were developed. All watches offered under The Collectibles programme will be drawn from among the 17 models represented in the book.
The second capsule collection, comprising 11 watches, includes a 1920s Duoplan, an early Reverso and two great innovations from the beginning of the 1950s: Futurematic and Memovox.
The Futurematic was the world’s first fully automatic watch without a conventional crown and winding mechanism and was claimed to be the world’s most accurate wristwatch of its day. Thanks to the ground-breaking Calibre 497, the watch stops before it is fully unwound – effectively ‘going to sleep’ while retaining enough energy to restart with utmost accuracy, even after a long period of immobility.
With the time set by a disc on the case-back, the absence of a winding crown accentuates the purity and symmetry of the Futurematic’s design.
In 1957, seven years after creating the first Memovox, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engineers combined two major technical advances – an alarm function and automatic winding – for the first time to create Calibre 815. Among the five Memovox pieces offered in this second capsule collection are two Memovox Automatic Calendar pieces; equipped with Calibre 825, they have the added benefit of a date display at 3 o’clock.
Every Collectibles timepiece is presented with an extract from the Jaeger-LeCoultre archives and a complimentary copy of The Collectibles coffee-table book, as well as a new calf leather strap chosen to complement the style of each watch. In addition, when available, the original box and papers, and original strap or bracelet will be included.
Every piece 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 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 acquisitions team seeks watches that are as close as possible to their original condition.
The second capsule collection will be unveiled in Los Angeles for collectors and Jaeger-LeCoultre enthusiasts to view at the Maison’s boutique on Rodeo Drive from 16 June until 21 June. Along with the newly restored watches offered for sale, visitors to the boutique will discover a display of pieces from the Manufacture’s archives that represent each of the 17 chapters in The Collectibles book, shining the spotlight on the pioneering spirit that has always driven La Grande Maison.
They will also enjoy live demonstrations of the painstaking craft of polishing screws and the fascinating art of heat-blueing hands. These two crafts are among the dozens of skills employed in the Manufacture’s restoration workshop, breathing new life into decades-old pieces and enabling these timeless objects to be passed from one generation to the next.
The second capsule collection of The Collectibles programme will be available online through jaeger-lecoultre.com, as well as during the Los Angeles presentation.