Mechanical watches from Chopard, IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre
Luxos explores the movements that have become a collectable trend.by Mike Lou
The mechanical watch has become a major trend in recent years. Many watch companies pride themselves in offering diverse choices of mechanical watches. This, in turn, has raised the image and quality of a watch brand. Let’s find out more.
What motivates a collector to make a serious investment on a watch is the brand’s very own manufacture movement. This is exactly the heart and soul of a watch. A collectible watch is not only beautiful in design, it should also offer a well-designed and well-made movement.
In recent years, we have seen the expansion of watch brands’ manufacture capability which means hiring more watch makers, increasing its own parts production. This way, brands are able to produce and own manufacture movement in the prestigious world of watch-making.
However, reaching higher standards is a long and difficult road. Millions of Swiss francs and thousands of hours of research by engineers are just the starting point of creating a brand new movement. Indeed, producing a movement is different from, say, making a crocodile handbag. Function, structure and stability of the movement are all taken into account during production. The process requires vigilant observation and numerous testings. On the other hand, collectors who possess a deep understanding of the watch brand also spend a long time studying and understanding a new movement. A truly collectible item – excellent both inside and out - is thus born.
L.U.C. Tourbillon Heritage by Chopard features a palladium case, using Caliber L.U.C. 4TTP3N and manufacture 18K yellow gold movement. The automatic winding is equipped with four barrels, offering 216 hours of power reserve. The balance of the escapement is trademarked by Variner. All L.U.C. movements are manufactured at Chopard’s factory in Fleurier. Established in 1906, this factory has 145 employees and has produced five unique movements. Every year it produces 3000 units of L.U.C. movements.
IWC’s factory in Schaffhausen has over 137 years of history. Its expansion in 2005 has added 3000 sqm of space and increased production capability. The main factory building is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, making sure production remains environment-friendly. One of the best examples is how the factory uses sewage to produce renewable energy. Carbon dioxide emission is drastically reduced by 192 tons each year. Every single component that makes up an IWC movement – down to the smallest screw – is made by the factory itself.
Grand Complication wristwatch (ref. IW 3770) Calibre 79091 movement combines automatic winding, 44-hour power reserve, perpetual calendar, four-digit year display, chronograph, moon phase display, tourbillon and minute repeating. Launched in 1993, this super model celebrates IWC’s 125th anniversary with a movement consisting of over 659 pieces. The perpetual calendar in particular has 500 years. This is no doubt one of IWC’s greatest accomplishments, limited to 50 pieces each year. It comes in white gold, yellow gold and pink gold.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon à Quantième Perpétuel has over 401 pieces in its movement. The unique Calibre 987 is constructed layer by layer. The upper layer features hour, minute display and perpetual calendar, and the bottom layer contains the tourbillon. The structure features the brand’s own manufactured titanium frame so the featherlight tourbillon weighs only 0.28g. The movement reflects Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 175 years of expertise, entering into watchmaking’s hall of fame.
The brand was founded by Antoine LeCoultre inVallée de Joux in 1833. Throughout its illustrious history, Jaeger-LeCoultre has produced over 100 movements and come up with over 300 patented inventions. Indeed it is not just a brand, but a leader in haute horlogerie with a great legacy.
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