Meeting the personalities behind a global brand provides greater understanding and wonderful insights, and this was exactly the case when we met with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s CEO, Mr. Jérôme Lambert, at this year’s SIHH. He not only told us about the best watches to have this year, but also let us in on his favourite places in Hong Kong.
What are the bestsellers for Jaeger-LeCoultre in Hong Kong/China?
Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon à Quantième Perpétuel, Master Calendar and Reverso Duetto – these three are the pillars of the brand. Except Reverso Duetto which has two faces, they are all complicated watches equipped with our in-house manufactured movements.
What would you say is the watch to have this year?
When you have 1,250 references to choose from, why just pick one? The Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute 1931 is the watch that I wear with pride. For the ladies, the rose gold reference is gorgeous. And if you are a collector, look out for our Deep Sea collection, which has just been relaunched now.
Some luxury brands have felt the pressure to diversify. Is this Jaeger-LeCoultre's reality too?
We went exactly the opposite. These challenging times have forced us to maintain our reputation and push our innovations even further. We are like the Japanese samurai, sharpening and perfecting our swords. Instead of exploring unknown territories, we concentrate on our strength.
For an established brand like Jaeger-LeCoultre, what is the biggest challenge?
This year, it will be production. A watch is hours and hours of work developed by skilled people. It takes time to train the right people and develop our savoir-faire. We do not want to sacrifice our quality, the relationships we have and the trust that people have in Jaeger-LeCoultre.
What can you tell us about Chinese consumers?
These past few years, as we entered China’s tier one, two, three cities, we realised that customers are so smart and have evolved so quickly that they cannot easily be “categorised.” You see, to get out of an economic crisis, people need to go out and be optimistic. Nowadays, it's the Chinese travellers who are creating this positive atmosphere.
What are some of your favourite places in Hong Kong?
For the past eight years, I've been staying at Grand Hyatt Hotel Hong Kong. I like my room with a view of the Victoria Harbour. I also love the hotel’s fitness centre, where I know a time when there’s no one and I can enjoy running by myself. During a weekend stay in Hong Kong, I went to Aqua with my wife. The view was just amazing. And in Aberdeen, I had a very nice breakfast at a dumpling eatery, after jogging and cooling down at the beach. I was so happy to discover a different side of Hong Kong. It felt like Southeastern France in July or August!