Time is everything at an event like the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie. This week in Geneva, the spotlight was on the world’s most outstanding watch-makers. The Jaeger-LeCoultre stand was particularly busy with the launch of the “Master Grande Tradition”, a brand new creation that unites the first perpetual calendar tourbillon and the first minute repeater with a regulator display. Yet another feat of watch-making, the 176-year-old manufacturer again surprised connoisseurs and collectors worldwide. We had the pleasure of meeting Jaeger-LeCoultre’s CEO, Mr. Jérôme Lambert. A man of direct and simple manners, Mr. Lambert told Luxos about Jaeger-LeCoultre’s then and now in this exclusive interview.
How did you come into the company in the beginning?
It was 12 years ago when I first joined Jaeger- LeCoultre as a financial consultant. I was a young graduate at that time. During the interview, I was fascinated by the passion of the people in the company: their understanding of the luxury world, their passion for the identity of the company. It was a great opportunity to enter the watch-making industry. I come from a part of France where watch-making used to be an active business so I was already aware of the reputation of Jaeger-LeCoultre. It was very much a decision of reason and passion. After 12 years, I’m glad to say that it’s the same reason and passion that motivate me every day at Jaeger-LeCoultre.
How would you describe someone who wears Jaeger-LeCoultre?
This will have to be someone who knows what goes on behind watch-making. This could be someone who appreciates a watch by its manufacture movements, its design and various aspects, or this could be someone who is genuinely interested in the brand and its identity. When it comes to the product itself, technical performance and finesse are the things that count. We have been making watches for 176 years. History sets a grande maison like Jaeger-LeCoultre apart. Take the “Grand Reverso” as an example where you can adjust the time by stopping the seconds hand with the crown so you can precisely regulate time by the second. It’s this kind of precision that matters at the end of the day.
Do you feel that your customers’ taste ischanging?
No doubt there is an evolution in their tastes and aspirations. If not there will be no fashion at all! At Jaeger-LeCoultre, we always want to be a little different, a little surprising with our collections. But the reason why our customers love the brand has always been the same.
Is that why Jaeger-LeCoultre offers so many choices?
Yes, and it goes beyond that. With 60 kinds of craftsmanship, we have the skills to create something unique: miniature, enamel, etc. Craftsmanship has a great impact on the world of watch-making, and gives every watch a strong identity. A brand can be identified by things like its classicism and elegance. But the fact that we can do miniatures and enameling, Jaeger-LeCoultre stands out as a creative brand. Our mission is to be the most inventive manufacturer.
What are some of the watch models you would recommend?
For casual or sporty models, I’d recommend the Navy SEALs models. To go with a sophisticated business suit, the Grande Tradition Tourbillon is a great choice. As to a black-tie event, I’d say a watch in black, white gold, or with a titanium dial is suitable. For someone who loves complications, the Master Grande Tradition à Répétition Minutes will be perfect. I love the Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT Navy SEALs not just for its look, but also for its content. During this week at SIHH ‘09, this watch gives me strength to energize and inspire the team so we’re ready for action.
Where do you see the future of Jaeger- LeCoultre?
We will continue developing complications and coming up with inventive solutions. We just presented the AMVOX2 DBS Transponder in collaboration with Aston Martin. This watch locks and unlocks the DBS car. This was a very technical and sophisticated solution which has never been done before. This watch can have the car find you! This is the ulltimate product to go with your DBS.
What are the biggest markets for Jaeger- LeCoultre today?
U.S, France, Italy, Germany, China, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. But if we consider Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan together, that will be our largest market.
What is the most important thing that you would like our Luxos readers to know about Jaeger-LeCoultre?
That we are fully committed to the highest requirement of quality, to our excellence in craftsmanship as a manufacturer, and to our mission in the world of luxury.
For a list of Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques, click here.