“How did you get began in watch gathering?”
Amongst collectors, it’s a frequent subject of debate: the tales of first watch purchases, evolving tastes, and enduring devotion reveal an excellent deal about how particular person collectors take into consideration our shared interest.
Whereas my mates’ paths into severe gathering have been pretty numerous, throughout the group there are some patterns. Many of us I do know began both with Rolex or – as in my case – with Jaeger-LeCoultre, which opened my eyes to the world of wonderful watchmaking and served as the muse for my ongoing fascination with horology.
Getting hooked on Jaeger-LeCoultre: Paris, 1991
Whereas my watch-buying profession began as early as 1971 with a bit purchased on a scholar journey to Europe (see A Watch Collection Begins: GaryG And His Bucherer Chronometer), and I’d been sporting a Cartier Tank every day since 1980, my serial watch acquisitions began on a sunny day in Paris when my spouse excitedly pulled me into the family-owned Bry et Cie watch store on Rue de la Paix to point out me a bit she’d fallen in love with: a Reverso Woman in yellow gold (see Love, Loss, And Watches: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Tribute).
Whereas I used to be nonetheless gasping on the worth of the gold Reverso, the salesperson pulled one other watch from the show: a metal males’s Reverso with a silver face on that attribute JLC-honey ostrich strap. It was definitely interesting, however lightning didn’t strike till he flipped the case over to disclose a second black watch face displaying one other time zone.
Nicely, they’d me at Duoface. We left the shop with each watches, and regardless of the sweating I did till I paid off the invoice I by no means regretted that buy. I did finally promote my first-generation Reverso Duoface in favor of the bigger Reverso Grande GMT proven above, however a dual-time Reverso has been a staple of my assortment ever since.
Jonesing: Jaeger-LeCoultre Géographique and Atmos
As soon as I owned a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch, I started to learn the model’s literature and deepen my appreciation each for JLC’s heritage because the business’s motion creator and its ongoing capability for creating intriguing problems.
One piece that turned an obsession for me upon its introduction was the unique Géographique: a world-time watch with an revolutionary clutch mechanism whose second crown concurrently flipped the arms on a small subdial indicating the native time, a linked 24-hour indicator, and a fringe ring indicating the town location.
I can’t inform you what number of duty-free store home windows I peered by way of to see this watch over the subsequent yr or so, however lastly a sale occasion providing a then-staggering ten-percent low cost satisfied me to make the leap at an airport watch store in Brussels.
Then, as now, the appeals of Jaeger-LeCoultre included fascinating horological mechanisms, in-house improvement and manufacturing, engaging aesthetics, a prolonged and distinguished patrimony, and not less than to some extent monetary accessibility.
I do know that Jaeger-LeCoultre doesn’t like being characterised as a “worth” model, however to me there may be completely nothing unsuitable with delivering nice worth for the hard-earned paid by the customer. And for me on the time the worth equation delivered by Jaeger-LeCoultre was not possible to beat.
Over time, I additionally got here to understand the nice names in as we speak’s watch world who spent formative time at Jaeger-LeCoultre, together with luminaries like Philippe Dufour and Eric Coudray, the developer of the Gyrotourbillon and Reverso Repetition Minutes actions.
Shortly after including the Géographique to my assortment, I moved from watches to clocks with the acquisition of a Tiffany-labeled Atmos, one other nice instance of each innovation and patrimony. Whereas my Atmos is presently in want of a service to interchange the bellows mechanism at its coronary heart, I’m very a lot trying ahead to having it again swinging away on my workplace desk.
Getting deeper into Jaeger-LeCoultre
Over the succeeding years, I scratched my itch for all issues Jaeger-LeCoultre in quite a lot of methods, and whereas the Reverso was on the middle of a lot of the motion I couldn’t avoid its round-cased Grasp watches, both.
Shortly after our marriage ceremony, my present spouse gave me a stunning Master Ultra Thin that we picked out collectively. To me, this watch and the opposite ultra-thin variants which have succeeded it are true marvels.
Intelligent touches like the usage of frosting on one-half of the flat markers and arms to provide an impression of depth whereas minimizing thickness, a super-thin motion with suspended barrel that doesn’t sacrifice robustness that’s licensed by way of a 1000-hour useful check, and high-quality ending all contribute to a coherent and spectacular complete.
Mrs. GaryG did okay throughout this era as effectively, with the addition of the Reverso Gran Sport Duoface and a small classic LeCoultre piece which can be amongst these proven within the picture under.
A few the watches from this era are now not in my assortment. The beautiful Reverso Artwork Deco in pink gold departed a number of years later in favor of a skeletonized Vacheron Constantin as I did a little bit of consolidation of my set of open-worked watches. And I’m nonetheless kicking myself for promoting the uniquely Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox in pink gold with its beautiful blued central sweep seconds hand, chunky and satisfying strong gold case and deployant buckle, raucous alarm bell, and gracefully yellowing tritium markers.
Pleasure loves firm
One Jaeger-LeCoultre watch that I had admired for over a decade, however had been unable to afford as a brand new watch, was the Reverso Repetition Minutes with its astounding rectangular motion and formed gongs.
I’d been preserving an eye fixed out for a pre-owned instance, and as luck would have it not solely discovered (and acquired) a bit on provide however within the course of met my good pal Allen, who subsequently launched me to the opposite members of what’s now our “NorCal Gang” of collectors – which in flip led to a whole world of contacts with manufacturers and unbiased watchmakers, visits to SIHH and Baselworld, and the wealth of watch-related mates I’ve as we speak.
Repeat after me: it’s all in regards to the folks!
Nonetheless hooked on Jaeger-LeCoultre in any case these years
Whereas my assortment has broadened and deepened over latest years, together with a hefty emphasis on independents and vital purchases from main manufacturers together with A. Lange & Söhne and Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre continues its maintain on me.
The previous few years have seen the addition of the Tribute to Reverso 1931 U.S. restricted manufacturing 2012 (whew!), the Reverso Grande GMT pictured above, and a classic piece I’d lengthy coveted: the Futurematic with its uncommon bumper self-winding mechanism.
I’m notably eager on my private Futurematic because it’s a “Jumbo” 37 mm piece that’s modern in dimension. The watch itself is in splendid situation belying its 60+ years of age.
I’ve developed a rising appreciation for traditional Jaeger-LeCoultre classic items; amongst others, I bid on (however didn’t win) a flawless unique Geophysic that drew a document sale worth for a classic Jaeger-LeCoultre at Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR in November 2016.
And amongst latest new introductions, I’ve my eye on the beautiful blue-dialed boutique-edition Memovox; perhaps it’s time that I make up, not less than partially, for promoting that pink gold piece!
I’m not alone
From the keenness – and purchases by collectors – that greeted Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 2017 SIHH introductions, together with not solely the refreshed sector-dial variations of a number of classics however blue-dialed variants on different items that made my mouth water, it’s nice to see that JLC just isn’t solely staying related however persevering with to entice a broad swath of the gathering group.
I’m pretty positive that I’ll be again! And I’d love to listen to about your Jaeger-LeCoultre watches and gathering pursuits within the feedback part under.
For extra info, please go to www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.
* This text was first printed on September 1, 2017 at Jaeger-LeCoultre: A Collector’s ‘Gateway Drug’ And Ongoing Pleasure