A monument to the house of Jaeger-LeCoultre  1 Comments


For much of its history Jaeger-LeCoultre was a little ebauche manufacture, supplying the best and brightest of the Swiss watch industry. Its movements are found in watches by nearly all the big brands - Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, just to name a few.

Since the acquisition of JLC by Richemont at the turn of the millennium, JLC has slowly but surely climbed its way up the ossified hierachy of the watch industry.

To call the JLC ambitious would be a understatement. JLC has done it all, from the bargain priced Master tourbillon all the way to the mind boggling Gyrotourbillon which rotates on three axes.
Some industry observers see JLC's strategy as misguided, drawing a parallel with the automotive industry. Volkswagen, champion of the people's car, created the super-luxury Phaeton saloon and Touareg upmarket SUV under the guidance of its steely chairman, Ferdinand Piech. While the Touareg is selling decently, the Phaeton is a flop, selling so few in America that it was withdrawn from sale in that market. It is still too soon to tell if JLC's plan of attacking every single segment of the watch market will succeed, but one surely cannot fault JLC for trying.

The jewel in the crown came last year, the 75th anniversary of JLC most's famous watch, the Reverso; in 2005 Jaeger-LeCoultre premiered the Reverso Grande Complication à triptyque, one of the most complicated wristwatches ever made. Amongst other things, it contains a perpetual calendar on the third face of the watch (pictured right), along with sunset and sunrise indicators, a celestial star chart, a zodiac indicator as well as a unique, patented tourbillon escapement. And of course it tells the time.

A drawback of the mind boggling complications is the gargantuan size of the watch. But the point of grande complications, especially in today's hyper competitive watch industry run by vastly ambitious men (most are men), is not to tell the time or the position of Sagittarius. Such watches are monuments to the watch companies and the people behind them. Grande complications of this size and scale are to mark the company's perceived arrival in the top tier.

After IWC was ressurrected by Gunter Blumlein and his team, the firm premiered the Il Destriero Scafusia, a wristwatch with 21 functions. In the early nineties, after J. C. Biver had created the Blancpain mystique out of thin air, the Le Brassus firm unveiled the 1735, composed of over 740 parts. Each of these watches signified the return of brands which had been pummelled, nearly to extinction, by the quartz revolution.

Similarly, the Reverso Grande Complication à triptyque is JLC planting its flag firmly on the territory of traditional high horology houses - its former clients.

(For more in the metal photos of the watch, see Jerome Berder's pictures on ThePuristS Jaeger-LeCoultre forum here.)

(Stock photos courtesy of JLC)



Welcome to
Watching Horology


  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
  • ©HarrySKTan2005

Horolography - noun, the art of photographing timepieces

Horolographer - Harry SK Tan

  • ___________________

Please leave a comment by clicking on the grey numbers next to the subject headings.

To contact me write to: "ht @ watchinghorology.com"  (leave out the spaces!)



Email Updates!
IF you like to receive my posts, news, notifications etc. on WatchingHorology direct by email - simply REGISTER HERE

- or get a blog feed here:

 Subscribe for Feed

ATOM 0.3

WatchingHorology.com on Facebook


Search WatchingHorology.com



Related Links

My Column at Luxury-Insider
My General Photography Blog



in other languages
















Brand Websites