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Editorial - Back in The Mountains

Editorial Back in The Mountains

A new way to do old things.

Something significant happened last week. WorldTempus visited a watch manufacture (keep an eye out for the full story, coming out soon). Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? We are a horological news website; we probably visit watch manufactures all the time. In any other year, that goes without saying. This year, as you can all imagine, has been a little different.

Our first organised manufacture visit of significant scale in post-lockdown 2020 was to Le Sentier, to see Jaeger-LeCoultre, a company I have always had a deep and abiding affection for. (My first serious watch was a Reverso.) I’ve been to the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture several times over the years, but this felt special — of course there were all the precautions and sanitary practices that have become our new normal, but I want to highlight something in particular that, for me, marked a clear distinction from the visits of before.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has always believed in sharing knowledge; in educating the community. Its Master Classes have always been a rare experience, allowing non-watchmakers to try assembling a basic movement, and in the process understand the fundamental principles of a mechanical watch.

Last week, we were privileged to be among the first to undertake Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new visitor programme, aimed at immersing watch lovers and brand aficionados into the universe of the brand’s striking watches — both sonneries and alarm watches. The level of technical information imparted and the number of hands-on activities that replicated the process of building a chiming watch are, in my opinion, unprecedented. Watch brands always seem to shy away from being too technical in their presentations, worried that the information overload might intimidate people.

Back in The Mountains

Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication © WorldTempus/Jordy Bellido

I say, trust your audience. They can handle it. And you have to trust them, especially at this time.

When your audience is far from you, when you are unable to see your clients and connect with them on that personal, face-to-face level, you start to fall back on the relationship they’ve built with your creations. This may sound obvious, but a knowledgeable customer is a loyal customer. Someone who buys a watch solely out of the prestige that it confers is never going to have the same kind of relationship with a brand when compared with someone who is familiar with the company’s history, its ups and downs over the years, the stories behind its various collections and milestone timepieces.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has always been ahead of many others in this area; their clients and fans form adoring communities and Facebook groups where they swap information and discuss their latest acquisitions both modern and vintage. In 2015, Jaeger-LeCoultre was one of the rare few established brands that had a dead-seconds display in their collection. For decades, mechanical watchmaking had shunned the dead-seconds display, considered a highly prestigious marker of chronometric excellence in past centuries but unfortunately associated with quartz movements ever since the 1970s. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic True Second wasn’t afraid of this association. It trusted its audience to recognise its quality and horological legitimacy.

Back in The Mountains

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic True Second © Jaeger-LeCoultre

That trust is continued in the new visitors’ programme at Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre. And we can’t wait to share it with you.

 

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The brand

Ever since the brand was established in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been enchanting lovers of beautiful objects. Its craftsmen and craftswomen, the guardians of the inventive spirit of company founder Antoine LeCoultre, pool their expertise to create collections that are as surprising as they are sophisticated: Reverso, Master, Rendez-Vous, Duomètre, Geophysic® and Atmos. This great brand continues to be inspired by its rich heritage and...

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