Jaeger-LeCoultre The Manufacture Makes Some Noise. Or Rather, Some Sounds.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s “Atelier d’Antoine” workshops offer a unique opportunity to explore the Haute Horlogerie universe.
The Atelier d’Antoine (named after company founder Antoine LeCoultre), a room in the heart of the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture in Le Sentier (Canton of Vaud, Switzerland), hosts workshops and factory visits for collectors, aficionados and the general public, led by experts in watch design. “The course is run by two teachers, one of whom is a sound specialist within the manufacture,” notes Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Catherine Rénier.
Discovery workshop © Jaeger-LeCoultre
The workshops, limited to a maximum of eight participants to encourage interactions, provide an opportunity to discover and understand how a movement – the beating heart of a mechanical watch – works. “It’s a very immersive workshop. You listen to a watch and tune it, in order to understand all the mechanisms involved, and the complexity.” During the three-hour workshop, participants alternate between theory and practice, while learning about the past, the present and future of watchmaking at Jaeger-LeCoultre, and in the Vallée de Joux.
Factory visits are focused on various themes corresponding to the expertise and heritage of the Maison: the history of Jaeger-LeCoultre and watchmaking milestones, innovations and inventions, artistic creativity and expertise.
Discovery workshop © Jaeger-LeCoultre
Masterclasses, in-store workshops and on-line programmes will also be offered in the future.
Three weeks ago, Suzanne Wong and I had the opportunity to test this new programme at the manufacture. The first series of workshops and visits are on the theme The Sound Maker, which pays tribute to the heritage of striking watches at Jaeger-LeCoultre and in the Vallée de Joux. You learn why watches tick faster or more slowly, and how a watch tells the time through sound. Did you know that Jaeger-LeCoultre has created over 100 calibres for striking watches (minute repeaters, alarms, petite and grande sonnerie) since 1880?
Discovery workshop © WorldTempus/Jordy Bellido
My impression was that the workshop provided a very complete experience: theory, practice, audio, video, quiz and visit, plus a presentation of the brand’s latest timepieces. The time allotted to each element was carefully considered – there was no time to twiddle your thumbs. The ambiance was lively, and the accessibility of the workshops (they are aimed at novices) encouraged a playful approach. Working on large-scale reproductions of watch components makes the experience all the more instructive, because it’s easier to identify each element. As far as the factory tour is concerned, every time I do one I’m lost in admiration at the work of the watchmakers. Visits like this really bring home the complexity and intricacy of their craft. I’m honestly in awe because, although I’m generally a patient person, I could never summon the patience needed to be a watchmaker.
Larger-scale minute repeater © Jaeger-LeCoultre
It was one of the most intense and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. That could have been because of the theme of the workshop, or perhaps because of the people who so generously shared their experience. Maybe it was a bit of both. But one thing is certain, if you are fascinated by the beauty and magic of striking watches, this Atelier d’Antoine will bring you the kind of unique experience and understanding that only Jaeger-LeCoultre could provide.
Striking watches: 2020 vintage
During the visit we had the opportunity to discover in person the Manufacture’s newest products, including the Master Control Memovox (and the Timer version) and the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication. These two timepieces are both part of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s audible universe: they are striking “sonnerie” watches. But don’t mix up the two: the former is an alarm watch, while the latter is a minute repeater. What’s the difference? An alarm is set to sound at a specific time (the Memovox was originally designed to provide the wearer with reminders throughout the day), while a minute repeater strikes the current time when a pusher is pressed (in this case, it sounds the hours, quarter-hours and minutes). The Timer version of the Master Control Memovox has an additional function – a countdown timer.
Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication and Master Control Memovox Timer © WorldTempus/Jordy Bellido
Cherry on top was the preview of the Polaris Mariner Memovox, the company's latest diving watch equipped with an alarm. This last surprise was the dessert of a day with a deliciously full menu.
Polaris Mariner Memovox © WorldTempus/Jordy Bellido
If you’d like to know more about Jaeger-LeCoultre and its striking watches, you can reserve your Atelier d’Antoine at a JLC retailer or online from December.
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...Find out more >
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