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Jaeger-LeCoultre - Catherine Rénier

Jaeger-LeCoultre Catherine Rénier

CEO, Jaeger-LeCoultre.

2020 is a tough year for all watch brands. Nonetheless, Jaeger-LeCoultre continued to launch new products regularly throughout the year. How have you coped?
Like everyone else, we were surprised by the scale of the situation. We had to manage quickly. The maison really showed its strength by being very responsive and I think this was made possible by our core values and our specific identity. We are regrouping and joining forces – driven by a desire to keep moving ahead – in handling the preventive measures required within the Manufacture. It was this same determination that led us to say that we were not going to slow down the launch of our new products. We need creativity and positive thinking in this context, so we naturally took a fresh look at how we should do that. We have adapted, but we haven’t changed.

What was the approach to maintain the company’s strategy for the year?
We are intentional about innovating, serving as the standard-bearer of watchmaking expertise both past and future, protecting these skills, as well as highlighting the value of work and of collective endeavors embedded in our Manufacture – through both our maison and our products. We continue to pursue the overarching theme of producing exceptional timepieces such as the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication launched this year; yet we also want to celebrate our icons like Reverso, Memovox or 101, which are very strong signature models for the Maison. We have found new ways of communicating, as we are doing today.

Catherine Rénier

Catherine Rénier © Johann Sauty

How and why has Jaeger-LeCoultre continued to promote strong iconic models – from the Reverso to extremely complicated models and 101 watches?
We are really about something that is very much rooted in our identity and which therefore naturally inspires the creative teams and resonates with our customers, since the story behind each model is a very powerful one. When we talk about the 101 movement, we know that in the 1930s Jaeger-LeCoultre listened to the watchmaking needs of the time, which were ultimately very feminine needs. The maison created this mechanical caliber which is still the smallest in the world, weighing less than a gram, smaller than the tip of a pen and yet comprising 90 parts. This was something that at the time made it possible to fit a watch on a jewelry bracelet and wear something extremely discreet. The maison has always been attentive to needs, to life, to the industry and to customers’ requirements.

The Reverso, in particular, is a watch that was originally a sports model but has since evolved and is worn by both men and women. Why do you think the Reverso has become a unisex icon?
The Reverso was created in response to the challenge of designing a wristwatch that could withstand the rigors of polo matches. Jaeger-LeCoultre has always listened attentively to both men and women, yet without adopting an opportunistic standpoint. The Reverso was created with this swivel function and an extremely sophisticated blend of form and style: it is quintessentially architectural. It’s about perfect lines, beautifully balanced volume and hence perfect proportions. It is extremely rare to see a watch that suits both men and women equally well. It is a beautiful object.

How will Jaeger-LeCoultre evolve towards the end of year and on to 2021?
This year, we will continue to celebrate “The Sound Maker” by unveiling a new work commissioned from the Swiss artist Zimoun. This work of sound art will tour the world, with its debut in Chengdu, China, in November (then in Paris in March 2021). 2021 will be a year dedicated to the Reverso. We will begin by launching a book Reverso at the end of this year, to be published by Assouline. And that’s not all, so stay tuned for 2021!

 

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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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