Jaeger-LeCoultre Interview with Catherine Rénier
WorldTempus talked with Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO about her first steps with the brand and their masterpiece presented at the 2019 SIHH.
Last May, Catherine Renier took the post of CEO at Jaeger-LeCoultre after a long stint at Van Cleef & Arpels. During the recent SIHH, where Jaeger-LeCoultre wowed the world with its fifth and smallest Gyrotourbillon that was years in the making, Renier shared her thoughts on the newest watches and on what sets Jaeger-LeCoultre apart.
How have your first months with Jaeger-LeCoultre progressed?
It has been a fantastic journey and a lot of discovery about the Maison. We have a strong heritage, and a strong spirit and values. I felt right at home from the start, and I was warmly welcomed in that beautiful and impressive Manufacture. When I walk through the corridors I really feel the human touch of the artisans and watchmakers, and of their willingness for the Maison to move forward, to shine and to break through with some fantastic pieces.
Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel © Jaeger-LeCoultre
What are your thoughts on the new Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetuel that makes its debut this year?
I am very proud of this watch. I came at the right time, just in time for its unveiling. The watch was six years in the making because even though we had four Gyrotourbillons before this one, for this one we had to work to reduce its size by 15 percent, and also to improve on each of the three complications in the watch. It has 1,050 components with constant force, constant delivery of energy, and it is the first time we have combined all three complications together. The repeater is a Westminster chime, playing with four gongs a very complex melody. The perpetual calendar on this watch can now also be set forward or backward, which is also a technical breakthrough, a milestone. In design, the case allows for full view of the openness of the movement with the smaller sized Gyrotourbillon, and the hand finishing is beautiful. It takes six months to assemble just one watch, it is a masterpiece.
Do you have any plans to change distribution?
Our plan has always been three-fold. We have boutiques and we want to open some more in strategic locations. We also remain strong with our long-term multi-brand partners that give us the right image and visibility; we believe they are complementary. And, of course, we have e-commerce, and were one of the first to do so. So we are definitely checking all of the aspects to make the entrance to the brand for the consumer easy and seamless. We will continue with all three distribution channels.
What was or is your biggest challenge with the brand?
It is a challenge to show just how special our Manufacture is, to demonstrate the specificity of everything we do in house. The challenge is how to share this uniqueness with our customers. When you are educated in watchmaking, you understand, but for the public, it is difficult for them to understand how special it is to make everything in the manufacture. This is our challenge, to share as much as we can with the public moving forward.
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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