Friday, May 18, 2012

Visit to the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture

I apologize for my long absence from the blog, but I have been travelling to Switzerland to discover the secrets of a manufacture that defined and changed the way watches are made. If audit world has the Big 3, the watchmaking world has its Big 5 and Jaeger-LeCoultre is part of the elite.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has been producing watches since 1833 and was the first manufacture to have been established in Vallee du Joux, Switzerland. The Manufacture has an impressive range of world firsts, superlative creations and legendary models to its credit, including the Reverso, the world’s smallest mechanism, 101 (Queen Elizabeth II wore one for her coronation 60 years ago), the Gyrotourbillon or the Atmos.

Everything in the valley is related to watches, so I was naturally a host of Horologers Hotel.

Besides visiting the manufacture and long walks or mountain hiking there is not much to do in Le Sentier. But of course the village has its own luxury watches boutique (no factory prices though) and like four banks…I don’t have any exterior photos as it was raining worst that in Luxembourg.

The best thing about visiting a watch manufacture is meeting the people who work there and who are really passionate about their job. So while having in front of me probably more than a million Euros worth of watches 

The head of high complications was explaining how they work. 

The movie below describes one of the most complicated mechanisms ever created by Jaeger-LeCoultre

I’ve found at least one Diane Kruger fan – a gem setter who had a picture of him and the actress displayed in his “office” (the German actress is an ambassador of the brand and visited the manufacture)

I’ve met the ladies who are responsible with the decorating of the mechanism and I’ve had the chance to decorate my initials on one of the parts. Of course a bigger one because the ones that they were working on were tiny.

I’ve learnt a few secrets from a watchmaker who has been working in the company for 42 years and has been living in the valley all his life

Have been amazed by the small sized emailed cases

Got an amazing souvenir – little wheels, so I have the first pieces of my future watch J All I have to do now is learn the other skills and I’m starting my own watch brand. Big 5 be aware!

And the highlight of the trip – I disassembled and then assembled a part of the watch mechanism. It actually worked at the end…

Thank you Nathalie and Jaeger-LeCoultre for this amazing experience!

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