Never in the history of our little hobby has there been more choice for the consumer when it comes to choosing where to buy a watch, both new or pre-owned. The explosion in watch retail outlets offering pre-owned and vintage pieces and the hyper-surge in demand for such watches hasn’t passed the watch brands by, however. Where once they may have looked on and either been a bit miffed that every used watch sale was not a new watch sale or delighted that their brand was so feverously desired, now many brands are getting in on the action and offering their own certified pre-owned. The latest illustrious brand to do so is Jaeger-LeCoultre, and as you might imagine, they are doing it in style.
In celebration of the brand’s 190th birthday, Jaeger-LeCoultre is launching The Collectibles. The first step of the rollout of this new initiative will be the release of a book. The printed brand vintage bible, The Collectibles, chronicles the key moments in the brand’s history as well as giving an official insight into the most important models in JLC’s back catalogue. The book will feature some incredible watches with in-depth analysis written by in-house experts. Following the launch of the book, the watches featured therein will become available on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s official website www.jaeger-lecoultre.com and will be displayed in the brand’s Geneva boutique for a time.
“With Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most emblematic watches being increasingly sought-after by collectors, we are delighted to introduce The Collectibles,” says Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre. “Not only does this new programme offer a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of the Manufacture’s history, thoroughly vetted and checked by our technical and historical experts, it provides an encyclopaedic reference book for our Maison’s most emblematic models of the 20th century.”
For a lot of people, Jaeger-LeCoutre is most closely associated with the iconic Reverso. The watch is forever partnered with the sport polo, a perilous ball game that dates back to 600 BC. It’s a refined and exclusive sport for the most part and is known as the ‘sport of kings’, however, swinging mallets and rocketing balls made wearing a watch a dicey choice and so Jaeger LeCoultre developed a watch with a mid-case that could be turned over, whilst still being worn, to protect the crystal. The Reverso was soon not only worn by polo players but was adopted by tastemakers and the stylish elite. However, what the brand refers to as the ‘golden age’ of watchmaking between 1925 and 1974 spawned many models, 17 of which are celebrated in the new book.
Alongside the Reverso, there are chapters on the Memovox, Futurematic and Geophysic watches. Each chapter will be an absolute must-have for all serious JLC collectors, with definitive information being shared such as the number of watches produced for each reference, movements used, case metals, dial variations and copies of historic documents from JLC’s archives. Also, much like the polo-linked Reverso’s history, each model will have a full explanation of its cultural importance and place within the watchmaking context of the time.
Now, it’s not unusual for books to be published with grand promises of offering the definitive history of a brand or its models in our horological world. Often, however, these tomes are not officially supported or even sanctioned by the brands and rely on collector-gleaned knowledge and information. That Jaeger-LeCoultre are publishing this book is a testament to its commitment to offer an extra service to its customers. The initial watches feature in the book will all be for sale and then the plan is for The Collectibles programme to be a rolling offer for customers. So, what can a customer buying a watch from JLC’s certified pre-owned service expect? Weel, it’s actually pretty impressive! Every Collectibles timepiece is presented with an extract from the Jaeger-LeCoultre archives, a new watch strap and box, a two-year warranty, and a complimentary copy of The Collectibles book. In addition, when available, the original box and papers, and original strap or bracelet will be included.
The sea of vintage watches can be tricky waters to navigate and even the most seasoned professionals occasionally are unsure about a watch’s originality or at least original configuration. This can be particularly scary for new collectors or those for whom an absolute certainty over originality is paramount. That’s why offers such as Jaeger-LeCoultre’s The Collectibles are important and timely in the current market. If you’re hunting for a vintage JLC, look no further. The has you covered!