In the past days, I have had the chance to visit once again the well-organized factory of the famous watchmaker. That trip we made with the distinguished guests had a big difference from the last one. We were one of the first teams to enter the Heritage Gallery, where all the major treasures of the brand’s nearly 200 years old history were exhibited, only to be visited with a special invitation.
No matter what they say, one of the facts that carries mechanical watches to different dimensions is the struggle against nature. How is that you may ask… If you leave the time keeping aside for a moment and focus on the complications, you know what I mean. Although it seems easy to measure the time with a mechanical device, it is actually a miraculous thing. All the developments (which can worth millions today) that come after that invention are the consequences of the struggle against nature in order to facilitate the life of mankind.
The “Minute Repeater” which has been developed as a result of the fight against dark, the "Tourbillon" which has been invented to deal with the negative effects of gravity on accuracy and the "GMT" that has been used to display different time zones, in fact, came to life through this logic.
The story of Jaeger-LeCoultre, one of the leading names in this regard, begins right here where we stand; the place that Antoine LeCoultre set his workshop back in 1833.
Those who have visited a watch factory in Switzerland before know that those special places are pretty neat and well organized. From the moment you stepped in, you are impressed with every detail you see inside. Our admiration we had after our visit last year, got more this time. From the La Maison Antoine, where they welcome us, to the workshop where the cutting of the movement parts are made, you can observe developments in almost everywhere, but I would say none of them impressed us as the renewed "Heritage Gallery".
Consider such an environment that you can see all the important parts of Jaeger-LeCoultre which guides the industry with its countless inventions though a 200 years history. To me, it’s a treasure house. When you go inside, you feel peaceful thanks to the simple design. First we visit the archive section.
A pocket watch from 1900s between many documents and files takes our attention and we see that many models of the industry’s most important brands employed f Jaeger-LeCoultre movements.
Patek Philippe pocket watch for Tiffany 1900s
Thanks to the interactive features of the giant touch screen that we have gone through in the perfectly organized archive section, you can see the most significant developments of Jaeger-LeCoultre for the year you choose.
Our tour at the Heritage Gallery continues in the section where the milestones of the brand are exhibited. Two different sections, which are linked to each other on the opposite walls of the corridor, draw our attention. The "Millionometer" we see in the first window is the first instrument capable of measuring in microns. The window opposite that invention of 1844 was of course the photograph of the founder of the workshop, Antoine LeCoultre. From the first Quartz caliber produced in 1967 to the details of the "Dual Wing" technology of 2007 are simply impressing.
JLC innovates with a new watchmaking technology, 1960s
A revolutionary movement concept "Dual Wing"
The "Heritage Gallery" continues to amaze us. The transparent wall in the cylindrical structure, where the patented movements of the brand displayed, offers a magnificent image of the staircase that leads to the top. It is possible to see 340 of the 1262 movements that have been patented since the founding of the workshop on this monumental wall.
After touring the area where the iconic collections are exhibited, we are heading towards the top. It is not possible to describe this quiet and calm part where the old watches have been restored. I leave you with the photographs taken by Emre Şişman in this environment where the most special pieces are exhibited.
We experience many enjoying moments during our factory tour which became more like traditional. I am sure that Emre Şisman had more fun taking photos of the team members with their tools in their hands waiting for the “engraving” experience more than getting shaved by Charlie Chaplin.
While many of the visitors are highly influenced by the new Atmos workshop, the minutes we spend with the new models introduced at SIHH are more exciting to me. It is a great privilege to be able to examine three important timepiece of the Duometer Collection at the same time.
As Horobox, we send our endless gratitude to Jaeger-LeCoultre Turkey, the organizer of this trip. We also send our love for her excellent hospitality to my dear Caroline Ferrer, Director of International Press Relations, who was with us throughout the tour all the time.
We would like to repeat our tour, which became more special with the participation of our old friends Isabelle Gervais and Stephane Belmont, in the coming years.