Horobox was present at the Jaeger LeCoultre factory tour arranged exclusively for the major pressmen of Turkey’s Watch World. We were proud to be a part of this fascinating organization as the only digital media brand invited.
We would like to share this incredible experience we had at the ateliers of “La Grande Maison” which is proud to celebrate the 85th anniversary of its iconic model Reverso.
Vallée de Joux is known to be the birth place of Swiss Watch Industry. The valley is located at a 30km distance to Geneva with an altitude of 1000mt. Like several other brands, Jaeger LeCoultre’s factory remains in the very same location where it started as a small atelier in 1833. Today, the facility covers a 28.000m2 area beautifully merged in to the nature.
You find yourself in a mesmerizing environment right after the moment you stepped in. We are welcomed with the brand’s PR Manager Ms.Marina Green. After a short rest, we start the tour.
Our first stop is the place where the 85 year old legend Reverso is presented. We had the opportunity to see many priceless timepieces like the very first model created especially for Polo playing British officers in 1931, the limited version produced for the British Race Drivers Club in 1937, “Quantième Perpetuel” model of 2000 and the fascinating “Gyrotourbillon”. All our questions are answered in full detail. I feel great admiration for the craftsmanship about the enamel and engraved versions. Knowing that I will soon be in the atelier where those art pieces are created doubles my excitement.
After the time we spent with the Reverso our next stop is the section where the most complicated timepieces are manufactured. The atelier includes master watchmakers who spent long years in the factory and some youngsters as the candidates to be the next master watchmakers working in different divisions. After a short introduction with the staff, we move on with a brief presentation of the brand’s resounding complication “Gyrotourbillon”.
We had the privilege to see all four generations (including the latest one which is not available at the stores yet). We get informed about each one of them and see the differences between the generations. Considering all the effort and work are spent to create better precision, my admiration to the brand increases further.
I noticed that The “Gyrotourbillon” models got smaller in size and power reserve in years.
I have a close look at one of the watches with my favorite complication Minute Repeater. The watch I have here is the stunning Master Grande Tradition Grande with 18K red gold (Ref.5022580).
The Caliber 945 consists 527 individual parts and besides the minute repeater it features the “Voûte céleste “function.
We express our sincere thanks and move on with the “Métiers Rares” atelier where we see a different side of Swiss Watchmaking. This is the place where the decorations are made. “Enamel”, “”engraving”, “gem settings” and “guilloche” processes are affected with great care and craftsmanship in this atelier which is reserved for handcrafted items only. We get together around the table which is arranged for the visitors and see the master watchmakers’ work simultaneously through the screens mounted on the table.
We also have the chance to see previously completed parts and several tools used by the master watchmakers.
While we are watching the great work here comes the greatest surprise of the day. The doors open and we are all invited. It is a true privilege for us to be inside the atelier housing such processes which require full concentration. We take stunning shots of the work carried out there as well as the finished parts. We feel quite comfortable with the hospitality of the staff and try to do our own watchmaking work at the same place.
We leave the atelier which I could name as one of my best watch factory tours and move on to one of the rooms exclusively arranged for our lunch. We chat about the experience we had so far while enjoying our meals presented in the ‘’Bento Box’’es which are used by the watchmakers as well.
The second part of our tour starts at the atelier where the iconic Reverso product line is being produced. We watch the disassembling and re-assembling processes of the Reverso Duo case in one of the rooms specially arranged for the occasion. Though it looks quite simple at the first glance, I should say it’s not especially for a person without enough experience.
After this nice workshop, we get in to another room and see the latest versions of Reverso. We have a visual feast with the presence of many models out of the ladies and men’s collections. Besides the Reverso models we have the chance to see the several special editions before they hit the boutiques. Though I am not allowed to share those timepieces, there is one specific watch that I ordered for my personal collection. Featuring the year’s favorite color Blue, which re-issue model is good enough to make every watch enthusiast’s mouth water.
While we were waiting to see the last stop our scheduled tour The Heritage Gallery, we are thrilled with another surprise by Marina Grenee saying we are free to see the ateliers where the Atmos clocks are manufactured if we prefer instead of the Heritage Gallery. Since the Atmos aka ‘’the clocks for the kings’’ ateliers can only be seen by a limited number of people, we all go for the Atmos option.
Atmos is known to be one of the best desk clocks thanks to its technology and unique design. It is a creation of cutting edge technology generating its own energy through a pendulum moving left/right by an accordion type metal part moving upon the environment’s temperature changes.
We are shocked with the fineness of the cable which holds the pendulum. After seeing and taking pictures of the cabinets featuring different models, we move on to the final part of our pleasant tour.
Before we leave, we get brief information about the general details of the factory over a small model of the facility. After that we say goodbye to our helpful friends at Jaeger LeCoultre and leave for Geneva.
I hereby express my sincere thanks to dear Marina Grenee for this outstanding factory tour. I would also like to thank my dear friend and Jaeger LeCoultre’s Brand Manager Mr. Murat Akyüz and his staff for the occasion.I am looking forward to meet again through different organizations.