Jaeger-LeCoultre has just announced, as part of the Manufacture’s 190th anniversary celebration, the launch of “The Collectibles” initiative. I use the term approach because it is much more than a simple possibility offered to collectors to buy a historical piece revised by the team of the restoration workshop. First of all, the watches that can be purchased were not chosen at random. They are necessarily part of the selection of 17 iconic watches (described in a superb book written for the occasion) which have left their mark on the history of the Manufacture. Moreover, this new offer is already integrated into the Jaeger-LeCoultre site at the top of the navigation menu as if to underline the significant role it plays for the present and the future of the brand.
The meticulous work of the restoration workshop:
In fact, “The Collectibles” collection, which will be offered depending on the availability of pieces, has an impact on the image of Jaeger-LeCoultre. The fact of making historical pieces available is not a new idea and several players, whether venerable manufactures or much younger independent brands, have been practicing this kind of activity for a few years. But it takes on its full meaning at Jaeger-LeCoultre. The brand is both very well known (it is lucky enough to own an iconic watch recognizable by the general public: the Reverso) and little known (the Reverso captures a large part of the attention and the emblematic creations of the past are especially appreciated by connoisseurs).
The Shark Deep Sea:
By communicating about the “The Collectibles” collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre will thus constantly emphasize its heritage and remind a wider clientele that the Manufacture has distinguished itself in the past in the creation of watches with very different shapes and functions. I think this is a crucial issue for Jaeger-LeCoultre because historical diversity must reflect on the relevance of the current catalog. Let’s not forget that the Reverso collection is only one component of this catalog and that the Manufacture is constantly seeking a balance of commercial performance (each collection must contribute to the growth of turnover) thanks to a recent collection of versatile watches (Polaris), a credible women’s offer (Rendez-Vous), classic watches (Master) and the expression of know-how in technical and complicated watches (Duomètre and Master Grande Tradition). I’m not forgetting the Atmos collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre being one of the rare major historical manufactures with a complete range of clocks. I imagine that Jaeger-LeCoultre’s secret hope will be to see “The Collectibles” collection influence customer choices by repositioning the Manufacture as a player that has created icons, including in the field of round watches.
Even if the activity of a restoration workshop is different from that of the production of contemporary pieces, I personally hope to see the influence of “The Collectibles” also reflect on certain elements of the current catalog. and future. For example, I still can’t understand why the Memovox Polaris, a real icon given its specificities and functions, made a last lap through a limited series of 1,000 copies. Shouldn’t it have remained permanently in the catalog? Likewise, “The Collectibles” highlights Jaeger-Lecoultre’s ability to develop original, simple and practical watches such as the Memovox Parking or the Quartermaster. But today, I have the feeling that the innovative character is expressed more in very high-end watches to the detriment of more accessible pieces. Finally, the Master Mariner Deep Sea or the Shark Deep Sea present in the “The Collectibles” collection underline the creativity of Jaeger-LeCoultre in the field of the offbeat diver’s watch, an area that the Manufacture no longer really occupies (if is with the Polaris Mariner) at a time when the market is increasingly looking for versatile parts with assertive performance. Wasn’t Jaeger-LeCoultre right too soon with its Deep Sea models which could now have a better fate?
The Triple Calendar:
All these reflections show that the impact of the collection “The Collectibles” is not insignificant. This launch opens up a vast field of possibilities and I know that the Manufacture has the technical and creative capabilities to take advantage of this tremendous potential. It is obviously not a question of aping the past and doing neo-retro galore. I also know that this is not the wish. But I have the feeling that this focus on its rich heritage does not only embody an external communication approach. There may also be a message for the attention of the teams so that the spirit of the iconic watches of the past spreads within the various workshops of the Manufacture. In which case, the process will become a real success.
The Shark Deep Sea currently offered in the “The Collectibles” collection is sold with its case and two additional inserts: