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Remarkable Times: Jaeger-LeCoultre Launches The Collectibles

Remarkable Times: Jaeger-LeCoultre Launches The Collectibles

The-Collectibles-Reverso-by-Jaeger-LeCoultre-2023

Surely no horology house has ever entered into the vintage watch business in such a charming way: Jaeger-LeCoultre is introducing The Collectibles, a watch ‘Bible’ featuring its 17 most important models, dedicated primarily to the manufacture’s collectors. But that’s not all. Behind The Collectibles is another idea: offering up watch enthusiasts a carefully curated selection of these very same historic timepieces for purchase.

The precious pieces produced over the course of the 20th century reflect a true ‘Golden Age’ of watchmaking at the manufacture, which celebrates its 190th anniversary this year. We travelled to Switzerland to take a closer look at the project and to get a first-hand insight from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s CEO
Catherine Rénier.

Not simply a coffee table book

Every renowned watch manufacture has its own series of literature in the form of journals, magazines or books that usually review its historical heritage. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s The Collectibles is a reference book that showcases and meticulously describes the manufacture’s 17 most important models from the last century. The Collectibles covers the period from 1925 to 1974, during which time the 17 models were produced. Particularly exciting are timepieces like the Triple Calendar and the Futurematic, but the book also includes collector favourites like the whimsical Memovox Parking from the 1950s and the eye-catching Polaris II from the 1970s.

The Collectibles: Triple Calendar

A separate chapter is devoted to each watch model, describing its historical context, production figures, dial variations, and more. Historical documents and detailed photographs paint a picture of the conceptual history behind each piece. In short, this is not just a fancy coffee table book; the detailed write-up by the watchmaker’s experts certainly leaves nothing to be desired by collectors. It is the first time Jaeger-LeCoultre has published such an in-depth account of these emblematic 20th century timepieces.

But The Collectibles is much more than that. Jaeger-LeCoultre manages to arouse emotions through the book and at the same time make the watches tangible. This is because 12 timepieces from this very era can be purchased online via Jaeger-LeCoultre’s own website. Each watch is fully restored and serviced at the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture before being sold. This is a nice added value compared to the general pre-owned watch market, where the procurement of spare parts is often no longer traceable and may not even come from the manufacture.

In addition to the freshly overhauled watch, buyers also receive an extract from the Jaeger-LeCoultre archives, a new bracelet, and a copy of The Collectibles book. When possible, the manufacture also provides customers with the original box and papers, as well as the original bracelet.

The collection

The most exciting question, of course, is which vintage models are currently available for purchase. The current Capsule Collection includes: a Duoplan Secret ladies’ watch, a Reverso Small Seconds with red dial, a Geomatic, a Geophysic, a Master Mariner Deep Sea, a Memovox Parking, a Memovox Automatic Calendar, a Memovox Polaris and Memovox Polaris II, a Memovox Speed Beat GT, a Shark Deep Sea and a Triple Calendar.

The vintage watches correspond exactly to the models described in detail in the book The Collectibles. Jaeger-LeCoultre has already held out the prospect of adding more historical pieces from the 17 important models to its sales collection in the coming months.

The Collectibles collection with 17 important models


A conversation with Catherine Rènier


We were there for the launch of this special project and were able to get an insight into the history of The Collectibles from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s CEO himself. “It started about two years ago,” explains Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Catherine Rénier. “We noticed that there was growing interest in some of our great pieces – and that we could make our own contribution to the vintage business with our restoration workshop, which has been around for decades, as well as the designs we have at hand and our fully integrated manufacture.”

Catherine Rénier, CEO Jaeger-LeCoultre

So how did the decision for The Collectibles come about? “It started small,” Rénier recounts. “The first step was to select the 17 models we’re showing today [at the launch], and then to dig through the archives of each model. We decided to write an overview, which then became a brochure, which then grew into a whole coffee table book. There was so much to say about each model, not to mention the context in which it was invented – it took on a whole new dimension.”

The CollectiblesMaster Mariner Deep Sea

For Rénier, the project was first and foremost about honoring the timepieces, the technology, the innovation and, of course, the beauty. But the context is also very interesting. “The project took us back in time from the 1920s to the 1970s, when every single piece in the collection had a connection to that time: whether social, economic, artistic – it’s really anchored in its own time. The Collectibles was also a very emotional project because we realized that we were bringing these pieces back to the place where they were first made. Then, here in their home, they could be repaired, restored and given a new life in the exact same place. It’s a very beautiful tribute to the timelessness of our work.”

The CollectiblesShark Deep Sea


The collection is available from jaeger-lecoultre.com