The Collectibles by Jaeger-LeCoultre: 17 Restored Iconic Watches, Plus A New Def
Vintage & Auctions

The Collectibles by Jaeger-LeCoultre: 17 Restored Iconic Watches, Plus A New Definitive Reference Book

La Grande Maison has introduced a collection of rare and highly coveted vintage models, immaculately restored in-house and now available to buy. Accompanying this collection is also a new master reference book, tracing the backstory of each watch and the socio-cultural context in which it was born.

By Steven Rogers

Fans of Jaeger-LeCoultre and classic 20th-century watchmaking are in for a real treat today thanks to the launch of La Grande Maison’s new The Collectibles program.

Created to coincide with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 190th anniversary, The Collectibles is a collection of rare and sought-after vintage models from JLC’s historical catalog that have been carefully curated and thoroughly vetted. Immaculately restored by the Vallée de Joux-based manufacture, the pieces of the new The Collectibles collection give collectors a chance to own not just a slice of the brand’s storied past but also an haute horlogerie icon from the last century.

While already taking two years to build, The Collectibles collection will steadily evolve over time. And Jaeger-LeCoultre has chosen to kick things off with a line-up of 17 emblematic models – all restored originals – that span the 1920s to the 1970s, the so-called golden age of 20th-century watchmaking.

The seminal pieces chosen include the Reverso, Powermatic, Memovox, Futurematic, Geophysic, Geomatic, and Shark Deep Sea. They are available to buy now on the Jaeger-LeCoultre website and, eventually, in select JLC boutiques around the world. After the collection’s in-store debut at the brand’s Geneva boutique, some of the pieces will embark on a global tour in the form of capsule collections.

What’s more, accompanying this collection of timeless creations will be a new master reference book – also named The Collectibles – researched and written by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watchmaking historians and archivists.

Besides devoting an in-depth chapter to each of the seventeen models, the book aims to give history buffs a broader understanding of how watchmaking reacted to the significant social changes that took place in the 20th century and the role Jaeger-LeCoultre played in that evolution.

Each iconic model will be delivered with a copy of this book, an extract from the Jaeger-LeCoultre archives, and the watch’s original box, papers, and strap or bracelet, if available. Watch enthusiasts will also be able to purchase the book separately via Mr. Porter from February onward. Its price will be €250.

Meticulous Curation and Restoration

Each coveted watch in The Collectibles represents a high-water mark for both Jaeger-LeCoultre and 20th-century watchmaking, with most of the pieces sourced through the brand’s network of partners specializing in collectible watches.

To be considered: Each watch was studied on a case-by-case basis, with close attention paid to the watch’s aesthetic and functional condition. In essence, in order to be included in the collection, each piece had to be as close as possible to the one that left the JLC manufacture all those years ago.

Moreover, every piece was rigorously vetted by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s in-house experts and then fully serviced and restored by the company’s restoration team, with the movements of the watches disassembled, cleaned, and then reassembled. If a movement component was too damaged, the restorers replaced it with a component from JLC’s historical stock or reproduced it according to the plans and stamps the brand has retained since its founding in 1833.

While the mechanical restoration was, in some cases, considerable, interventions on the dial, case, hands, and crystals were kept to a minimum. In fact, apart from a few exceptional cases, the brand limited itself to just cleaning, thus preserving the originality of the parts.

Icons of their Time

Each of the seventeen pieces chosen to begin The Collectibles is not just classic in its own right, but they also act as indicators for the social shifts afoot at their time of production. The accompanying book duly traces the background of each watch, placing it in the historical and cultural context in which it was born.

The earliest piece presented is the Duoplan. At the time of its release, this watch’s elegance and miniaturization were a sign of the increasing freedom women encountered in the 1920s, when wrist-worn timepieces (along with radical new styles of dress) liberated them from the stiffness and constraints of traditional patriarchy.

In the 1930s, the Reverso – with its Art Deco lines, colored dials, and pioneering reversible case – epitomized the lifestyle of the newly fashionable “sporting gentleman.”

The 1950s ushered in new technology and saw the emergence of international air travel, such that Jaeger-LeCoultre responded with automatic movements packing various useful functions: The Powermatic with its power reserve indicator, the Memovox with its alarm function and worldtime display, the “crownless” Futurematic, and the magnetically resistant Geophysic.

The increasing popularity of SCUBA diving in the 1960s led Jaeger-LeCoultre to create the robust Master Mariner Deep Sea and versatile Shark Deep Sea diver chronograph.

The bigger sizes, more daring case shapes, and vibrant dials of the Memovox Polaris II, Memovox Speed Beat GT, and the Memovox Snowdrop reflect the “big, bold, and colorful” trend of the 1970s.

Something for All Budgets

At the time of this publication, the brand has confirmed the prices for most of the 17 The Collectibles pieces, and, going off those prices alone, we can see the brand aims to accommodate all budgets. For example, the Memovox Speed Beat GT lists for €15,000, while the Geophysic Chronometer and Memovox Polaris will cost €55,000. Please see below for a complete list of prices known at the time of publication.

To determine each price, the brand has taken several factors into account, such as the current market value, the curation service by its experts, the incoming condition of the piece and, finally, the level of restoration carried out.

Celebrating a Fresh Lease of Life

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s CEO, Catherine Rénier, hailed The Collectibles for giving a second life to decades-old watches, allowing them to be appreciated by a new generation of watch collectors.

She said: “With Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most emblematic watches being increasingly sought after by collectors, we are delighted to introduce The Collectibles. Being able to restore these remarkable timepieces and offer them once again is a nice tribute to our current moment, in which sustainability and second lives have come to the fore.”

She added: “It is fantastic to see 50- or 80-year-old pieces given a new life. For me, that symbolizes the beauty of our little world, of timeless and durable objects to be passed from one generation to the next.”

For more information about The Collectibles collection, please visit the Jaeger-LeCoultre website. And to purchase The Collectibles book from February onward, please visit the Mr. Porter website.


Prices for Selected Pieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s The Collectibles

Duoplan Secret €38,000
Geomatic Chronometer €15,000
Geophysic Chronometer €55,000
Master Mariner Deep Sea €20,000
Memovox Automatic Calendar €28,000
Memovox Parking €18,000
Memovox Polaris €55,000
Memovox Polaris II €22,000
Memovox Speed Beat GT €15,000
Reverso Small Seconds €35,000
Shark Deep Sea €50,000
Triple Calendar €20,000

(Images © Jaeger-LeCoultre)

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