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Trends to Watch

Keith Strandberg talks to Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Catherine Rénier about the Swiss house’s latest releases, explores new trends in power reserves and more.

The Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetuel and the Rendez-Vous Moon. Photos courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre

At the recent Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, I was fortunate to sit down with Catherine Rénier, the CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC), for a one-on-one discussion. Rénier has been the CEO of JLC since May 2018 and this was her first SIHH as the leader of this distinguished brand.

How was the show for JLC?

Great. We are very happy. The Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetuel (pictured above; $900,000) was five years in the making, so it’s very exciting to finally introduce it. The team is very proud of the success around what we call the Gyrotourbillon 5, the Master Ultra Thin, the Rendez-Vous Jewellery (pictured above; $15,400) and the new Reversos.

Catherine Rénier

Do you get nervous before a big show like SIHH?

I do get nervous, but I try not to show it. The team was even more nervous. They have been working on these pieces every day for so long, so the outcome for them is as important as it is for me. SIHH has this magic effect of making the deadline very clear. You can only know if what you have been doing works when you get the people in, when you see how people feel and behave when they see the new products.

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 What sets JLC apart?

We are one of the only brands that caters to both women and men. From the beginning, when JLC started to make its own watches and movements, there were male and female customers. Throughout its life, the company has always innovated in complications, and in parallel they were working on women’s watches, like the 101 movement, which was designed specifically for women’s watches. When the Reverso was introduced, it was done in both men’s and women’s executions. When you are authentic, that is when people understand you.

 What’s new in the Reverso line, a collection that is in its 85th year?

We presented the Reverso Burgundy (pictured above; $7,900), a much simpler piece than the Gyrotourbillon 5, and people say, that’s so Jaeger-LeCoultre. We feel the same pride in making these pieces perfect.

 Are you optimistic about the future for JLC?

For me, the fact that we have passionate collectors means the maison is appealing, people are engaged, they are following us and they are interested in what we do. At the manufacture, we have the willingness to develop innovations and complications. I travel to the markets to listen to clients’ voices, to listen to the teams, to get a reality check. The real test is when we show these watches to my daughter or to people who are not involved in the industry. Then, when you hear from collectors and have fantastic feedback, it’s a great feeling.

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What impresses you about the JLC manufacture, one of only a handful of true manufactures in the watch industry?

I appreciate the know-how and the craftsmanship, I was impressed by the size, the number of people and how it was very quiet. When I started, I was met by warm and welcoming people wanting to share, who were very passionate, and I realized even more how unique this place is. We can do anything, Now, my job is to share that with the world. If I make that happen, I’ve done a good job.

Contact: Jaeger-LeCoultre personal advisor line, 877.552.1833, jaeger-lecoultre.com

Power to the People

In today’s world, power is everything and that is especially true for watches. The harnessing of a watch’s power is integral to its precise running and to the enjoyment of a timepiece. Many watches today have complicated functions (perpetual calendars, annual calendar, moon phases, day/date, dual/multiple or world time zones, etc.) that are a challenge to reset if the watch runs out of power. So for these types of watches, a small power reserve of 48 hours is simply not enough.

The reality is that today watch lovers normally have more than one watch and the last thing you want is to swap out your complicated watch and then when you go to put it on again, you find it’s run out of juice and you have to set it all over again. For some of these watches, you need access to a computer, they are so complex.

Enter complicated watches with longer power reserves. They are specifically designed to ease “power reserve anxiety” with power reserves of at least 70 hours, enough to get you through the weekend.

Photo courtesy of Vacheron Constantin

At this year’s SIHH, Vacheron Constantin introduced a breakthrough watch that features a standard operating power reserve of 70 hours and a “standby” power reserve of an incredible 65 days. The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar has a patent-pending system for timekeeping transition between high-frequency Active mode (5Hz) and low-frequency Standby mode (1.2Hz). $199,000

Contact: 1.877.701.1755, vacheron-constantin.com

Photo courtesy of Hamilton

Similarly, Officine Panerai and even Hamilton and Tissot have moved in the direction of longer power reserves. Hamilton’s hugely successful Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm, which retails for $475, has an 80-hour power reserve.

Contact: 1.800.234.8463, hamiltonwatch.com

I hope the other watch companies are listening. Give us longer power reserves, please.

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Photo courtesy of Wolf

For the watches you have with “standard” power reserves, get a great watch winder. Worth’s suggestion is the Wolf Axis Triple Winder, which winds three watches at a time and is fully programmable. $1,539

Contact: Monica, Wolf U.S. office, 310.473.0012, wolf1834.com

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