By Maria Doulton
Masterpiece London is getting ready to open its doors at The Royal Hospital Chelsea from 25 June-1 July. This prestigious London exhibition for art, antiques and design is a paradise for collectors. They can browse and buy museum-quality pieces spanning 4,000 years, ranging from an Egyptian ushabti figurine dated 1213 BC, all the way through to important artworks from the 21st century.
It is in this refined, international context that Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre will be unveiling its 'Iconic Design 1833-Present' exhibition - a privileged journey through time starting with the founding of the company, and encapsulated by some of the brand’s most iconic watches. Although the adjective “iconic” gets bandied around with singular liberty, we are talking about the brand that invented the keyless winding system, creations such as the 1931 Reverso and 1925 Duoplan watches, and the magical 1928 Atmos perpetual table clock, which keeps time thanks to variations in atmospheric pressure, and the calibre 101 - the teeny tiny movement that holds the record as the world’s smallest mechanical movement, weighing just under one gram.
And because the emphasis of this London exhibition is on design, Jaeger-LeCoultre is flying in a team of its top designers, who will be on hand to explain how they move from concept stage to sketch, to technical drawings and finally the watch.
Naturally, Jaeger Le-Coultre watches from 2015 will also be showcased, such as the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Blue, the Master Grande Traditional Perpetual Calendar Skeletonised, the Reverso Duetto Classic set, and the Grande Reverso 1931 Second Centrale, plus models from the Rendez-Vous collection of ladies’ watches.
With 1,249 mechanical calibres, 413 registered patents and, to date, the practice of 180 different skills congregated under one roof at its manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, it is safe to say that Jaeger-LeCoultre has earned its credentials as one of Switzerland’s top - and most stylish - watch manufacturers.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has just opened its flagship boutique on 13 Old Bond Street, and the 26 Special Edition Reverso watches made to celebrate the occasion will also be on display at stand B31 at Masterpiece London.
The Royal Hospital Chelsea
Preview day (24 June): 11.00-22.00
Public fair day (25-26 June): 11.00-21.00
27-28 June: 11.00-19.00
29 June: 11.00-21.00
30 June: 11.00-18.00
1 July: 11.00-21.00
Preview tickets: £100
General admission (unlimited entry): £42
General admission (1-day visit): £25
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duetto Classique ladies' watch features two back-to-back dials and two sets of hands turning in opposite directions and driven by the same movement. This model in rose gold has a gem-set front dial and a black dial on the reverse with a sunray finish and diamonds.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duetto Classique ladies' watch features two dials. The reverse dial of the rose gold watch is black with gilt floral numerals and a sprinkling of diamonds on the bezel.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous ladies' watch with a date window at 6 o'clock, a mother-of-pearl dial and diamond indices presented in a 37.5mm stainless steel case.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso 1931 Seconde Centrale men's watch is directly inspired by the original 1931 model with its Art Deco styled case. Inside the rectangular white gold case is an automatic JLC calibre 966A movement.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Bleu watch comes in a 42mm white gold case and is packed with functions: hours, minutes, seconds, flyback seconds, date, second time zone, tourbillon and a twin power reserve. Gem-set with diamonds.
The mythical Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 101 made in 1929 is the still the smallest mechanical movement in the world. Weighing just one gram, calibre 101's original 74 parts have been increased to 98 today.