By Rebecca Doulton
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s flagship store in London is a luxurious boutique set aside for devotees of watchmaking. Located on Old Bond Street in the upmarket neighbourhood of Mayfair, the boutique has one of the largest selections of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches anywhere in the world, including a captivating line-up of high jewellery watches.
The beauty of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches is that gemstones - or any of the decorative arts practised at the Maison - never compromise the horological integrity of the brand, which insists on fitting its watches with mechanical movements, no matter how small. The diminutive diamond-encrusted Rendez-Vous Ivy Secret watch is equipped with an equally svelte mechanical movement, while the famous 101 calibre, developed in 1929 and fitted inside the watch Elizabeth II wore to her coronation in 1953, is positively Lilliputian. The other fact about Jaeger-LeCoultre’s women’s watches is their innate elegance and sophistication - a far cry from the louder jewellery watches out there.
The interior of the London boutique, with some of the furniture in the heritage room and VIP room designed by Tim Gosling, translates the sleek, elegant Art Deco lines of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s iconic Reverso watch in its architecture and decor - just the right kind of setting to sit back on the comfortable sofas in the Heritage Room and enjoy the parade of high jewellery watches. Because of its importance in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s identity, the Reverso is a good place to start. Its hallmark swivelling case, originally designed in 1931 to protect the glass on the dial from getting smashed during polo matches in India, is like a blank canvas for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s artists - including engravers and enamellers - to unleash their creativity, and for gemsetters to work their magic.
The Grande Reverso Lady Ultra Thin Duetto Duo is a true chameleon and, in keeping with its double personality, functions on several levels. It can be used as a GMT or second time zone watch, allowing you to consult the local time on the main dial and home time on the reverse dial or, conversely, you can flip to the one that best reflects your mood or best suits the occasion. The elegant 40 x 24mm white gold case houses a stunning high jewellery front dial set with diamonds, while the reverse is decorated with mother-of-pearl. Since both dials are provided with timekeeping functions powered by the same ultra-thin mechanical movement, you can set the dials independently.
Unlike the Reverso, which caters to both sexes, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous watch collection was created exclusively for women. If you are a star gazer, the heavenly Rendez-Vous Celestial watch depicting constellations and zodiac signs is for you. The skychart on the dial - in either dark blue lapis lazuli or fiery red aventurine - rotates in time to the heavens, giving a precise representation of the night sky in the northern hemisphere at any given time, while the hours - from 9 to 3 o’clock - are arranged in a beautiful crescent and framed with diamonds. The case is set with 139 brilliant-cut diamonds twinkling like stars, and the second crown lets you position the little star to the hour of your next rendez-vous.
The dreamy Rendez-Vous Moon watch marries a detailed Moon phase complication with a nocturnal sky dotted with constellations and sprinkled with cabochons to represent the stars, with the moon disc crafted in shimmering mother-of-pearl, while practically every surface of the glamorous Rendez-Vous Night & Day watch has been set with glistening white diamonds. For women who enjoy the spectacle of a tourbillon, the Rendez-Vous Tourbillon watch fits the bill with its lustrous mother-of-pearl dial and diamond-set case.
All of the watches above are available at the new Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique, 13 Old Bond Street, W1. Tel: 020 3402 1960.