Photos by the amazing Andreea Bogdan
You know those moments when an opportunity to discover something new is exciting because of its newness, and you don’t quite realise what the opportunity itself entails? I had this exact experience when Jaeger-LeCoultre invited me to visit their Manufacture in Switzerland.
I suffer from a serious case of the notorious ‘travel bug’, so whenever I get a chance to take off, I do it without hesitating. Now, I must admit that I wasn’t very familiar with the world of watches. My dad loves them, so I guess in my rebellious way, I never paid much attention to this passion of his. It’s almost like when a friend says “oh you must watch this film!’ And then another friend says it, and another. So you just end up not watching it. Well, long story short, I didn’t know much about watches. But this is the (true) story of how that changed.
I travelled to a small village, tucked away in the mountains outside of Geneva. Everything was still covered in snow, so the journey already started with a sort of time travel, as winter was long gone from London. And then this idea of time, the passing of it, the keeping and measuring of it and the preciousness of time stayed with me for the duration of the visit. I got to witness first hand the whole process of making a watch at one of the world’s most prestigious watch manufacturer. I even had a go at some of the processes (and really struggled with my hand-eye coordination while looking through a microscope!).
I feel like a watch has a sort of fractal beauty. You can appreciate its aesthetic as a whole, but the more in depth you go, the beauty is still there, down to microscopic level. And I don’t think I could have ever appreciated this level of craftsmanship without getting a glimpse into the making process. The watchmakers seemed to have the eyes and hands of fine jewellery makers and the minds of savant mathematicians. Some of the high complication watches can take up to 9 months to make. And making is not just assembling, but mainly creative problem solving and constant innovation, which is something Jaeger-LeCoultre prides itself in.
And the Reverso watch, which celebrates its 85th birthday this year, is a great example of this! The watch can actually be flipped in order to protect the glass of the watch (you can see it more clearly in the pics), hence the name. However I would say that Reverso talks about the duality of its wearer: both stylish and practical.
Nevertheless, I hope you guys enjoyed this little peek into watch making and the pictures me and Andreea have been working on with 3 different cameras : 2 on films and 1 digital. I have to say it has been one of the best experiences I have ever had.
Thank you so much Jaeger-LeCoultre for the amazing experience !