Devoted to showcasing the Brand’s rich history, the new Heritage Gallery extends across more than 500 m2 at its Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, in Switzerland.
The space has been considerably enlarged to bring together the Maison’s finest pieces through the ages, its historical archives, and a restoration workshop.
Discover a Wealth of Jaeger-LeCoultre Heritage
The journey through the wealth of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Heritage begins with an exhibition of the Maison’s outstanding historical archives, followed by the “Reflections of History and Great Inventions” area. The visit then leads into an elegant room bathed in light, displaying the Maison’s iconic pieces with modern-day creations basking in the glory of past masterpieces.
An accompanying guide leads visitors on a journey through the wealth of the Maison’s Heritage, leaving plenty of opportunity for independent discovery, thanks to various interactive features. Right from the start, it is fun for visitors: they select a year on a touchscreen – perhaps the year they were born – and get to see what was happening within the Brand that year. An image is projected onto a background symbolising a significant creative moment for Jaeger-LeCoultre, giving an insight into the Maison’s rich past and the breadth of its archives. Now visitors can step right into the story and have themselves photographed against this backdrop. The tour continues in this vein, and everyone will go home with some unique memories.
The journey begins with an exposition of the Maison’s outstanding historical archives, never before shown to the public, that constitute the “memory” of Jaeger-LeCoultre. Registers, documents, and old books have been meticulously categorised and line the shelves of the big archive room. They illustrate the Maison’s creative force since its earliest days.
We can see here that as of the 19th century, the Manufacture was supplying its movements to most of the major watchmaking Maisons. A Patek Philippe pocket watch with a LeCoultre movement is even displayed here for the first time to typify this characteristic of Jaeger-LeCoultre, “watchmaker to the watchmakers”. The Maison’s archives are a significant asset and source of endless inspiration to today’s designers. In this space, visitors get a real sense of that resource. A shelf displays an old cabinet stocked with components, so those who enjoy bygone curiosities can feast their eyes. It is like stepping back into history
As you climb the stairs, visitors step right inside the Maison’s DNA and feeling the heartbeat of its infinite inventiveness with this magnificent Wall of Calibres. There are 340 calibres on display, out of the 1,262 that have been built since the Brand’s beginnings.
Exceptional Pieces on Display
Upstairs, visitors discover the Brand’s most exceptional pieces, such as the Hybris Mechanica collection and several timepieces illustrating Jaeger-LeCoultre’s artistic know-how, before continuing the visit to the restoration workshop.
As an example, the backdrop for the Reverso illustrates the Art Deco era when the watch was launched, along with the polo fields of India where it then took root. The display gives an insight into how the model has evolved over the decades, without losing its essence. The story is also brought to life in a digital animation shown in the central display case.
Masterful Art of Restoration
As a master in the art of restoration, Jaeger-LeCoultre gives a full demonstration of a restoration process, where each stage is explained – since the old timepiece is received and appraised, through the search for components and supplies, up until the restoration itself.
The artisans are happy to answer questions and engage with visitors who are curious about their professional vocation, and all the passion and patience it requires. This demonstration of the Brand’s expertise in the field of restoration is reassuring for the client, because this workshop is the only place where the watches can be restored in keeping with traditional methods.
Most watches that are restored here date from the late 1920s to the late 1980s, with some exceptional pieces even dating back to the 19th century. Restoration is carried out both to the movement and to the external parts of the watch. The challenge for the watchmakers is to get the movement back into working order and return the piece to its original appearance. If the components cannot be repaired or exchanged for stock items, the watchmakers will manufacture new ones using the original design drawings. It is a genuine made-to-measure service.
The tour ends on the gallery balcony, where visitors can view some watches on their own wrists, thanks to augmented reality. It is an exciting way to finish off this journey through the Maison’s past and present – both so inextricably linked – by taking a look towards the future. Exploring the Heritage Gallery, which serves as a window onto the Manufacture’s treasures, is an essential stage in getting to know Jaeger-LeCoultre. It anchors the visitor in a closer relationship with the Grande Maison and promises to be the first chapter of a wonderful story.