Home of Fine Watchmaking: Legacy of Tradition and Innovation
The Home of Fine Watchmaking regularly invites its guests to make stopovers in its different ateliers, and to discover the restoration workshop as well as the Heritage Gallery.
The Manufacture’s historic building, built in 1833 and enlarged in 1866, is in the spotlight and inaugurates a fully renovated façade.
Inspired by the exceptional scenery of the Jura mountains and guided by an unquenchable inner fire, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture finds its essence at the heart of the Vallée de Joux. All of its savoir-faire is brought together under one roof: watchmakers, engineers, designers and artisans work in harmony to give birth to exceptional Fine Watchmaking creations, constantly driven by a collective energy and innovative spirit. Since 1833, this same spirit has brought to life over 1200 calibres and made of Jaeger-LeCoultre, La Grande Maison. For five months, the works consisted of restoring the historic appearance back to this building. For this, the Luc Chappuis Maison carried out substantive design operations: new lime plaster, new window frames made of Jura stones, bush-hammer technique… An opportunity for Jaeger-LeCoultre to pay homage to the past all while meeting the new energy saving norms and displaying the Maison’s primary vocation. “MANUFACTURE D’HORLOGERIE” (Watchmaking Manufacture) is written in appliqué letters above the entrance.
Behind the walls of this façade is the restoration workshop. Here, the antique watches are put into the expert hands of about ten watchmakers. The immediate proximity of the Heritage Gallery makes their job easier. Benefiting from direct access to the original plans, they can draw on this living memory in order to reproduce components that are impossible to repair or that have changed, for antique watches, pocket watches and other treasures entrusted to them by their owners for a complete restoration. The rich collection of nearly 6,000 stamps or swages, manufactured by the Maison for their unique movements and preciously preserved at the Manufacture, is also available for this precise watchmaking work.
The Heritage Gallery, redesigned between 2016 and 2017, presents the iconic timepieces and collections of Jaeger-LeCoultre. It offers visitors a unique, connected experience as well as total immersion into the key stages of the Maison’s history and the art of watchmaking.
On two levels, immense display windows are set in a vast space full of light with a pure décor. One part encloses the Maison’s archives, varying from the written record of technical plans, patents, drawings, old books, client registries, advertisements and catalogues which mark out the history of Jaeger-LeCoultre to meaningful chronological benchmarks. Besides their historical interest, these archives constitute a constant source of inspiration. As if to provide a window on the past, a workbench like the one used by Antoine LeCoultre is also exhibited. With its weathered wood and original tools which we like to imagine could have been used a few hours before, this old furniture generates a profound emotion.
Atmos, Reverso, Memovox, Polaris… Their name makes enthusiasts dream… In the centre of the Heritage Gallery, a monumental glass wall captures your attention. Around a staircase that is as white as snow, this transparent wall exhibits 340 of the 1’ 262 mechanical movements designed, created and assembled by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture. The smallest movement in the world is nestled among them, the calibre 101 weighing barely one gramme which was developed in 1929.
Throughout the visit, it is hard to not let yourself be captivated by the 413 patents of the Maison or the Millionometre. Invented in 1844 by Antoine LeCoultre, this genius’ instrument allowed us to measure microns, a unit of measurement that that didn’t exist yet at the time. Upstairs, where the atmosphere is more intimate, or even confidential, aesthetic masterpieces and exceptional pieces are set side by side without overshadowing each other in individual display cases. An opportunity to admire the renowned Hybris Mechanica collection.
At the end of the visit of this building filled with history, each guest enjoys a unique watchmaking journey to the heart of the Grande Maison, where the past illuminates the present to better reveal it… and set off from the Vallée de Joux with sparkles in their eyes…