Jaeger-LeCoultre is a brand highly respected amongst enthusiasts for their extensive range of calibers and iconic designs. They are after all, known as being the watchmaker’s watchmaker. One would not need a second look to recognize a Reverso on the wrist of a seasoned watch collector. Note the term ‘seasoned’? A collector usually drops their credit card on a watch from the Le Sentier manufacturer after owning several other brands until they realise that Jaeger-LeCoultre is a true manufacturer with good value.
What sets this brand apart from its competitors is that it offers a range of models from the more affordable Master line, to its haute horology pieces which mind you, could retail for the same amount as a house deposit in Sydney. Now hypothetically speaking, let us imagine a scenario where we are looking to spend a decent amount for two Jaeger-LeCoultre pieces that represent a genuine appreciation for the brand. Only two? Yes, I know, this is a daunting task for any watch collector but a challenge I will accept! Personally, I prefer my watches to be a little bit more refined and dressier. If I were to select two, they would all be dress watches intended to be worn with suits or a nice button-down shirt at the least. But for the sake of this challenge, this two-watch collection will need to demonstrate the capacity on what Jaeger-LeCoultre can offer for its consumers. Therefore, we would need to have one watch for work and one watch for play.
Number 1: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface
The history of the Reverso has been repeated many times and you know what? It never gets old. Now the ironic thing about this model in case you have forgotten, was that it was originally intended to be worn while playing polo. So yes, it was a sports watch in the 30s. But no, this is not the watch I have chosen to be the piece worn during the next hiking adventure at the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria, Australia.
This instead will be the dress piece to wear when slaving away at our desks dreaming of our next “incoming”. The watch in this case is a perfect example of what I would call an exemplary piece of horology that does not need to yell out for attention as even a non-watch person would find it beautiful. In terms of being beautiful, I would prefer to use the word “handsome” for the fact that the case design is just so masculine. But the amazing thing about this design is that even though it is a masculine looking piece, it also achieves a high level of elegance. Fine, I guess you could call it beautiful.
Case, dial and hands
The case itself has a dimension of 47 x 28.3 mm with a height of 10.3 mm. It may sound large but wear it on your wrist and you may be surprised. Furthermore, last time I checked big watches are still the current trend on the streets! I also find that dark coloured dials wear a bit smaller than lighter dials. The case material used is stainless steel and perfect for everyday use as precious metals are prone to scuffs. My favourite aspect of any Reverso is the gliding mechanism. Using your thumb to gently press against the opposite end of the crown will release the main face to reveal the second time zone. Seriously, that initial pop followed by the click to let you know that the second face is locked securely, is enough to send any “watch idiot savant” into a frenzy of excitement and satisfaction. But that is not even the impressive part. It is in fact these two dials, while showcasing two separate dials and time zones, is powered by one calibre! The dial on the front is a gorgeous sunray-brushed blue that plays with the reflection of the light contrasted by the applied hour-markers. On the back, a Clous de Paris guilloche again with applied hour markers. The hands on both front and back are faceted dauphine hands, and who doesn’t love sword hands?
As mentioned earlier, powering the two dials is one singular movement of 21 jewels. The caliber 854A/2 which runs at 21 600 bph and has a power reserve of 45 hours.
Number 2: Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris Automatic Stainless Steel
Honestly, in my opinion, a reliable sports watch just needs a decent water resistance rating, a dial that is legible, a durable case made out of stainless steel and a solid movement that will not fail when your life depends on it. Okay that sounded a bit too dramatic. So, which watch from the recent Jaeger-LeCoultre sports line fits the criteria? The Polaris Automatics of course.
For starters, it meets the criteria of a good sports watch as it rates at 10 ATM. This should be enough for swimming but not enough for diving. But who actually goes diving with a watch at this price point right? In contrast to that, remember how I mentioned that Jaeger-LeCoultre offers a line of watches that are accessible (in relation to their other offerings)? Well, this line of sports watches are just as affordable as the Master collection and may be for those who would opt for a rugged tool watch over a dress watch. The Polaris collection comes in a variety of dial colours and movements which include chronographs and the iconic Memovox, the watch where this line takes its inspiration from. Out of the Polaris line up, I prefer the simple black dial version without a date as it best fits my own criteria as dates are not really my thing.
Case and dial
The case of the no date Polaris version comes at 41 mm with a height dimension of 11.2 mm. This makes for a very comfortable watch to wear and would be suitable for a range of wrist sizes. From just a glance, the dial may appear simple (nothing wrong with that), but to the trained eye, the dial in fact has many aspects to appreciate. The sun-rayed dial in the centre contrasts against the grained outer edges which feature the applied hour markers and numerals. The centre of the dial gives the wearer something to get lost in, as they use the natural light to play around with the angles. While on the other hand, the hour markers remind us to focus on the task at hand.
The Polaris Automatic is equipped with the 898E/1 calibre that has a power reserve of 40 hours and a frequency of 28 800 bph.
So there you have it, my two selections for the budding Jaeger-LeCoultre aficionado. These two watches are perfect examples of what the brand can do. During the weekdays when working on projects and attending seminars, you have the Reverso which the brand is best known for. A technical marvel and one that cannot be mirrored by other manufacturers. And the second, your fun little weekend getaway packaged with history that almost rivals the Reverso and a combination of case, movement and dial that combines beauty and ruggedness. Regardless of your choices, you really cannot make a mistake if you are considering a Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece.
The Jaeger‑LeCoultre Care Program
Underpinning its ambition to continuously provide richer, more innovative and tailored experiences for its customers, Jaeger‑LeCoultre offers a Care Program in line with evolving global customer needs and desire for personalized content, technical expertise and education. The Jaeger‑LeCoultre Care Program will provide you with personalized product information, advice, services and the ability to register for an extension of your International Limited Warranty up to 8 years.
Timepieces that are still curently covered by the original “International Limited Warranty” will be eligible for the warranty extension upon online registration to the Jaeger‑LeCoultre Care Program on jaeger-lecoultre.com/services