Time, as we know, is connected to the movement of planets and stars. These astronomical functions have led Jaeger-LeCoultre to create a portfolio of complicated timepieces right from Moonphase displays to complex perpetual calendar pieces and many more. For 2022, La Grande Maison pays tribute to these astronomical functions with the launch of a collection of celestial timepieces dedicated to the importance of these movements under ‘Stellar Odyssey’. Join us as we deep-dive into the Miason’s celestial astronomy theme with Lionel Favre, Product Design Director at Jaeger-LeCoultre.
What would you say is the inspiration behind the new watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre?
It is a tradition in watchmaking to be inspired by celestial astronomy because watchmaking comes from the observation of day and night and the more complex cycles. From the beginning, there is a strong link between these astronomical functions and watchmaking. This year, we wanted to go further and create a 360-degree collection linked to celestial astronomy, not just by cycles, but also in terms of artistic and Rare Handcrafts expression. Our new watches are like an observatory that are linked to celestial astronomy in every way.
How has the relationship between astronomy and the brand changed the years?
I think there isn’t any major change in the relationship between the brand and astronomy. We are really focused on using three expertise; sound like the Minute Repeater and Memovox, precision with all the tourbillons like multi-axis tourbillons, and the gyrotourbillon and celestial as you have seen with last year’s most complicated Reverso Hybris Mechanica Caliber 185. This is a perpetual evolution. We started with the moon phase displays and now, with the expertise of our watchmakers, we have pursued further.
The new watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre feature beautiful dials. Can you shed some light on the developmental and design process of these watches?
We are extremely lucky to have an in-house Rare Handcrafts workshop. This year, we have used a particular technique called grisaille enamel. We used this technique because it adapts really well with the cosmic life and plays very well with transparency. In the Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948, we have used a different painting technique that has an ability to create something very detailed that is difficult to create. It involves passing the dial through the oven after each colour coating.
What were some of the challenges you faced while creating these timepieces?
There are always lots of challenges because watchmaking is extremely complicated. This year we had one main challenge which was creating the Rendez- Vous Dazzling Star. This was one timepiece that was not linked to a celestial cycle but to a random moment like a shooting star. Random and watchmaking are not friends. It has been one of the most challenging watches we have created this year.
What led to the inclusion of a perpetual calendar complication to the rather sporty Polaris collection?
Lots of people think that the perpetual calendar complication is an elegant complication. But if you look at the complication, you will notice that it has a lot of counters, four to be precise. In my opinion, four counters on the dial gives the watch a sporty look.