The scion of a family of jeweller-craftsmen, Lionel Favre has been the Product Design Director at Jaeger-LeCoultre since January 2017. He spent four years designing jewellery in Paris before moving to head design at Chopard and later at Roger Dubuis. He spoke exclusively to MW about the new Polaris, and watch design in general.
Tell us about the new Polaris collection that Jaeger- LeCoultre launched this year at SIHH 2018.
We decided to launch a sport watch because we wanted to have something sporty but elegant. The first step to create this collection was to look back at our history, where we identified a strong model from the past. Polaris from 1968, we found, has all the assets to build a new collection. We have used all the important features of the historical model, like the big opening, clear visibility, strong indexes, a graphic dial, small bezel and large lugs to create this masculine watch collection, but with a modern look. The collection is made up of five watches – Polaris Memovox, Polaris Automatic, Polaris Chronograph, Polaris Chronograph WT and the Polaris Date.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date1968 original Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox polaris
You have been the Product Design Director at JLC for a year now. How is JLC different from Chopard and Roger Dubuis, where you worked previously?
It’s not really different, because it’s about design. It’s the same work. But what you need to do is to understand the brand and its boundaries and stay within that. If you work for a brand which is very crazy, you can make crazy designs. If you work for a brand that’s timeless, you need to think about giving it a timeless design. At the end, when you design a watch, you want to ensure beautiful proportions, curves, lines and of course the finish. For example, we have a watch with one dial, one colour, blue, but we have three different types of blue. All these small details are important, and we are very creative in terms of movement. That’s most important to us.
What would be your personal favourite from all the watches that you’ve launched this year, in terms of design?
I like the Polaris, as I worked on it for one year. It’s a little like my baby. But, I love the Reverso. It’s a crazy watch. This year we have one with a blue dial. It’s a tribute with a special blue strap. My favorite for the year is the Polaris Memovox.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox
In what direction is watch design headed globally, according to you?
When you have a history, when you have an long- established brand, it’s a very interesting situation for a designer. When you speak with the watchmaker/engineer, you speak not about just the technical bit but also about the beauty of the mechanics. I don’t know for the others, but what I know is at Jaeger- LeCoultre, design is a one hundred per cent reflection of beauty, even in the movement. It is very important to propose to our customers something hundred per cent re-designed with beauty behind it, even in the technical part.