In the oldest building of the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufactory built in 1866 - exactly where the farm of the LeCoultre family once stood - a new space has opened: the Heritage Gallery. A bright room with an area of more than 500 sq. m occupies two floors. The archives of the brand in Le Santier have always been carefully kept, carefully hidden from prying eyes, and now they have decided to lift the veil there. However, still not to the end.
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In the first hall of the gallery - a building of shelving. The glazed shelves contain technical documentation, patent papers, sketches of calibers and wooden boxes with gears, crown crowns, gear wheels and other details. Manuscript folios store information about orders at the manufactory, but instead of the names of specific people, the names of client firms appear: Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe. The watch company (its official name is Jaeger-LeCoultreshe received it only in 1937, before that the watch was signed “Jaeger” or “LeCoultre”) for a long time bore the proud title of “horloger des horlogers”, because it produced calibers for other watchmakers. Throughout the history of the manufacture (next year it will celebrate its 185th anniversary), a total of 1,262 calibers have been created, of which 340 of the most important are exhibited in a round transparent wall that frames a spiral staircase to the second floor. “Historically, we know more about the inside of a watch than about its appearance,” says Stéphane Belmont, director of the Heritage Gallery.
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However, the collection of archival watches is also impressive. The exhibition begins on the ground floor, where the main inventions are arranged in chronological order and the milestones of history are marked: from the million meter created by Antoine Lecoultre in 1844 and the crown (instead of a key) to an ultra-thin pocket watch with a caliber of 1.38 mm (1903). the first Memovox alarm clock (1950) and the supercomplex construction Gyrotourbillon (2004). On the second floor, historical models coexist with modern ones to show the continuity of tradition. Next to the 1928 Grande Complication pocket watch with a minute repeater, a return chronograph, a perpetual calendar (add a magnificent enamel finish), there is a gold “pickpocket” chronometer with a 1946 tourbillon. The archive contains a whole series of tiny watches with the famous caliber 101 weighing less than a gram - from the first, in 1929, to the later ones, such as ring watches in platinum with baguette diamonds from the 1950s. There is one of the first prototypes of the Atmos table clock, which used mercury (later replaced by chloroethylene). Stefan says that very soon in The Heritage Gallery will have a wall of 45 of the most interesting and unusual atmospheres, most of which are undergoing a final check in the respective department of the manufacture.
On the black dial of the first Reverso (1931) there is a short and capacious word Reverso - instead of a logo that did not exist for Jaeger-LeCoultre yet; it was successfully replaced by the original design itself. At the end of 2015, Jaeger-LeCoultre managed to acquire a copy of the Reverso at the Antiquorum auction, which belonged to the American military leader, General Douglas MacArthur. This is one of the first watches from 1935 with modern brand markings, with the initials "D MAC A" engraved on the case back against a black enamel background.
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Another exhibit "with provenance" is Geophysic from the personal collection of the captain of the submarine, William Anderson, the conqueror of the North Pole. Thanks to the widow of a sailor, the 1958 gold watch with a commemorative engraving was included in the archival collection of Jaeger-LeCoultre. But Memovox, owned by Charlie Chaplin, after restoration at the manufactory, returned to the house of its owner in the city of Corsier-sur-Vevey, where the Chaplin's World museum is now open. A small restoration workshop for 7-8 people is located in the attic of the Heritage Gallery. The watch case and mechanism are restored here in full accordance with the original and traditions of the past. And, you must agree, the environment for this painstaking process has been chosen the most correct.>