Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled the new gallery devoted to showcasing the brand’s heritage at its Vallée de Joux Manufacture in the village of Le Sentier during the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. With the aim of being an unprecedented encounter with the Maison and its rich history, the space was enlarged for the bringing together of the Maison’s finest pieces through the ages, providing visitors an authentic and contemporary experience.
Formerly being the home of the LeCoultre farm back in the early 19th century, The Heritage Gallery extends across the oldest buildings in the Manufacture. The gallery design works harmoniously with the aesthetic codes of Jaeger-LeCoultre, with pure colours, understated pale furnishings and light as a central feature, providing visitors with the ultimate Jaeger-LeCoultre experience. The visitors’ journey through the Maison’s heritage will be accompanied by a guide, with the various interactive features enabling visitors the opportunity for an abundance of independent discovery.
The journey commences with an exposition of the Maison’s outstanding historical archives that are never before seen by the public. Registers, documents and old books that line the shelves illustrate the Maison’s creative force from its earliest days. Visitors will also be led to the heart of the Heritage Gallery with ‘reflections of history and great inventions’ where a clever play of mirrors puts the display items into context: objects displayed on one side are reflected in the visuals on the opposite wall. The tour then leads to where the iconic pieces of the Maison are put on display, with modern-day creations basking in the glory of past masterpieces in a continuum that is emphasised by three-panelled display cases. The Maison’s great icons – Atmos, Reverso and Geophysic – are displayed in a setting that enables visitors to better understand how current collections are descended from the rich legacy of LeCoultre Maison and of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Meant to prompt visitors to feel as if they are walking inside the Maison’s DNA as they climb the stairs, it is impossible to not notice the wall of calibres wrapping around the staircase like a cloak. Upon reaching upstairs, visitors will be able to indulge in the exceptional pieces in a more intimate and secret space tucked into the mezzanine under the building’s roof. These pieces rang from the uncommonly creative models from the Hybris Mechanica collection to the Manufacture’s rare handcrafts ‘Métiers Rares’ – gem setting, enamelling, engraving and fine watchmaking – are all shown off for display.
The journey continues upstairs where visitors are led to the restoration workshop where watchmakers demonstrate and explain each stage of the art of restoration that Jaeger-LeCoultre has come to be such master of. Questions will also be gladly entertained to cure visitors of their curiosity towards its craft. After this part of the journey visitors will better understand how restoration is such a genuine made-to-measure service.
The journey through the Maison’s past and present finally ends with visitors taking a look into the future by being able to view some watches on their own wrist thanks to augmented reality. The Heritage Gallery is a must-see for followers of the prestigious brand, offering a window onto the Manufacture’s treasures. An essential stage in getting to know the Maison, a visit to the Heritage Gallery will also bring the visitor closer to the Maison.