Jaeger-LeCoul­ture’s de­sign di­rec­tor, Lionel Favre, de­codes the brand’s evolv­ing de­sign aes­thetic

India Today - - CONTENTS - By Deepa Gopinath with Jagriti Sharma

Jaeger-LeCoul­ture’s De­sign Di­rec­tor, Lionel Favre de­codes the brand’s DNA

From jew­ellery de­sign to high jew­ellery to watches, how did you make the tran­si­tion?

I started out very young, work­ing in jew­ellery de­sign in Geneva, right after I fin­ished my stud­ies. After work­ing for sev­eral years for high jew­ellery com­pa­nies in Geneva and Paris, I dis­cov­ered watch­mak­ing de­sign in the 2000s. In watch­mak­ing, the ap­proach is much more tech­nique, but the two uni­verses have their sim­i­lar­i­ties. When we de­sign high jew­ellery pieces, we want the stones to per­fectly re­flect the light. When we de­sign watches, we also play with the light to find the right shape or an­gle that will make the case shine. From another point of view, with fem­i­nine watches, we work with the idea of cre­at­ing high­end watches with jew­els, re­flect­ing from the wrist.

What is the one thread that has con­nected the nov­el­ties of 2018?

This year, Jaeger-LeCoul­tre launched the new col­lec­tion Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris, a col­lec­tion fea­tur­ing dif­fer­ent mod­els: Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris Au­to­matic, Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris Au­to­matic Date, Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Chrono­graph, Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris Chrono­graph WT and the fa­mous JaegerLeCo­ul­tre Po­laris Me­movox. What con­nects them is the source of in­spi­ra­tion: the iconic Po­laris Me­movox cre­ated in 1968, 50 years ago. This watch, cre­ated for divers, had a large dial that en­abled good read­abil­ity. It has been the ba­sis for cre­at­ing the en­tire col­lec­tion.

Would you look at in­no­vat­ing and de­sign­ing a prod­uct line which is dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent from the DNA of the brand?

When I am not work­ing, I like to draw cre­ative watches, without think­ing about any spe­cific DNA. But when we work in a com­pany such as Jaeger-LeCoul­tre, the DNA is very in­ter­est­ing cri­te­ria. We have to un­der­stand the DNA of the brand to be­come the keep­ers of its her­itage and sus­tain the style of the Mai­son.

What ac­cord­ing to you sets JLC apart from the rest?

The con­cen­tra­tion of ex­per­tise and know-how, all found un­der one roof at the man­u­fac­ture in the Val­ley de Joux, def­i­nitely sets Jaeger-LeCoul­tre apart from the rest. Since it was founded in 1833, JaegerLeCo­ul­tre has cul­ti­vated a very unique savoir-faire for cre­at­ing new cal­i­bres. Thanks to the over 180 dif­fer­ent com­pe­ten­cies cen­tralised at the man­u­fac­ture, skilled

crafts­men are pro­duc­ing watches from A to Z, and cre­at­ing out­stand­ing move­ments such as the gy­ro­tour­bil­lon.

Why was the Po­laris se­lected as the in­spi­ra­tion for the much talked about col­lec­tion for the year? The orig­i­nal Po­laris Me­movox cre­ated in 1968 had some strong el­e­ments that could be ex­tended to an en­tire col­lec­tion, such as the large open­ing dial, the large in­dexes, and the dark dial. We wanted to of­fer our clients an op­por­tu­nity to re­dis­cover a stronger sports seg­ment in our prod­uct line.

Which is the one key el­e­ment that was kept in­tact while de­sign­ing the Po­laris col­lec­tion and of course, what was the big­gest chal­lenge? For the new Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris col­lec­tion, the chal­lenge was to keep the orig­i­nal­ity of the his­tor­i­cal time­piece. We kept the dark colour, the 42mm dial, and the large in­dexes, but we re­designed the bezel, and made much more straight and sharp lugs. The idea was to re­main very close to the orig­i­nal draw­ing.

What are the tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tions that have been in­cor­po­rated into the her­itage de­sign? On the new Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris Me­movox, we wanted to im­prove the de­sign, the tech­ni­cal as­pects, and above all, the sound of the alarm. On the Po­laris Me­movox from 1968, the sound was sub­dued be­cause of the water­proof­ing of the piece. To de­velop the Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris, we worked on the alarm to make it louder and have an even more beau­ti­ful sound. Who is the Po­laris man? The Po­laris man is smart and ac­tive, who is el­e­gant, but prefers a watch on his wrist dur­ing sport or even while trav­el­ling—for a so­phis­ti­cate on the move.

Which are your fa­vorite time­pieces from the ones launched this year?

I like the 44mm, ti­ta­nium Jaeger-LeCoul­tre Po­laris Chrono­graph World Time. I like the func­tion­al­ity of the move­ment; read­abil­ity of the hours across the globe, and also that you have these in a snap­shot. I like the idea of be­ing con­nected with fam­ily or friends whether they live in dif­fer­ent coun­tries or time zones. It’s in­ter­est­ing to feel in­stan­ta­neously linked to the peo­ple you love. Even if you can’t meet them face-to-face, you can feel close by sim­ply glanc­ing at your wrist.

BACK TO THE FU­TURE The Po­laris col­lec­tion launched this year re­vis­its a brand clas­sic

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