Last year, Jaeger-LeCoultre collaborated with Spanish typographer, illustrator and artist Alex Trochut to create a contemporary 1931 Alphabet in Art Deco style. This was the period between the 1920s and 1930s that expressed the progressive and forward-thinking values of that era and it was the time that the Reverso was conceived. The New York-based lettering artist Trochut has encapsulated the values of La Grande Maison through a new alphabet that is destined to become an additional signature of the brand.
Spanish typographer, illustrator and artist Alex Trochut
The new 1931 Alphabet is a modern addition to the Maison’s visual identity. In a sharp and contemporary take on Art Deco, each letter has a boldly sculptural quality and a strong sense of visual depth, while also conveying a sense of dynamism and movement. It is equally expressive in both two-dimensional form and as a three-dimensional object.
The partnership was made possible through the “Made of Makers” series that Jaeger-LeCoultre established in 2022. The programme brings together a community of artists, designers and craftsmen from a variety of disciplines outside watchmaking.
Before Trochut, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the Sound Maker during the Covid-19 pandemic. Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, explains: “During the pandemic, we wanted to create an exhibition about sound-making. Since there are many ways to talk about sound-making in watches, we also wanted to talk to clients who are not only passionate about watches but also want to discover art and emotion. Explaining it through an art piece is a fantastic way.”
Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre
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Rénier, who was in Singapore late last year, told Options that Jaeger-LeCoultre worked with Zimoun, a Swiss multi-media artist who uses simple raw materials and repurposed industrial components to create complex tapestries of sound and movement that redefine traditional ideas of sculpture, space and time. Zimoun’s installation, The Sound Maker, evokes the deep connection between the watchmakers of the Manufacture and the natural soundscape of their surroundings in the Vallée de Joux. The Sound Maker was timed to coincide with the launch of the Master Control Collection and the Master Grande Tradition 945.
Each year, the commissioned works animate the exhibitions that Jaeger-LeCoultre stages around the world, creating new opportunities for audiences to engage with the Maison and to become part of the wider conversation about art, craft and design. “It was really a unique experience. And we realised how much the public appreciated that side of creativity, the relationship with watchers, and the emotion it brings. We started meeting more artists, depending on our topics and inspirations,” says Rénier.
This led to a meeting with Trochut as the Maison wanted something special to celebrate the iconic Reverso. Rénier thought that is was a fantastic idea to engrave the Reverso with a unique alphabet, designed by a lettering artist. She says: “We met and he very quickly understood what the alphabet meant to us and how much it has been an inspiration for the Maison. The Reverso is daring, extremely elegant and it is a tribute to that period that was so fruitful.”
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds
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Always thinking ahead, and finding ways to connect with new customers, JLC has to think out of the box and with that, the Reverso 1931 Café was launched in different locations around the world from New York to Tokyo. In Singapore, the pop-café celebrated more than 90 years of the Reverso Jaeger-LeCoultre in the heart of the financial district and it attracted C-suites who stopped for a cup of Java before heading to their offices. This is just one of the many ways that Jaeger-LeCoultre wants to reach out to new customers. The French-born and Boston-educated Rénier says that the Maison is always finding ways to attract new clients and have a wider audience.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds with 1931 Alphabet AT initials engraving
She adds: “But we also want to educate a wider public on craftsmanship, to promote what we do. As we all know that today, you pretty much don't need a watch to tell time, you can do it mostly with your phone. The watch, however, symbolises the heritage behind the expertise, the craftsmanship is timeless.”
Just like the rest of the world, Rénier is happy to see the back of the pandemic and she believes that Jaeger-LeCoultre has emerged stronger through the ability to adjust to the unexpected. She says: “It's also moments, personally or professionally, where we had to refocus on what is essential. We are very clear about building strong relationships with our clients, giving them an experience, making them understand the uniqueness of Jaeger-LeCoultre through our boutiques and retail network, and showcasing more of the iconic Reverso.”
Future plans include the continued search for more artistic collaborations and with that, more exhibitions to push the message of creativity and timepieces further. The search for brand ambassadors and friends of the brand continues. Last year, Anya Taylor-Joy was announced as a new Ambassador for the Maison. She joins the existing dream team comprising actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult.
Anya Taylor-Joy wearing Reverso Classic Duetto
Born in Miami to British-Argentine parents, and raised in Buenos Aires and London, the 26-year-old actress won rave reviews for her breakout performance in Robert Egger’s The Witch in 2016. A series of critically-acclaimed roles followed and, in 2020, the Netflix hit The Queen’s Gambit shot her to stardom.
Rénier reveals that Taylor-Joy and her family are avid polo players. This is perfect as history states that in 1930, businessman César de Trey was challenged to find a way to protect the glass of a watch for polo players during matches. De Trey’s idea was inspired: a case that could be flipped over. He approached his friend Jacques-David LeCoultre to produce the watch and the pair engaged René-Alfred Chauvot to design it; hence, the birth of the Reverso.