A cradle of culture What is fine watchmaking, if not the art of transforming small pieces of metal into mechanical marvels? While fairly prosaic, this definition is nonetheless strongly revealing of the fact that the value of timepieces lies mostly in the many skills involved in their creation. Producing the simplest Reverso watch calls for 1,434 different operations, over 90% of which involve manual dexterity. No less than 31 operations are required to make a lever, the tiny component that marks off the ticking of a watch and must stand up to 515 million impacts per year! As for Calibre 101, even in white gold, the value of its raw material is a thousand times inferior to that of the work goes in to fashioning it. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s greatest treasure is immaterial. It is composed of the prodigious sum of technical knowledge, experience and skills shared by the more than 1,000 people working within the Manufacture. Since 1833, watchmakers, artisans, engineers, technicians, artists, mechanics and other specialists combine their talent, their manual intelligence and their creativity to enrich and promote the international influence of Swiss horological culture. To perpetuate this grand tradition, Jaeger-LeCoultre promotes the passing on of knowledge. Its training centre and its many workshops welcome a number of apprentice-watchmakers, as well as technicians seeking to hone their knowledge or to learn new special skills. Each year, Jaeger-LeCoultre hosts several dozen watchmaking students for their final-year internship. At once a school, an academy of rare professions, a breeding ground for fresh talents and a crucible of new innovations, the Manufacture offers the most visionary spirits an exceptional body of development resources, expertise and production facilities in order to give life to the wildest projects, to rediscover all but extinct skills such as miniature enamelling, or to implement new technologies.
Jaeger-LeCoultre builds on the past in shaping its future. Within the Manufacture, an entire department is assigned to the task of enriching, preserving, studying and sharing knowledge relating to history. Through its Heritage Gallery, along with travelling exhibitions and various publications, the Patrimony division is devoted to nurturing the identity of a watch company for which each of its creation represents a concentrated blend of expertise and a powerful cultural symbol.