Jaeger leCoultre: SIHH 2011

As it is by now tradition, Jaeger at the SIHH, presents very interesting novelties in all their price ranges. Pretty much like in previous editions of the fair there was something for everybody this years too. Oddly, the presentation that did not shine as much (rather disappointed) was the somewhat "meager" offering at the Reverso Anniversary lineup. Don't get me wrong, the Tribute piece is a extraordinarily elegant an well balanced piece while the repeater is simply stunning... But what happened in between these two price points? I do not know about you, but I am missing quite a couple of complications in larger and thinner Reverso cases. (At first I thought they where where keeping them for last!) Regardless, let's get on with it.

A long awaited and eagerly anticipated by vintage aficionados was undoubtedly the "Deep Sea". As with the "Tribute to Polaris", the Deep Sea takes the replica motif to the extreme. Actually, you could say that they might have gone too far. As a collectors item it is surely meant to join the cabinet next to the Polaris. As a watch, I must say that considering the materials used, techniques and features I can only state that the price is well beyond what it should be. No date, a fixed painted bezel, polycarbonate glass, a somewhat skimpy 40mm (but true to the original) case construction and a purposely "muffled" sound to remain true to the replica. All that at a price of a whopping 9,500€. The truth is that the times have caught up with Jaeger on this one. They have not gone completely nuts since the price is somewhat coherent with the other Memovox lineup. What happened is that back when the Deep Sea was produced (not forgetting that since then Jaeger has evolved as a brand) the comparative price point at that time is closer to the equivalent of 3,000€ today, and not 9,000€. Hence there is a disparity in quality received for the money. Yet, for a collector the opportunity to have a brand new Deep Sea might/could be well worth the extra 6k. Both are limited; 959 for the world edition and 359 for the U.S./Boutique edition.

There will be two versions, the regular Limited Edition (up on top) and a U.S. version (down here) than can be purchased exclusively in the U.S. or boutiques around the world. Originally the Deep Sea was released in the US under the "leCoultre" brand since because of legal issues they could not use their full name and "Jaeger" had to be left out. Personally I choose the U.S. version. It just looks more "vintage" despite being busier on the dial. Even if the high price could be a deterrent (as well as being a bit small for a sports activity watch with 40mm) this one could be the a piece to consider.

As described before the "Tribute to Reverso" is quite a piece. Perfect size, impeccable proportions, elegant, well balanced, comfortable and above all iconic.

This Tribute will fit medium to large size wrists. The price is going to be just north of 5,000€ a bit steep but probably pre-adjusted for the several upcoming price hikes due to the Swiss Frank going through the roof and ever rising gold prices. That is a problem that those in EU countries will feel in their wallets in no time soon. Anyway, not much more can be said since seeing it in the flesh is well worth a little detour. As with most Reversos there are two versions, steel and rose gold. Rose gold limited to 500 units and mesmerizing enamel version limited to 100 pieces.

The crown jewel of this year is the Reverso repeater "a Rideao". What a stunner! Apart from doing away with that ugly classic repeater trigger this Reverso is actually smaller than the Gyro 2 or the Triptyque. Unfortunately, this Reverso was only to been seen as a prototype and god knows I am not for judging according to prototypes. What I can say is that the system to arm the repetition is quite more pleasant and less "fiddly" than the classic trigger. Finishes, as with all high-end pieces by Jaeger, will be beyond reproach. I will not give more details until I have a production model in my hands. Although I must admit that from a distance the piece looks very promising.

Apart from the stars the Ultra Thin Moon is also a piece to be taken into consideration, like the new Compressor ceramic chrono and the new version of the Navy Seals chrono. Unfortunately these pieces will be presented at a later stage and official pictures will not be released until then. I guess that leaving a little for later will keep the specialized press occupied. I see a strategy to present stuff in the end of March perhaps to steal some of the Basel World's show. The last five years at Jaeger have been at such a competitive push that once the pace has been normalized the presentation seemed a bit gray. However, it is simply impossible to sustain such a level of developments for that many years. Sooner or later that could be the very reason of your downfall. Consolidating and reducing the number of models should be a primary concern in these days especially for manufactures with over 1100 different references in their catalogue.


Belligero said...

Thanks for another great post, Dario. I'm always keen to read your insights and opinions - you seem to have the best sense of discernment I've come across so far.

Velociphile said...

Thanks D.
And good to see JLC return to correctly balanced bezel thicknesses too from their foray into uberbezels.