Jaeger-LeCoultre is offering a curated selection of vintage watches from within its extensive collection in an ongoing series called The Collectibles.
Timed to coincide with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 190th anniversary, the online offerings will represent “rare and sought-after timepieces that represent high-water marks for both Jaeger-LeCoultre and 20th-century watchmaking,” according to the watchmaker.
Every watch offered through The Collectibles will be vetted by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s own historical experts and will include models considered as close as possible to their original condition. The watches will also be fully serviced and restored in the Manufacture’s restoration workshop.
“Being able to restore these remarkable timepieces and offer them once again is a nice tribute to our current environment, in which sustainability and second lives have come to the fore,” says Catherine Rénier, Jaeger-Lecoultre CEO. “It is fantastic to see fifty-or eighty-year-old pieces given a new life.”
Jaeger-LeCoultre is making the series available via its website and will also create small, ‘capsule’ collections of the vintage pieces that will tour the world.
The Collectibles debuts with seventeen watches, thought several have already been sold. The watchmaker will add new models to the series as they are restored by its in-house experts.
First up are restored examples of the watchmaker’s Geophysic, a Memovox Parking, a Master Mariner Deep Sea and a Shark Deep Sea. Each watch will be sold with an extract from the Jaeger-LeCoultre archives, a new watch strap and a complimentary copy of The Collectibles coffee-table book. And when available, the watch’s original box and papers, strap or bracelet will be included.
Zenith unveils the second model in its collection of faithfully reproduced early Defy models with the Defy Revival A3691, a sharp-looking 37mm steel watch with a glossy red gradient dial that echoes the original from 1971.
You might recall the first revival of the historic Defy series a few years ago when Zenith launched the Defy A3642. That debut recalled the original 1969 Zenith debut watch fans quickly dubbed the “bank vault” due to its thick 37mm octagonal case and fourteen-sided bezel.
This newest addition to the revival series retains the Defy fourteen-sided bezel set in an octagonal case. Zenith launched the original Defy A3691 model two years after the original ‘Bank Vault’ edition and with it introduced new colorful dials with a vignette or gradient effect that darkens towards the edges.
Like the original, the new Revival A3691 also features unusual applied square hour markers with horizontal grooves and the Gay Frères steel ladder bracelet. Zenith says the bracelet has been updated with a more modern and ergonomic folding clasp.
The differences between the original model and the new revival are largely technical. Thenew edition now utilizes a sapphire crystal, SuperLuminova-coated hands and a new Zenith Elite 670 automatic movement, which boasts a fifty-hour power reserve.
Also new is the sapphire caseback, which allows a view of the movement and its four-point Zenith star rotor. And, despite the new clear back, Zenith has retained the watch’s healthy 300-meter water resistance rating.
Zenith adds the new Defy Revival A3691 to the ongoing Defy collection. Price: $6,900.
Specifications: Zenith Defy Revival A3691
Movement: Zenith Elite 670 automatic, 4 Hz frequency, power reserve of 50 hours. Star-shaped rotor with satin finish.
Case: 37mm steel, 300-meters of water resistance.
Dial: Ruby color gradient with rhodium-plated and faceted hour markers and hands, hands coated with SuperLuminova.
Bracelet: Gay Frères ladder-style with updated folding clasp.
TAG Heuer launches a special edition, gold-cased Carrera chronograph with a debut dial design that echoes the famed Heuer reference 1158 CHN. Collectors might also spy a two-tone color palette of the John Player Special livery from Formula 1 in the 1970s and 1980s.
The new TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph sports a 42mm yellow gold case with matching gold pushers and crown. Its impressive black sunray brushed dial plays nicely with prominent gilded dial elements. The most spectacular of these elements are the two gilded gold chronograph sub-dials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. TAG Heuer also plates the hands and indexes with matching yellow gold to heighten the retro luxury factor of the entire piece.
Through the clear sapphire back TAG Heuer makes visible its own Calibre Heuer 02, which is decorated with a customized black oscillating mass. With a vertical clutch and column wheel, the movement provides a power reserve of an impressive eighty hours. Finally, TAG Heuer matches the gold watch with a black alligator strap with a gold pin buckle.
When I decided to write my book, ‘Timepieces, a Lifelong Love and Passion,’ I made a commitment to give away proceeds from book sales. Naturally, since I’m passionate about watches, I thought that I should look into donating to an organization within this field. After some research, I found something quite interesting.
In 1945, Joseph Bulova’s son Arde founded The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking. Arde Bulova “wished to repay, in some small measure, the sacrifice and service of returning disabled veterans after the Second World War.”
The goal of the school was to provide training and rehabilitation for these heroes. The watchmaking school helped train an entire generation of American watchmakers — entirely tuition-free. I found this to be a very honorable endeavor but I was not sure if the organization was still in operation.
After further research, I discovered that the original Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking closed in 1993. However, it was revived a few years ago and renamed the ‘Veterans Watchmaker Initiative’ or VWI.
The goal of VWI remains the same: to provide tuition-free training, support, and referral services to wounded veterans returning from war.
Since I greatly admire this initiative, I decided that the money from my book sales would be donated to VWI to help train these true heroes — to give hope not only to the students but to their families and communities too.
After almost three years between writing the book, publishing it, and selling it, I was ready to go and meet with the organization to make my first donation. I was also curious to meet the team behind VWI.
My meeting was set up for a personal visit at their location in Odessa, Delaware, where I was to meet Sam Cannan, the head of the organization, and some of the staff, teachers, and students. I did not know what to expect, but now I can say it was a wonderful experience.
While the school’s philosophy is no doubt beautiful on paper, meeting veterans Cameron Garrish, Ben Herring, Tanner Caraway, Marc Clodfelter, Joey Tucker, Eric Perciado, Chris Tullis and listening to their stories was very emotional, honorable, humbling, and rewarding.
As you can imagine, all these guys have had a tough life — before, during, and after the wars they served in. I could feel each of them wanting to succeed in becoming a watchmaker and looking forward to starting a new life.
I could sense as much pride from the students as from the teachers.
I attended a class with teacher Don Morton and witnessed the spirit of the team, as well as the individual attention given to each student.
The school has a high percentage of success and most students are hired even before graduating and getting their certifications. Some graduates will take their first career steps at prestigious companies like Tiffany & Co.
In addition to the training operation, VWI is also a repair center for Bulova watches. A new building is currently being prepared to stock and manage all the watch parts inventory.
Sam Cannan and his team, including Debbie Katzmire, worked tirelessly to secure and renovate the building. They also managed to source the equipment and tools, most of which are donated by universities, from watch brands, and individuals.
The organization is the fantastic result of a team working to make goals a reality. The VWI also benefits from board members like Michael Benavente (Managing Director of Bulova and Accutron) and Diane James (Director of Strategic Brands at Watchbox), who bring their watch industry experience and expertise.
The watch industry needs more watchmakers, and an organization like the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative can solve this shortage problem. The school is currently training seven people to become watchmakers, though this number could easily be increased with more support from the watch community and industry.
The Veteran Watchmaker Initiative is a very transparent organization; I even saw their statements to see where funds are allocated and the cost of operations.
During my visit I saw a vibrant and refreshing company dedicated to the good of our society and its people — and this was a wonderful feeling. It also reminds us that veterans have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and our contribution will never fully pay back their service.
Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his site at www.laurentfinewatches.com.
Watch and jewelry retailer Wempe celebrates the 35th anniversary of its U.S. President Ruediger “Rudy” Albers with a special exhibition of watches from Wempe’s museum collection in Hamburg.
On exhibit during October at Wempe in New York, the celebratory selection includes vintage Wempe timepieces, watches from the 1980s and co-branded limited editions.
Albers started his tenure with the German-based retailer in 1987 as a master watchmaker at the Wempe store in Hamburg and transferred to its New York location a year later.
Named president of Wempe U.S. in 2002, Albers has been instrumental in the long-running success of Wempe in the United States. The retailer in the U.S. earns more than 100 million dollars in annual sales and has been the company’s top boutique worldwide for the past twenty-five years.
Under Albers’ leadership the U.S. arm of the brand has launched an ecommerce platform and has expanded its New York boutique three times to create its current 5,500-square-feet space on Fifth Avenue. In addition, Albers spearheaded the opening of the first Rolex stand-alone U.S. boutique in 2012. Operated by Wempe, the store is inside the Rolex Building in New York, also on Fifth Avenue.
“Rudy is simply the heart of Wempe New York,” says Kim-Eva Wempe, Owner and Managing Director of Wempe Jewelers. “He has the keen ability to make anyone walking through the door feel like family and leads his team, many of whom have been with him for at least a decade, some even two, in that same manner.”
The celebratory watches on exhibit at Wempe include timepieces from Patek Philippe, Chopard, A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier and Wempe.