A while ago now we used our regular focus on underrated vintage models to highlight the all-too-often forgotten Jaeger-LeCoultre Futurematic. It’s a watch that I now own, which given the latest news I’m pretty happy about. That’s because Jaeger-LeCoultre themselves are now highlighting some of the most collectible models in their history with the…Jaeger-LeCoultre The Collectibles series. Well, at least the watches are inventive.
The collection of 17 museum pieces ranges from the miniscule Duoplan with it’s incredible calibre 101, to weirder, 70s watches like the Polaris Snowdrop, a big, chunky block of gold. Of course, there’s also a Reverso, in particular a 1931 original with a rare blue dial. It’s an important collection and while not as extensive as the historical collections of other brands, offers a glimpse – and accompanying coffee table book – into why Jaeger-LeCoultre watches should be a lot more sought-after than they perhaps are.
As I alluded to, one of the pieces featured in the collection is a Futurematic, which is useful because The Collectibles book acts as a reference guide to the different variations that were available. Mine, for example, was made for the American market, as denoted by the font and wording on the dial. It’s fun, in an incredibly geeky way. I love it.
So why just 17 watches in the collection? Simple. After winnowing out the non-key pieces at one end and the unobtainable ones at the other, these are the landmark pieces whose removal would alter the story of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
However, perhaps more important is that while the 17 pieces in the book aren’t for sale, a capsule collection of 12 restored watches is. In a similar vein to what Vacheron have been doing for years now – and to a much lesser extent Rolex’s pre-owned service – the concept is to offer desirable pieces that you can trust to be authentic.
These pieces are restored, but with a nod to their heritage. So everything is kept original, patinas are maintained and they’ve simply been given a new lease of life. Given how pristine some of these pieces are, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s team did some damn fine hunting. Highlights include a fantastic aqua Memovox Polaris II, a tortoise Reverso with an unbeatable tropical-adjacent patina and the Memovox Automatic Calendar with its so-called ‘Lapis’ dial. It’s not lapis; that’s age.
For their provenance and quality, they’re also not too badly priced. The Polaris II is priced at £23,500, the ‘Lapis’ at £29,800 and that breath-taking Reverso at £37,300. Sure, they’re not cheap, but they shouldn’t be. They’re horological relics.
If none of these models are to your taste, I wonder about your sanity. But also, don’t worry too much as the saleable Collectibles will be regularly updated with new drops. Potentially they’ll be themed around a model, decade or era of Jaeger-LeCoultre, but for now we’ll have to wait and see what shakes out.
At the very least, it’s given my Futurematic a bit of buzz.
Check out the full Jaeger-LeCoultre The Collectibles collection here.