Fresh from a Himalayan adventure, the extreme LAB watches made quite an impact, Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Jerome Lambert tells Mitrajit Bhattacharya
2009 has been a bad year for the industry.
Yes, very much. Though 2009 has been an unpleasant year for the industry, we’re well on our path to recovery.
You’ve taken forward the Extreme LAB concept. What do you think of the entire Himalayan expedition, where Extreme LAB was one of the watches used?
We did the tests on our watches and they proved strong enough to withstand extreme unfavourable climatic conditions. The success of the expedition vouches for our watches. We also got the flag of Jaeger- LeCoultre hoisted on Antoine LeCoultre Peak. So, we have for us a little bit of the Himalaya.
It might be a bit of the Himalaya, but it’s a big story for the brand, right?
Yes, very much. And we are indeed very proud of it.
How important is the Extreme LAB as a concept to Jaeger LeCoultre?
Very-very important. The new Master Compressor Extreme LAB 2, a mechanical Chronograph with GMT function, is especially developed for use in the most extreme environments. This model is a rightful heir to one of the manufacture’s emblematic watches, the 1958 Chronomètre Geophysic. As such, it has an undeniable link with the Master Compressor line, which in the house of Jaeger-LeCoultre stands for die-hard-sports watches with innovative functions and thoroughly tested mechanisms. The newly developed Calibre 781 reflects the mastery of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watchmaking in full bloom. With its range of application in mind, sports and exploration, the watch is built to resist extreme conditions – from the boiling heat of hot deserts to icy storms on high mountains – thereby delivering the highest possible levels of precision and reliability. With the new Master Compressor Extreme LAB 2 Tribute to Geophysic, Jaeger-LeCoultre proves impressively that its watches are made for the extremes, a field requiring technical mastery, innovative spirit and high watchmaking, precisely the DNA of the Master Compressor line. The Himalayan expedition just proves it.
Can you tell us a bit about the Heritage Gallery and the Manufacture?
There’s an exhibition held each year at the Heritage Gallery. This year the theme was sound and precision, and Jaeger-LeCoultre won the first two prizes of the first ever chronometer contest held in 30 years. The prizes will be kept in the Gallery. This is an important part of our history.
Coming to India as a market, last time when I met you, you said it’s Indians who comprise a large percentage of buyers of your highend watches. What are your doing for the market?
That’s true. We’ve a strong presence on the ground in India. Our aim’s to hold an yearly event in the country to showcase our high-end watches.
Are you planning to have a boutique in India like Cartier?
Yes. Although, the big difference is that Cartier has been around for some years; while we’ve been around in India only since the last 10 years! We’re travelling across the country, learning, and building up on our knowledge base.
So, when are we seeing you next in India?
Just as we do a big event each year, we plan to make a stop this year as well in India.