Recently, in an article I wrote for Elite Traveler magazine, I discussed the fact that in the world of watchmaking, “a visionary and pioneering spirit has become the ubiquitous hallmark of upper echelon brands.”
The concept here is that as more and more brands cater to the needs of their customers and potential customers, they are finding that offering customization (at all levels) has become a new, personalized service that shouldn’t be overlooked. Let’s not forget that some of the most famous, most complicated and most beautiful timepieces in history were built as customized orders for certain people.
That concept of one-offs and customized designs is not always easy to pull off in the watch industry. Granted some brands can do it via hand-enameled special-order dials, while others go all out and work on reconfiguring customized movements for the uber-wealthy. Others have found their own “custom” niche.
Such is the case with Jaeger-LeCoultre that has unveiled this year its new Atelier Reverso program to mark the 85th anniversary of the legendary reversible watch. The new program enables anyone to design his or her own watch from the existing case, strap and movement choices.
At first glance, the concept is easy: offer the Reverso Duo and the Reverso Duetto watch models, a host of strap colors, some different dial options and the ability to engrave a caseback if wanted. Mix these into one program, make it accessible to the consumer and —voila – a personalized custom-designed watch emerges. Of course, as I stated, at first glance, the concept is easy.
However, this is no easy feat to accomplish. Not for the brand or the customer. With more choices than a simple strap change or engraving, the new program offers up a host of endless possibilities, as well as a host of decisions. After all, selecting a watch exactly the way you want it takes a great deal of thought – it will be yours, designed by you, for a long time.
So, then, where is the difficulty for the manufacture? The answer lies in the selection of choices and in the artisanry. With the new Atelier system, the brand has had to cull through its many wonderful options and ultimately decide on the final choices to offer. It has done a magnificent job. Dial choices include a host colors, different numeral choices (including diamond markers), gemstone adornments, and even the choice of a special ivy motif. Colors range from hues of delicate pink, to enticing shades of dark blue, magnetic grays, reds and browns. Depending on the model and size of the Reverso watch selected, the possibilities are endless for both men and women.
Additionally, a buyer can order an elaborate caseback engraving that the masters in Le Sentier will execute willingly and masterfully. This option goes beyond a simple engraved initial, and offers intensely thrilling works of art stemmed only the imagination of the buyer.
Also with the introduction of the Atelier Reverso this year, the brand also marks new Louboutin strap choices available to the female buyer. Again, in celebration of the 85th anniversary of Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre joined forces with famed footwear designer Christian Louboutin – who created several amazing new straps that deftly reflect his immediately identifiable, glamorous designs. So for those who are looking for a special watch – and maybe who have always dreamed of a Louboutin show – this may be the year to become your own designer.
The Atelier Reverso will open in select Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques this spring.