When you think of Jaeger-LeCoultre you probably think of slim, classically styled dress watches that harken the Art Deco era. The 1931 release of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso distinguished the brand as a marque of high society, having tailored their most beloved creation’s design around the rigors of a polo match. The Reverso is still popular, but this Richemont-owned brand has a lot more than just one model to offer. Making us wonder about the investment value of Jaeger LeCoultre watches.
Some of the most impressive watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre are super-complicated mechanisms, boasting functions such as perpetual calendars, extremely accurate moon-phase displays, and deadbeat seconds indicators that ‘tick’ instead of sweep you’d expect from a mechanical watch.
Mechanics In the Blood
None of this should come as a surprise when we delve into the brand’s history to discover that Jaeger-LeCoultre – or, more specifically, LeCoultre – has its roots in movement manufacture. This level of expertise is what underpins the brand’s reputation. Having supplied movements to Cartier in the early 20th century, the legend of the two names, Jaeger and LeCoultre, has grown and grown since they first appeared on a dial together in 1937.
So what effect has this storied history had on the investment value of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches? As mentioned, Jaeger-LeCoultre is a Richemont brand (one of the major conglomerate luxury groups that tend to define the global landscape of watchmaking as they navigate the consumer minefield like tectonic giants, ponderously warring for new ground).
Group brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Baume & Mercier, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Montblanc, Piaget, and Panerai (all Richemont), Omega, Longines, Rado, Breguet, and Blancpain (Swatch Group), and TAG Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith (LVMH) to name but a few (seriously), are in a pretty strong position when it comes to attracting the long term investor. Why? Because they can more confidently guarantee their future existence. It’s tough for many smaller brands – especially those reliant on group-owned manufacturing companies like Nivarox for supply – to say with absolute certainty that they will be around in thirty years time to service the investment piece they’re trying to sell you today.
Additionally, their long histories, excellent record keeping, and the retention of a cachet of highly trained artisans makes faithful refurbishment a bankable option therefore increasing the investment value of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches.
The truth is that most watches, regardless of brand, will depreciate in value over time as they age. As this report shows, the average depreciation is 41% for a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master, BUT, that performance places it third, behind only Patek Philippe and Rolex’s examples submitted to this test.
What we’re really asking here is that do some of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s pieces blow the record books to bits when they go under the hammer? The answer is unequivocally yes. The above report deliberately excludes ultra-iconic pieces, because it unfairly favours the brands that have ultra-iconic pieces. Fortunately for Jaeger-LeCoultre, they do.
As one of the most respected brands, with one of the most sought-after and enduring designs in the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the better places to put your money. Especially if you want to look good in the process…
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.