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May 2017

Jaeger LeCoutre

The Jaeger-LeCoultre’s name is synonymous with precision. Hundreds of chronograph movements have, in their own way, made history since the company was awarded a gold medal at London’s Great Exhibition in 1851. Its most recent award has come from The Responsible Jewellery Council for its commitment to its ethical, social and environmental standards.

And there lies a parallel: HS Wood Flooring is also concerned with both precision and protecting the environment.

HS Wood Flooring were called in to make good the showroom floor of Jaeger-Lecoultre in Bond Street, London. The old floor that had been laid was vainly trying to mimic the pattern of the skylight over the showcases but the cuts between the brass strips weren’t good enough and the subfloor was uneven so some of the panels were moving around. The subfloor was partly responsible for this so the floor had to be torn up, the subfloor levelled and new, laser-cut panels fitted precisely into the brass framework on the floor.

The floor panels were oak treated with a special lacquer to lighten the oak colour. HS Wood Flooring found that, despite the laser cutting, most of the panels did not fit comfortably into their allotted spaces, so they were shaved and sanded to fit exactly.

However, when the work was complete, there were tiny inconsistencies of colour and level of the panels in some places, so it was agreed that the whole area should be sanded using a dust-free sanding machine. Once the wood and the brass rails were perfectly level, a newly formulated lacquer applied that not only gave added protection but brought cohesion to the whole floor.

The other problems that had to overcome were time and security issues. The work could only take place at night as the showroom had to be open to shoppers during the day. It was also, imperative to do the work accurately but in a timely manner; the disruption had to be kept to a minimum. During this process, the fitting team were closely watched by the security guards. Each night they would decide how much they could get done and only remove the panels that they would be able to replace by the morning.

 

 

The Jaeger-Lecoultre story

The company was founded by Antoine LeCoultre in a small workshop in Le Sentier, Switzerland, in 1833. Today, Le Sentier is the luxury watchmakers equivalent of Silicon Valley to the IT industry: Gérald Genta, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, to name just three, are located there. He invented hundreds of chronograph movements and 128 different parts for chronographs, 99 of which had repeater (audible chime) functions.

In 1903, his grandson, Jacques-David, responded to a challenge by a watchmaker to the French Navy, Edmond Jaeger, that gave us the ultra-thin pocket watch. In 1907, he produced the thinnest watch in the world. The collaboration between the two men was formalised into Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937.

 

Precision workmanship with environmental responsibility

The wristwatch you are wearing owes much to the prodigious inventor of watchmaking movements, Antoine LeCoultre. He founded a small workshop in Le Sentier, Switzerland, in 1833. Today, Le Sentier is the luxury watchmakers equivalent of Silicon Valley to the IT industry: Gérald Genta, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, to name just three, are located there.

 

Innovation and precision

Antoine LeCoultre’s name is synonymous with precision. He invented hundreds of chronograph movements also the machines to manufacture them and was awarded a gold medal at London’s Great Exhibition in 1851. By 1900, he had invented 128 different parts for chronographs, 99 of which had repeater (audible chime) functions.

In 1903, his grandson, Jacques-David, responded to a challenge by a watchmaker to the French Navy, Edmond Jaeger, that gave us the ultra-thin pocket watch. In 1907, he produced the thinnest watch in the world. The collaboration between the two men was formalised to Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937.

 

 

Perpetual motion clock

In 1928, Jaeger-LeCoultre acquired the patents for one of the most extraordinary timepieces of all time, The Atmos. Invented by Jean-Léon Reutter and was the nearest mechanism to perpetual motion ever. The energy was provided by a capsule filled with temperature-sensitive gases whereby a deviation of 1ºC of the ambient temperature would enable the clock to keep perfect time for two days. Known for its accuracy; the moon phase model, for example, deviates by a day in 3821 years.

 

The world smallest watch

In 1929, Jaeger-LeCoultre presented the world with the smallest watch ever. It had 74 parts and weighed just one gram. Queen Elizabeth wore the Joaillerie 101 at her coronation in 1953.

 

Collector pieces

There have been several other ingenious watches and clocks by Jaeger-LeCoultre: The ‘Reverso’ that swivelled so the glass was next to the wrist exposing only the steel back (considered a classic of Art Deco design), 1931; The Deep Sea Memovox that reminded deep sea divers to come to the surface. 1950; The Futurematic, the world’s first totally automatic watch, 1951. Collectors will be able to add considerably to this list.

Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre is honoured by The Responsible Jewellery Council for its commitment to its ethical, social and environmental standards.

The company has some of the most beautiful showrooms in the luxury market in London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Geneva, Florence, Venice and Singapore.

 

HS Wood Flooring – a complementary ethos

So, at last, one can understand why HS Wood Flooring was commissioned to rip up a poorly laid floor in its prestigious Bond Street showroom and fit precisely-cut, ethically sourced timber to match the ceiling light above the showcase. Even though the shapes were laser-cut to fit between brass rails, the team hard to shave then to make them fit exactly. The work could only be done at night, at speed and under the strict security; it was an imperative that the showroom was open for business every day without a break. It was hard and intensive work but a great honour to be recognised by Jaeger-LeCoultre as a company with a complementary ethos close to its own.

 

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