For the past three years, Lionel Favre has been helming the design team at JLC. Coming from a family of jeweler-craftsmen he trained as a jeweler and spent his early years in the trade of jewelry design in Paris. He was the design head of Chopard before moving to Roger Dubuis. Gaining an edge in product design he then moved to Jaeger Le-Coultre where he has been sculpting the brand’s century-old watchmaking techniques into new timepieces. Lionel Favre exclusively spoke to Luxurylaunches on the Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new timepieces for Watches and Wonders 2020.
What inspired you to become a watch designer?
My grandfather was a watchmaker. He had a boutique in the centre of France. When I was a child, I used to help him display the watches in the windows. I had to clean them before putting them in the window display and I therefore spent hours admiring each watch in detail. I think that is where my fascination with watches comes from. I very quickly realized that I would be a watch designer.
What is your favorite watch from all the launches at Watches and Wonders?
I would say it is the Master Control Chronograph Calendar with its new caliber with improved performance, its triple complication and elegant design. The dial design is very balanced and the new case with rectangular pushers adds a touch of modernity to the piece. This timepiece is the perfect balance between useful complications and contemporary design. But of course, we introduced more this year with the Date, the Calendar with the jumping date as well as the Geographic models.
When it comes to designing watches, what is it that sets JLC different from the brands that you have worked with?
Jaeger-LeCoultre is a unique Maison, a benchmark in the world of watchmaking. Our Maison masters all the stages of the creation of a watch, from the development to the manufacture of movements and cases: from the world’s smallest mechanical watch to the grandes complications and from the Atmos perpetual clock to jewelry creations.
From a design point of view, this wealth of expertise and savoir-faire, talent and experts under one roof encourages exchanges and gives an additional richness to the creative process.
Over the years you and your team have brought to life some wonderful time pieces. Any achievements you are particularly proud of?
It is very difficult to choose a particular watch. What makes us proud is to participate and continue to develop watches that respect the Jaeger-LeCoultre heritage, without distorting the style that others before us have shaped and passed on to us.
How will we see the Reverso evolve? Especially when it comes to complications.
We believe that Reverso is a collection that has enormous potential and for which we have great plans. This watch combines an exceptional history with an equally exceptional turning function. We have projects in the works that range from dial animation, over very large complications to rare craftsmanship. Both faces are unique and always very inspiring.
Will we ever see a digital JLC watch?
Never say never, but for the moment I am not convinced by this idea. We are legitimate in the design and innovation of mechanical movements and we want to remain faithful to the idea that the magic created and released by mechanical ingenuity and expertise is and will remain a vector of emotions.