INSIDE JAEGER-LECOULTRE, THE WATCHMAKER’S WATCHMAKER

Gear Patrol

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In the 1800s, the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland was a day’s journey from the big city of Geneva in the best weather, and isolated for months when the mountain snows came. Farmers idle in the winter turned to watchmaking — a skill passed over the border from France — cutting and grinding tiny gears by the waning light through big south-facing windows, completing a watch or two by spring. Soon the valley had a reputation for producing some of the finest watches in the world, brought down each spring to sell in Geneva. One of those who wintered in the valley, Antoine LeCoultre, hung a watchmaking shingle outside of his farmhouse in 1833. Today that farmhouse still stands, surrounded by the modern wings and annexes of a watchmaking powerhouse:Jaeger-LeCoultr

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