The worlds of film and watchmaking are infused with the same creative effervescence that is inspired by tradition and a quest for excellence. Little surprise then that Jaeger-LeCoultre has found it shares common values and a shared mission with the global cinema industry.
For more than a decade, Jaeger-LeCoultre has shown its dedication to the art of film-making through a continued support that sees it sponsor some of the world’s most revered film festivals, from Venice to Shanghai. The Swiss watchmaker, which has been crafting authentic and unique timepieces since 1833, is also determined to promote and increase the appreciation and preservation of film the world over.
“Haute horlogerie and the worlds of cinema and photography share common values: both create dreams and a sense of wonder through aesthetic and technical mastery,” says Jaeger-LeCoultre chief executive Daniel Riedo. “Jaeger-LeCoultre draws upon the talent of its many artisans to create exceptional watch objects, just as it takes talented writers, directors, actors and technicians to produce a work of film-making art. It is all about two worlds infused with creative ingenuity.”
Based in Vallée de Joux, Jaeger-LeCoultre has for nearly two centuries been a leader in its field and today carries on the inventive spirit of founder Antoine LeCoultre. The company is credited with a host of ground-breaking inventions in the art of watchmaking and its current collections are as surprising as they are sophisticated. Timeless timepieces apart, the company helps promote and create dreams through its support of the annual global parade of film festivals, and the institutions around them.
The Venice International Film Festival is the world’s oldest and arguably most elegant. The star power on the red carpet never fails to amaze and this year’s awards enjoyed a particularly high fashion element, with designer Tom Ford claiming the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize for Nocturnal Animals, a thriller starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is Ford’s second feature-length movie.
Away from the klieg lights and high-octane social scene, Jaeger-LeCoultre has helped undertake important restoration work at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. The building has been a constant since 1478 when wealthy Venetians decided on a monument to mark the city’s escape from the plague.
The decision by the followers of the cult of San Rocco, or Saint Roch, to build an official headquarters and to engage the artist Tintoretto to create the works that would fill the walls and ceilings of the building was an inspiring one. Their foresight saw the building completed almost 100 years later and the creation of an artistic legacy where more than 60 paintings are preserved in their original setting.
The scuola is active today, maintaining its charitable duties as well as looking after its extraordinary artistic heritage. While the building remains largely unchanged in the 500-plus years it has stood at the heart of the city, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s sponsorship has allowed the lighting system in the Sala dell’Albergo to be overhauled and a cleaning of the marble in the Sala Capitolare to be undertaken.
This year was the 12th that Jaeger-LeCoultre partnered with the Venice International Film Festival, a relationship the company regards as one of its most significant. The event is always celebrated by a limited release. This year, the grande maison unveiled its latest jewellery watch creations, paying tribute to femininity in a line inspired by the electrifying atmosphere of the City of the Doges. The pieces include the Reverso One High Jewellery, Rendez-Vous Moon and Rendez-Vous Secret.
A constant at the most important film festivals and particularly Venice is the Glory to the Filmmaker Award by Jaeger-LeCoultre, an honour recognising an artist who has bought innovation to contemporary cinema. In the past it has been claimed by Takeshi Kitano, Abbas Kiarostami, Agnès Varda, Sylvester Stallone, Mani Ratnam, Al Pacino, Spike Lee, Ettore Scola, James Franco and Brian de Palma. This year, the award went to Amir Naderi.
Elsewhere in Europe, Jaeger-LeCoultre boasts a proud association with the Académie André Delvaux and the Magritte Awards, which celebrate the creativity and diversity of Belgian cinema.
In 2013, Jaeger-LeCoultre cemented its support of a new generation of filmmakers by joining forces with the Film Society of Lincoln Centre, the organisers of the New York Film Festival, to create a Filmmaker in Residence programme. The initiative is designed to support filmmakers at an early stage in the creative process against the backdrop of New York and the New York Film Festival, with winners including Athina Rachel Tsangari (Chevalier), Lisandro Alonso (Jauja), Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) and Alice Rohrwacher (My Bitter Land).
At this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, the Glory to the Filmmaker Award was presented to award-winning French cinematographer and artist Maryse Alberti. Alberti is one of the most notable female cinematographers in the United States and her recent works include Collateral, starring Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Edward Norton, and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit.
“We’re thrilled to shine a light on legendary cinematographer Maryse Alberti and all female directors of photography working in film and television,” says Los Angeles Film Festival director Stephanie Allain.
In Hong Kong, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been a significant force for good in the cinema industry. The brand is currently in the midst of a three-year sponsorship of The Society for the Academy for Performing Arts, which helps to raise funds for the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
The annual Academy Ball, organised by SAPA, raises funds for students and the school. At a single gala dinner last year, as much as HK$7 million was raised to support the arts. Some of those funds were directed to student scholarships, with one of the most sought-after being the Jaeger-LeCoultre Performing Arts Scholarship. The scholarships are awarded each year to six outstanding students from the six schools at the Academy.
And the brand’s influence carries over to the mainland, where Jaeger-LeCoultre has been an official partner of the Shanghai International Film Festival since 2011.
Through this partnership, Jaeger-LeCoultre works to protect Chinese cinematographic heritage by funding the restoration of old movies. Ten classics have been restored in the past five years, with the process going beyond just repairing a film and instead offering a new interpretation of seminal works.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s close association with the best in film festivals around the world, with the art of film-making, with its support of film-makers is significant for its longevity and depth of connection.
It is a tangible reward for the dreamers and the dream-makers who contribute to creating and bringing to life the art of film-making. It also ensures the heritage of cinema lives on.