Jaeger-LeCoultre’s long time relationship with the Venice Film Festival is marked, each year, with special launches. In 2017, the brand presented a series of three limited edition Rendez-Vous pieces to celebrate their Métiers Rares (Rare Handcrafts) workshop. With a focus on the theme of l’amour, the three models in this Rendez-Vous Sonatina series represent seduction, romance, and love, with each released as a limited edition of eight pieces.
The opening of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first Australian boutique in Sydney at the end of last year has brought with it not only a wider availability of pieces but also a changing showcase at the back of the boutique, and the opportunity for pieces that hitherto had not been available here, to come. The ‘Romance’ member of this triumverate is one such piece, and the focus of today’s post.
In each of the three models in this series, the upper dials are hand-painted guilloché mother-of-pearl and on the ‘focal point’ of the dial as it were, there is a miniature painting on mother-of-pearl. Some parts of the painting, such as the birds, are coated with a layer of clear lacquer to add an impression of depth. Because they are hand painted, each Métiers Rares ‘Rare Handcrafts’ dial is unique even if from the same limited series.
This model is, as mentioned, ‘Romance’, the second in the series.
The first is the Rendez-Vous Sonatina ‘Séduction’, which features two swallows soaring over a field of lavender across a guilloché mother-of-pearl sky. It has a flower-shaped aperture housing the day/ night indicator.
This Sonatina ‘Romance’ has a painting of a kingfisher perched on the branch of a blossoming cherry tree. It is a play of contrasts between the vivid avian plumage and the softer colours of the cherry blossoms. Regardless of whether this style of watch (or decoration) is your personal preference, the skill of the artist who painted the dial is clear.
Coming in a pink gold 38.2mm sized case, the bezel is bedecked with brilliant-cut diamonds, and stones also frame the painted portion of the dial which has the classic Rendez-Vous day/ night indication. The crown at 2 o’clock adjusts the star – or as Jaeger-LeCoultre like to call it, the ‘rendezvous time’, which comes with a chime. The other crown is for adjusting the time and day/ night indicator.
After ‘Romance’ comes ‘Amour’, which features two magpies flying over a patch of peonies. The ubiquity of magpies within Australian life and in the national psyche actually makes me want to see this piece as well.
Inside ‘Romance’ is the automatic Calibre 735, which beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of 40 hours.
Coming on an alligator leather with folding clasp (and an interchangeable strap system), the References are Q359 24 P1 for ‘Séduction, Q359 24 C1 for ‘Amour’, and Q359 24 T1 for this ‘Romance’ model. Or to make it easier you could just visit the boutique now it is here.
I saw this piece a matter of days ago. So much has changed in Sydney and across the world in the interim. If these three pieces are an ‘ode to love’ then what comes next? During this period of indoor isolation (self-imposed or otherwise) people are no doubt finding out (perhaps, watch-wise, it might be a chronograph, for timing everything from hand washing to the structure of each day or even when a reasonable time has passed before you raid the snack supply again), but deriving pleasure from beauty is always a welcome thing.