Music be the muse
For Janek Deleskiewicz, every Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece has its own music. “The Reverso Cordonnet Duetto is a Schumann cavalier, whereas the Gyrotourbillon would be equal to a Beethoven symphony," says the watchmaker’s long-serving artistic director. “By using the simple expression of time in the context of music, you realise its character – be it a nice simple thing or perhaps very big and complicated."
Deleskiewicz who is himself an accomplished musician – he plays the saxophone at numerous Jaeger-LeCoultre events – says his approach to design is borne from the really great and sometimes otherworldly experiences which he’s had around the world. “For some reason, when you play Schumann, the dogs cry … they have their own sensibilities and are perhaps touched by the bitterness and sadness in the melody," Deleskiewicz shares. “I love when there is an emotion transmitted by a product. My father was an officer in the English army and used to wear black shoes – it was something which I also wanted to wear growing up."
His involvement in the design of Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces for over a quarter of century has granted him plenty of insights into a world of inspiration. “You see some very strange things when you’re on the streets, airports and shopping centres. I visited Hong Kong a lot when I was younger and now, when I open my dryer, the smell of cleaning and humidity somehow reminds me of the place," he says. All of these stimuli is then channelled into the fantastical designs of Jaeger-LeCoultre. “It’s important for us that we give people something which is better than the normal. We think of Jaeger-LeCoultre as coming from a wonderful world."
“The youngest designer at Jaeger-LeCoultre today – who is 25 years old – was not even born when I began my career there in 1988," Deleskiewicz says, with a laugh. He remembers designing the Reverso for its 60th anniversary and also the Reverso Duetto in 1995. The latter became popular for its two faces which could enable a transition from a day watch to an evening timepiece, without it ever leaving your wrist. This year, the manufacture pays tribute to the iconic Reverso, celebrating the collection’s 85th anniversary with a suite of models through the Reverso One, Reverso Classic and Reverso Tribute.
It also established Atelier Reverso, offering greater personalisation to create something truly unique through a choice of dials, materials and design, gem-set hour-markers and a choice of straps with options of calfskin, alligator, ostrich and satin. “I think the world is changing in that young people – including my daughter – want very specific and individualised expressions," Deleskiewicz says. “Atelier Reverso addresses this new generation."