There is nothing more fascinating than films with their magic, glamour and ability to weave a story that often goes straight into our hearts. Time stands still at times when you watch a movie that transcends excellence and if in real life, certain moments cannot be relived again, through a movie, you can watch a special scene that resonates with your heart and soul again and again, giving many moments of pleasure and emotion.
It has been over 10 years now that Jaeger-LeCoultre has been closely associated with the best film festivals around the world. It started with the Venice Film Festival and later included the notable Shanghai International Film Festival. This year sees the watch brand’s eighth year of partnership with the celebrated event, as well as the continuation of their joint project: the restoration of old films. It cannot be denied that the art of time and the universe of film have long been intertwined, and as such every year Jaeger-LeCoultre invests energy into this restoration project in the hope of passing on its valuable cultural heritage to future generations.
The 185th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre coincided with the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival, making this year’s event all the more special and significant. Filmmakers tell a story through their films while watchmakers tell their story through their beloved creations. Each requires painstaking dedication and a passion to put in their best. The watchmakers relate a fascinating journey from their origin, history, expertise and culture of the brand. Furthermore, great tales are transferred from the wearer to their beloved creations.
Six years ago, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the Rendez-Vous collection. This eighth year saw the Rendez-Vous Night & Day Tribute to Cinema making its appearance at the special exhibition during the festival. A limited edition of only 100 pieces, it comprises a rose gold case set with diamonds and the elegant white dial is highlighted with a dash of red at the Night & Day indicator, a replica of tender lights caressing your wrist. The gorgeous timepiece is not only a manifestation of fine watchmaking craftsmanship but also the perfect incarnation of femininity.
The gala was an unrivalled night with glorious decor, full of beautiful people and the rich and famous from all over the world. The red carpet saw acclaimed actresses in their enchanting gowns stepping out to the flashbulbs of camera lights. After picture-taking, it was a lovely walk into the venue where the themed Jaeger-LeCoultre exhibition was being held. We could hear “oohs and aahs” as the many historical pieces were viewed.
Then there were the newer watches that showed Jaeger’s savoir-faire, style and unrivalled expertise in complications and movements. It was a display of time that embodied the brand’s spirit. There even was a lovely wall where visitors could stand and imagine they were at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s headquarters in the Vallee de Joux and fun pictures could be taken where it looked like it was snowing in the white magical fairyland.
Soon it was time to enter the area where the gala dinner was to be held and the lovely ambience took everyone’s breath away.
The Maison showed its intention to continue its grand support of the film restoration project by presenting a classic timepiece to be auctioned at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival. All proceeds will be used to finance the next restorations of classic Chinese films that have left a mark on the history of cinema.
The specially crafted “Rendez-Vous Night & Day Tribute to Cinema Pièce Unique SIFF 2018” conveyed the spirit and artistic aesthetics of the Grande Maison, based in the Vallée de Joux, in the Swiss Jura Mountains. With a diamond-set rose gold case, red dial and alligator strap, it embodies the charisma of feminine mystique and style of elegance. The distinctive day & night indicator at six o’clock, sings an ode to the beauty of time and the engagement of Jaeger-LeCoultre with the cinema.
There were interesting performances on stage to honour and present time in unique ways. An old classic restored film could be seen playing on the big screens placed strategically in the area.
The celebrities of the night were also later introduced and this included the dashing Jing Boran and the lovely Ni Ni. This year the dinner was different and even more meaningful as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award, initiated with and for the Venice International Film Festival made its debut in China. This award honours pioneer filmmakers who have made breakthroughs in Chinese cinematics.
Cinema and watchmaking are said to share the values of the art of time and the imprint of style. The award went to none other than Joan Chen, acclaimed and admired for her acting and directing skills plus her contributions to the film industry.
Some of you may remember her from her role in The Last Emperor.
She was obviously a popular and clear choice for this award and her grace, elegance and charisma were evident for all to see when she went on stage to receive her award.
The feeling of anticipation and excitement also went up a notch when it was time for the auction. All for a good cause, the proceeds of this auction will help to ensure that more old films go through restoration, a costly process, but worth the money spent, as it keeps the memories alive. The movies transport us back to a time long past and give us an insight into the lives and preferences of our parents or grandparents. They also reveal gems of knowledge about the lifestyle and even fashion style of bygone days. One can’t help but applaud the generosity and far-sightedness of Jaeger-LeCoultre in supporting this effort of restoring old classic films.
The elegant new CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre was at the Shanghai Film Festival and she shared some insights on her new role and the film festival with us. Having the distinction of being the the only woman at the helm of a major Swiss luxury watch-only brand, an industry mainly dominated by men, makes this a huge achievement and all eyes will be on her as she brings the maison to its next level, beyond 185 years.
She started by saying that Joan Chen who sat at her table during the dinner was very emotional when they were playing the movies back from the 70s. Chen said it was a lot of emotions for her. She remembers how China first opened to to movie making back then … how important it was at that time. There was a lot of history behind, a lot of passion. Renier said she enjoyed the conversation and said, “Ii’s very important to do things that will last, to do things with depth … it was very meaningful for everyone around the table. Then there was the son of the director whose film they restored, “He was very happy and came to thank me, I didn’t restore the movie but definitely … I guess it was the symbol …that was very nice” she laughs charmingly.
She added, “ There was this exhibition in parallel we had this exhibition during the cocktail. It was exciting to see the people discovering the historical pieces, seeing the artists as well working. there was a nice parallel of history, craftsmanship on both sides, during the cocktail and later the gala dinner, celebrating patrimony for Jaeger and for Chinese Movie making. It was very meaningful and I hope you enjoyed the evening.”
Joan Chen was the first recipient for the Glory to The Filmmaker award and Renier share that it was quite an obviouc choice from the star, not something they had to deliberate for weak. On why it was done now, she said, “It’s a special year and the eight year and we wanted to go a step further and support. It is also 185th anniversary, and we wanted to go forward. It came sort of naturally ,,, we need to renew, give new meaning when we can.” She shared that it was very successful in Venice and they felt they should bring it here.
For Renier, when asked what was the most exciting thing about the whole event, she said. “A lot of things come to mind. But I was very excited about the exhibition. The 60 pieces from Vallee de joux … the table clock that runs on …. I wast ouched when people said it was great, ‘we didn’t know this about Jaeger’ … 185 years, we’ve only been here for a short time … it’s important for us to protect, preserve … when we see the appreciation in people’s eyes … not everyone will go to the manufacture.” She felt they did their duty to tell people about the manufacture and the uniqueness of it.
What she would like to change is to make the exhibition last a bit longer, saying, “This whole exhibtion was only for a few hours … how could we make it last longer for more people to enjoy it? “ This is certainly something she will be working of solving.
On the timepieces, she revealed, “Some specifice pieces touched me personally. The Rendez-Vous and it’s strength. Overall, the balance of the maison … associating strong technical aspect and very strong style, elegance in the pieces and the shape an how it is designed. It is true technology sinc 1833, renowned for movement and 180 know-hows… and we make it in the Vallee de Joux. Even the Rendez-Vous and the limited edition … feminine but has its presence. It’s not the only one I like. There’s also the strength of the mini icons, the Master for men and then the Reverso, which I wore last night. You see this association. The balance that we try to do in all all aspects of product and origin.”
On her new responsibilities, she explained, “I don’t think about it … it’s my role to support the team, to build the direction, man or woman … I bring my skills and make it a good fit. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman .. the value, the spirit of the maison is strong. It is Switzerland, the heart of the maison, where everything is done according to the values. We want to radiate in the the world … its strong values of expertise, respect of heritage. These values have built Jaeger for the the last 185 years. I have to drive it and it is imporant as the CEO. The fit is important. if I had to remind myself then it is a challenge but they are meaningful to me. If you’ve been there you will know what I am talking about … the beauty of the nature, the serenity … and I think in today’s world, fast paced, crowded, quick and driven, in these kind of surroundings you breathe differently, take a step back … walk in stillness. Even when you enter the work area, it is quiet, people concentrating and working with their tools … then you tap their shoulder and they turn, they smile, and you feel their passion. It’s peaceful … very meaningful … I shook many hands, walked many kms in the manufacture.
She added, “ I have travelled to Asia, Singapore and even with the teams who hadn’t been to the manufacture, they felt the pride, the values of Jaeger. The core spirit … very true and very important. I am very excited and proud to be part of this maison. When asked what she felt was the difference between real life and reel life, her answer was, “ A movie is a way to take a step to the side and enjoy a moment of emotion, discovery … from movies you learn, discover geography and emotions, so of course there is the reality of daily life and the dream, What I love is how you when you watch a movie, the time gets suspended. Two hours, dive into a story, a different world, that’s also what I felt when I went into the Vallee the Joux. Now with the social media, Instagram … it’s a treat to slow down and a movie is also is what can make us stop … slow down and dream.
She resonates with the part of protecting the movies. With Jaeger’s 180 savoir-faire, they also ned to protect, to know how to pass on. The gesture at the manufacture, it goes on from one generation to the next, not lose what the older generation know and need to pass on the knowledge.
When it comes to movies, she says, “True stories from the past really touch me … where there is heritage. I’m very authentic. I love history very much.
She admits feeling some stress having to take Jaeger-LeCoultre beyond its 185 years, “A step at a time … I feel a responsibility for sure but I am proud and comforted by the team I have met … their passion, their knowledge, I don’t feel alone .. definitely. I respect what they do. It’s a lot of work but we will protect and build this maison, I have no doubt.”
When asked what movie she would make if she could direct one, she shared, “ I would do a movie about generations, how parents and children pass on their love and knowldege to each other and how you share with your family a … and I don’t know how to do it to make to it unique but it is very meaningful to me.
On her future plans, she said, “You have to be true to who the Maison is … share authentic stories and the heritage. We need to listen to the environtment, be very aware of surroundings, share and transmit the passion and history and hope that people will hear you and listen … appreciate the craftsmanship and design and understand step by step who we are. I don’t believe in opportunistic moves, I believe in building for the long term …. so you have to take it one step at a time.”
From what we have seen and heard of Catherin Renier, we can conclude that there are exciting days ahead for the Maison as it continues to amaze us with its beautiful creations and innovations. Time will not stand still for this Maison but only expand more and more exponentially and amazingly.