Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Gem Setting Techniques
World renowned Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre gave Ad Astra Lifestyle an insight into their specialised traditional gem setting techniques. Unlike other watch manufactures, Jaeger-LeCoultre uses expert artisans who practice traditional gem-setting rather than the inferior method of mechanical gem-setting. Traditional gem-setting is the technique that has ennobled the art of ornamenting an object with the help of precious stones. Expert artisans personally determine the number of stones and their position, before performing two separate drilling operations.
This slow, painstaking procedure requires literally sculpting the material, repeatedly cutting and re-cutting in order to progressively free the grain of precious metal that will hold the stones. This is followed by a delicate operation requiring great dexterity to precisely adjust the gem in its seating. This skilled manual craftsmanship lends each model an aura of authentic exclusivity even if several of the same kind are produced, since none of them will ever be exactly like another. The talent of the engravers within Jaeger-LeCoultre is also expressed on certain creations in order to enhance the outlines and further accentuate the beauty of a watch by the combined and expert use of Baguette gem setting and Snow setting. Alongside the time-honoured expertise of hand-crafted gem-setting, Jaeger-LeCoultre has developed these remarkably inventive and unique techniques. Baguette gem-setting is achieved using angular cut gem-stones and is most often used along the side of the focal face.
Snow setting lets the artisan add their own flair to the creation. In this delicate art, the slightest slip of the hand can have disastrous consequences. The diamonds are placed one after the other, side by side, playing with their various diameters to entirely cover the precious metal. The gem-setter’s work is gradually revealed as the stones, nestling closely against each other, progressively cover the entire metal surface. This inventive freedom requires extreme skill and meticulous care. In addition to the complexity of the task and the time required to accomplish it, the selection of diamonds itself calls for considerable expertise, since the tiniest diameters must be able to merge seamlessly into the most daring designs.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has been a major player in watchmaking history since 1833 and continues to inspire with unique and prestigious hand-crafted timepieces. Jaeger-LeCoultre is a watchmaker surrounded by tradition that is rarely seen in this day and age, from traditional gem-setting to the Grand Complication models. This makes a Jaeger-LeCoultre creation the ultimate in design and quality in the field of fine watchmaking.