Although both of these Richemont brands occupy a particularly rarefied level of watchmaking, I hadn’t realised just how similar they are.
Both Brands have a Faultless Reputation
And I don’t mean to look at. They are very different in that regard. The investment value of A. Lange & Söhne is simply the best of any German brand, and their watches are the mould no compatriot has ever been able to break.
Jaeger LeCoultre, meanwhile, offer pure Swiss class – excellent in-house movements, and timeless, undeniable design that all but guarantees you a generational piece the second you decide to pull the trigger.
But there’s an almost identical essence to these two brands that I’m struggling to put my finger on. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it’s because I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about either brand.
And in luxury watchmaking, that’s rarer than hens’ teeth.
Both brands can command some pretty eye-watering prices, and this is usually a bone of contention for the ignorant web-warrior who likes to sling mud at any wristwatch over a hundred bucks.
However, for the most part, critics seem happy to shrug off and smile at the bank-busting ticket price of these pieces.
Jaeger’s Use of Stainless Steel
One of the major differentiators between the two is Jaeger’s use of stainless steel, a material no longer used by Lange. This potentially decreases the investment value of A. Lange & Söhne in this comparison
The fact that a German brand has eschewed the most utilitarian of materials in favour of exclusively precious metal cases is pretty annoying (especially for those of us who have seriously considered selling a family member to finance the purchase of a Lange Zeitwerk).
The buy-in to the really interesting stuff is almost unnecessarily high.
Jaeger, however, offers some excellent examples in steel, which, while lacking the inherent value of gold, is actually far more collectible, because it’s, well, wearable…
As a result I’ve reached what is to me a startling conclusion. Despite the fact that my favourite watch right now (and I mean that absolutely with zero price limitations applied), is the A. Lange & Söhne Moonphase with a day/night indicator in rose gold (retailing for around $50,000).
Jaeger LeCoultre Gets the Nod
I’m going to side with Jaeger LeCoultre when it comes to making an investment purchase (although do take the time to see the cute day/night indicator in action here).
Go for something simple, elegant, and made of steel. The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris memovox in steel (retailing for under $13,000) is a particularly good choice that shows off the brand’s in-house movements, while offering a slightly different take on their products of recent years.
And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for vintage bargains! For a few thousand dollars your can pick up a Jaeger that, thanks to modern tastes, has come right back into style.
Proof, I think, that there’ll always be a place for this storied Swiss brand in your collection.
About the Author
Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.
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