Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Jaeger-LeCoultre Supports the Art of Restoration in Venice

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco

For over a decade, Jaeger-LeCoultre has forged strong ties with Venice based on a love of the arts and the conservation of cultural heritage. Not only is it a partner to the Mostra, Venice’s International Film Festival, it has also become patron of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco - a unique place that is close to the hearts of all Venetians – and has sponsored restoration work there since 2013. During the 73rd Mostra, the “Grande Maison” will give all visitors a chance to take part in an initiative to increase its donations to this exceptional building.

Special Reverso displayed during the 73rd Mostra

Safeguarding Heritage
All you have to do is to draw a heart, one that reflects your style and inspires you. By sketching this symbol in a digital guestbook, every visitor to the Jaeger-LeCoultre reception and exhibition area on the Lido triggers a donation by the maison toward the restoration of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ambassador Carmen Chaplin, the first to take part in the project, drew a heart that was engraved on the back of a Reverso watch and will be displayed for the occasion. In this way, visitors and friends of the brand are invited to express their support for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s values and to promote conservation of the heritage of this exceptional building, which never fails to captivate all those who enter it.

Preserving the Legacy of Time
The supremely opulent Scuola Grande di San Rocco, built as an institution, is unique for its peerless collection of paintings by Tintoretto (1518-1594). Located in the San Polo district of Venice, the fraternity was founded in 1478 and dedicated to Saint Roch, patron saint of the plague-stricken, to fight epidemics and bring succor to the diseased population. Thanks to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s patronage, visitors can now benefit from improvements to the lighting that showcases Tintoretto’s highly light sensitive works to perfection. A new LED system - projecting fewer of the infrared and ultraviolet rays causing colors to deteriorate over time - has been installed in the Sala dell’Albergo.

Stone doorway restoration at Scuola Grande di San Rocco

The second part of the sponsorship program concerns the Scuola’s marbles, in particular those in the Sala Capitolare and on the impressive portal leading to the imperial staircase, which are being restored with meticulous care. This requires passionate craftsmanship and unparalleled patience and attention to detail, bringing to mind the watchmakers of the Vallée de Joux who work each day to breathe new life into exceptional timepieces.

The Art of Restoration
Preserving and passing on heritage are fundamental values for Jaeger-LeCoultre. The manufacture sets great store by protecting not only natural world heritage sites, as through its collaboration with UNESCO, but also artistic heritage, demonstrated by its support for the restoration of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. 

Restoring Zélie LeCoultre's watch.

Caring for the legacy created by skilled and talented craftsmen in order to pass it on to future generations is a natural choice for a maison with such a rich and precious heritage as Jaeger-LeCoultre. Each day in its ateliers, expert artisans restore timepieces from the past to their former glory, working not only on the mechanisms but also the métiers rares of gem setting, enameling and engraving. The manufacture provides this repair service for all watches and clocks ever made there, in keeping with the principle of absolute respect for the piece's history and integrity. It even goes so far as to reproduce watch components which are no longer made, using original drawings. This unique expertise is key to passing on watchmaking heritage and techniques.

Zélie LeCoultre's pendant watch.

Zélie LeCoultre’s Watch
During the Mostra, the maison will exhibit pictures of the recent restoration of a remarkable pendant watch designed by Antoine LeCoultre, the manufacture’s founder, for his wife Zélie LeCoultre. It was the first model to feature an ingenious invention by Antoine: the crown winding system for setting the time and winding the watch that replaced the key that had previously been required. The Grande Maison’s master watchmakers have given a new lease of life to this watch, which bears the following inscription by Zélie’s grandson Jacques-David LeCoultre on the caseback: Souvenir de ma chère grand-mère Zélie LeCoultre (In memory of my dear grandmother, Zélie LeCoultre).

This is a heartfelt tribute that reflects Jaeger LeCoultre’s involvement in conserving the heritage of the city of the Doges.

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