Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Night & Day
Watch reviewed is part of a private collection.
Ladies watches, of the past 20 years or so, can often feel limited in range, an afterthought in designs. Quartz movements are often preferred over mechanical movement when it comes to watches for women. In all fairness, quartz movements offer distinct advantages when it comes to high jewellery pieces; it allows for far greater creativity in the case, dial, and bracelet or strap design, without compromising the basic time-telling functionality on artful pieces. To find something mechanically powered, and designed with women in mind, can be a challenge. One option is to consider vintage pieces, such as men’s dress watches from the 1950s, with sizes usually between 34 to 36mm. Another is to go straight for a modern men’s watch, as long as the wearer likes it. For the women looking for something romantic, poetic, but still very much mechanical, one option is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous collection.
Kept under wraps by Jaeger-LeCoultre at the 2012 SIHH, the Rendez-Vous made its first appearances several months later, notably on the wrist of Diane Kruger, actor and brand ambassador, at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival. Given that the Maison has held the record for the world’s smallest mechanical movement since 1928, the Cal. 101, usually fitted inside slender and elegant ladies’ watches (including the brilliant diamond bracelet watch, worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation), it makes sense that Jaeger-LeCoultre would turn to focus a watch collection for the ladies.
The Rendez-Vous collection is one of the few lines of watches designed specifically with women in mind, and now featuring mechanical movements only. Each one also features a complication of some sort, from date displays to moon phases to “chiming reminders” (i.e. alarms). The largest in the collection currently measures at 39mm: the bedazzling Rendez-Vous Tourbillon, featuring a diamond bezel, a mother of pearl dial, and decorated with diamonds and sapphires. For something simpler, smaller, and more discrete, there is the Rendez-Vous Night & Day: a 29mm three-hander, featuring a sun and moon day/night indicator.
On the dial, 11 diamonds dot the hour markers. On first glance, the mother-of-pearl dial appears to be a singular piece. It’s only on closer inspection that the inner minute track, with its silver markers, is actually on a white base, and that the two pieces of mother-of-pearl are applied on top. The sapphire blue in the background of the day/night indicator match the blued hands, whilst the silver sun and moon complements the stainless steel case perfectly. The quick release straps make an easy job of changing the “look” of the watch.
Powered by the JLC Cal. 967A, an automatic movement with 38 hours power reserve, the sapphire case back allows the movement to be appreciated. Aesthetically, the blued screws and the ruby jewels contrast nicely, occasionally hidden by the emblematic rotor.
The problem with it is…
As a watch targeted at ladies, not much is wrong with it. For those transitioning from a quartz to mechanical watch, this Rendez-Vous is likely to feel slightly heavier, and occasionally the whirr of the rotor as it winds can be somewhat noticeable. Both serve to remind the wearer of the fact that they have a mechanical watch on their wrist.
The relatively short history of the collection may lack a certain appeal to some collectors. But JLC seems to have made up for that with the quality of their designs and its execution. There is a certain timelessness underlying the design philosophy of the Rendez-Vous. While case draws inspiration from the brand’s Master Control collection and remains fairly static, the dials of the Rendez-Vous offer far greater variety and expression that could almost be considered as a 21st Century styling of art nouveau and art deco.
Would we own one?
Perhaps I say this with more sentiment than I should - but yes. Not being a fan of too many gems visible on a watch, the 11 diamond markers are discrete, but offer a hint of sparkle, and thoughtfully integrated with the dial design. The mother-of-pearl dial could possibly benefit from being a more singular piece. Some may consider the large art deco numerals a distraction; I find it a nice quirk. The relatively short lugs taper to my wrist perfectly. And, while not particularly necessary, the day/night indicators are a lovely, romantic touch. I love the simple and understated elegance, and its versatility in being able to transition from day to night easily.
It’s rare for women to have their own dedicated watch range in any brand, and even less so when you discount the more jewellery-focussed pieces. The subtle application of diamonds on the mother of pearl dial is certainly refreshing in today’s over-garnished designs. The short lugs help with wearability, especially for the larger variants. It’s always fun see a large central seconds being picked over the increasingly common sub-seconds, leaving room for a well thought out day-night indicator. Whilst I probably wouldn’t own one, I would definitely recommend it.
From all the 'ladies' watches, the Rendezvous presents a modern elegance unlike any other round watch. Whilst I'm a big fan of the Reverso line, this would be a suitable alternative if one wanted a more round shape. It wears comfortably and the day/night indicator adds a small touch to the aesthetics. I would recommend this for the lady.