Earlier this year, at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), Jaeger-LeCoultre pulled out all the stops for its women’s watches. The brand’s much-coveted Rendez-Vous collection (released seven years ago in 2012 and created just for women) was top on the list when it came to new editions. Of particular note were the high jewellery pieces that flaunted new dials, new moon phase discs and beautiful prong settings.
Always a beloved complication, the day/night complication takes centre stage in the new Rendez-Vous Night & Day Jewellery watch. Created in either 18k white gold or 18k rose gold, the new versions feature an exceptional prong setting of diamonds. Prong setting is not typically used in watchmaking for a host of reasons, including the fact that if not executed with extreme precision and perfect craftsmanship, the prong could snag clothing.
However, prong setting – wherein a gold inverse-pyramid-shaped setting holds the diamond in place at the top via a series of multiple prongs or claws – is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking settings in the jewellery world. It allows light to come in from all angles, thereby enabling incredible shimmer and sparkle. This, along with the precision required to properly execute a prong setting, is one of the main reasons Jaeger-LeCoultre turned to prong setting for the new Rendez-Vous Night & Day High Jewellery watch.
As mentioned, prong setting is no easy feat. It requires the artisan to individually set each diamond onto the head of the cone-shaped base setting and then carefully close multiple prongs over the diamond to ensure the diamond is secure. The prongs are like claws that hold the diamond in place. They must be perfectly folded down and polished to not only protect the diamond but also to avoid snagging things. It is time-consuming and meticulous work. The gem setters at the Jaeger-LeCoultre workshops in Le Sentier are masters at their craft. In a huge, fully windowed room, they work their art – perfecting settings that range from prong to snow, grain and even channel setting of baguettes.
Each of the two versions of the Rendez-Vous Night & Day High Jewellery watches is meticulously set with 186 diamonds that form three rows (two on the bezel and one on the dial) for a scintillating effect. The bezel boasts 126 diamonds in two rows (and features smaller and larger diamonds). There is a centre row of 47 diamonds that forms an inner ring on the dial, as well. The lugs are set with another 12 diamonds and the crown holds a single inverted cabochon diamond. In total, the watch boasts 3.52 carats of diamonds.
The prong setting gives the watch a definite air of distinction. It looks regal on the wrist and the prong settings are almost as smooth as silk. The 36mm size is very wearable, as well. The watches are powered by the automatic calibre 898B/1 that is equipped with 38 hours of power reserve. The movement is also hand finished and decorated according to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s high standards and is visible via the sapphire caseback. Each watch features a mother-of-pearl dial with a crescent-shaped aperture at 6 o’clock to display the moon and stars or the sun for the Day & Night function. Straps are either taupe or blue alligator leather. While I can’t imagine anyone would take this beauty into the water, it is water-resistant to 50 metres.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Night & Day Jewellery will be priced at USD 47,800 in white gold and USD 45,400 in pink gold. More details at www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.
This article has been written by Roberta Naas, founder of A Timely Perspective; and author of six books on watches.