Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin Racing at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin, two marques bound together for several years in a similar spirit of innovation and an ongoing quest for perfection, are now shifting their cooperation up another gear. Jaeger-LeCoultre is extending its relationship with Aston Martin by becoming the official Watch Partner of Aston Martin Racing within a three year technical partnership. This association between two worlds with shared values reinforces the strong ties between fine watch-making and fine mechanical engineering.
April 15, 2009 12:00 by Aarti Nagraj
In June 2009, Aston Martin will once again be taking part in the most legendary of all
endurance races, and is announcing the registration of two LMP1 works cars, to be driven
with the firm intention of winning the legendary blue and orange Gulf trophy in this 50th
anniversary year of the previous historical exploit.
50 years after the historical feat accomplished by Caroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori at the
wheel of the DBR1, Jaeger-LeCoultre signals its return to racing alongside the legendary
Aston Martin Racing team.
Jaeger-LeCoultre, which has been partnering the prestigious British automobile manufacturer
since 2004, will present a new AMVOX Racing model to mark this auspicious occasion.
The Reference in fine watch-making and the Legend in superlative performance cars.
Right from the start of the 2004 encounter between the “Grande Maison” in the Vallée de Joux
and the legendary British car maker, in tribute to the rich history of the inventive Edmond Jaeger
and to the indelible imprint he has left on automobile history, the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre
began creating models inspired by the automobile world and the Aston Martin universe.
The passion for excellence and new challenges uniting the two brands is based on a
long standing tradition. It was back in 1922 that a first Jaeger speedometer was fitted on a
Bamford & Martin, the forerunner of today’s Aston Martin cars, which was competing in the
French Grand Prix. Over subsequent years, Aston Martin built up an impressive track record
with its racing cars equipped with dashboard instruments made by the Manufacture in Le
Sentier, as indeed were the vast majority of sports and other prestigious cars of the era.
In association with the Aston Martin Racing team, Jaeger-LeCoultre is to pursue its conquest of
new fields of expression for mechanical technology and for a creativity inspired by the finest
achievements in the field of motor sports and cleverly transposed into watch-making creations.
“Aston Martin, a legendary marque and the ultimate symbol of fine automobile mechanics; and
Jaeger-LeCoultre, the benchmark in fine watch-making, were bound to meet. Building on a shared history and similar assets, their encounter is grounded in respect for significant values and a constant quest for technical and aesthetic perfection. Each watch and each car is built with meticulous care for the rules of tradition, while using state-of-the-art technologies. It is the passion and the taste for precision that explain why these two such different worlds are so essentially similar and remain on the cutting edge of technology while maintaining the highest standards of integrity. At Jaeger-LeCoultre, this philosophy translates into total mastery of
production and it is doubtless for this reason that the Manufacture has brought together under one roof all the talents and professions required to create its timepieces.
Our current cooperation with Aston Martin and Aston Marting Racing is not just about supporting the best team. It is a matter of passionate dedication to the quest for excellence”, explained Jérôme Lambert, Jaeger-LeCoultre Chief Executive Officer.
Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer commented: “Our partnership with Jaeger-
LeCoultre demonstrates the power of a long term alliance between complimentary brands, based on shared values and mutual respect. I am delighted that Jaeger-LeCoultre is further strengthening our relationship with their commitment to our ambitious LMP1 programme.
Racing has been, and still is at the heart of Aston Martin. Our cars today are subtle, elegant and
handcrafted but they still have the genes for competition. I am happy that we have found partners
who, with their support, will enable us to compete at the highest level of endurance racing. We will put all our heart and skill behind this project to demonstrate the essence of Aston Martin: Power, Beauty and Soul.”
Developed and made in the Vallée de Joux: onboard instruments for the aviation and
The encounter between Jacques-David LeCoultre, the charismatic managing director of the
Manufacture as of 1906, and Edmond Jaeger, the Alsace-born entrepreneur settled in Paris,
marked a merger between exceptional watch-making expertise and the French flair for luxury.
While this chapter in the history of Jaeger-LeCoultre is relatively well known, few of the brand
aficionados are aware that this cooperation also bore fruit in the field of onboard instruments
for cars and planes.
At the beginning of World War I, Edmond Jaeger, convinced of the major role that aviation
would play in the conflict and wishing to contribute to the war effort, persuaded Jacques-David
LeCoultre to use the resources of his Manufacture and the skills of his watchmakers to develop
onboard instruments intended for aviation. The speedometers manufactured in the Vallée de
Joux soon came to equip most planes in the French, English and U.S. air forces. During the war
years, over 100,000 counters emerged from the workshops of Jacques-David LeCoultre in the
Vallée de Joux.
At the start of the 1920s, LeCoultre and Jaeger decided to use the machines developed for this
purpose and the competence it had acquired in order to produce dashboard instruments for
the automobile industry, which was enjoying a major book. They enriched their range of
speedometers and tachometers with 8-day watches. The results were spectacular: within just a
few years, they had exported over 20,000 speedometers and 10,000 dashboard clocks to the
United Kingdom. To avoid the protectionist measures adopted by the British government, the
two entrepreneurs founded a company in London specialising in dashboard instruments, which
at one point employed up to 700 people. In parallel, they laid the foundations in Paris for the
future Jaeger factories in Levallois, which would host a 1800-strong workforce.
The reliability and sturdiness of the Jaeger instruments made in the Vallée de Joux earned them
immediate success, and were associated on either side of the Channel with the greatest names
in the automobile industry, such as Bamford & Martin (which would later become Aston
Martin), Bugatti, Bentley, Delaunay, Rover, Citroën, Renault, Delage and Vauxhaull. All
prestigious French cars were equipped with Jaeger dashboard instruments, as were half of all
cars being driven in England. On racing tracks, this proportion reached incredible proportions:
95% of competitions were won by cars equipped with Jaeger speedometers.
This diversification enabled the Manufacture to weather the 1930s economic crisis and to
pursue the development of dedicated devices for aviation, such as the Chronoflight
chronograph clock or other flight-assistance devices. Their production was to reach a peak level
of 20,000 units per month in 1936. At the end of World War II, Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to
devote itself entirely to fine watch-making and its ties with the Jaeger establishments became
gradually more tenuous. Only the high-precision Chronoflight instrument continued to be
produced and improved in Le Sentier until the early 1970s.
With its onboard instruments, the “Grande Maison” in the Vallée de Joux thereby closely
accompanied and supported over several decades the surge of speed – of which the practical
applications, particularly in the field of aviation and automobiles, were to dramatically change
humankind’s relationship with time, and thereby the entire face of the planet.
Sarah Durose +44 (0) 7801 265 126
Motorsport Communications Manager e-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.astonmartinracing.com
Isabelle Gervais +41 (0) 21 845 02 02
International Public Relations Director e-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.jaeger-lecoutre.com