Rolex VS Jaeger-LeCoultre
COMPARE: Rolex VS Jaeger-LeCoultre. Let's rate & review these two brands and find out which brand users prefer, Rolex or JLC!
Rolex VS Jaeger-LeCoultre: What's Better?
"Which is a better watch, a JLC, or a Rolex?" ...it's something we hear too often. Both are great at certain things. Let's summarize the differences between these two giant brands.
Brand Recognition & Popularity
As a brand known for "Haute-Horlogerie" (high horology), JLC is in a different class of watch than a Rolex. Is Jaeger LeCoultre better than Rolex? Rolex is all the way at the top of the food chain as the most recognizable luxury watch brand in the world. JLC is the 36th most recognized Swiss brand name in the world and the 14th most famous Swiss watch brand. This is still very impressive with regards to brand recognition but pales in comparison to the number of people that hear the company name Rolex and instantly think of fancy watches. You have Rolex with better brand recall and JLC with better prestige.
It's no big secret that Rolex produces excellent watches, that's one of the reasons they are so famous in the watch business, but don't let Rolex's fame fool you though. Among watch connoisseurs, Jaeger-LeCoultre is considered a top-notch brand. JLC was a household name long before Rolex was ever in the picture. It's a brand that is rich in watchmaking history, at the top of their game, and in many cases, possibly more impressive than Rolex.
If your objective is to impress a watch collector with your understanding of horology and watchmaking history, certainly go with the JLC, and if you can afford it, get a model with high complications. It's just a finer type of watch from a more exclusive brand. However, if you simply aim to impress the average layman, you're better off with a Rolex since a smaller percentage of everyday people recognize the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand. In terms of design options from which to choose, they both make great-looking watches that are worth buying.
With the exception of the Master Compressor series (above, left) which is built tough as nails, many people that have owned both brands claim that the Rolex's sporty timepieces from series such as Sea-Dweller, Explorer or Deep Sea, for example, are better suited for a very active lifestyle that includes extreme adventurers, heavy sports or overall high-speed athleticism. In fact, in some of the Rolex ads, they even brag about how no human can withstand the kind of abuse that Rolex watches go through when being tested, but they do it anyway.
Jaeger-LeCoultre also has some rigorous testing which lasts 1000 hours. That being said, if you think you might bang it up, a Rolex in most cases is better suited for your lifestyle but if you're committed to buy a JLC despite having a very active lifestyle, go for any model in the Master Compressor series.
So, is a Jaeger-LeCoultre a good watch?
A JLC is an excellent watch and a very respected brand. They are also known as one of the most creative and inventive watchmakers in the industry with their high complication watches and innovative designs.
JLC was established in 1833 and had almost a 65-year head start on Rolex in terms of watchmaking experience. In the world of watchmaking, a lot can happen in sixty-five years. In terms of high-horology, JLC is considered a more prestigious brand. Some would even place their craftsmanship up there with the likes of a Vacheron Constantin, A Lange & Sohne or even a Patek. In fact, Jaeger LeCoultre has produced hundreds of in-house movements over the years and continues to provide calibers to some of the best and brightest names in the watch industry as well.
Are Jaeger LeCoultre watches a Good Investment?
Watches should never be looked at as any form of investment. Categorically, investments are designed to increase in value. A watch, on the other hand, is a consumer product, just like a car. As soon as you use it once, it already lost a chunk off of its original manufacturer's suggested retail value. Have there ever been watches in history that have increased in value? Yes. However, these cases are so rare, so few and far in between that it would be more of a gamble than an investment to expect it to appreciate in value. Some watches and watch brands are able to hold a higher than average percentage of their original value though. This leads us to the next question which will summarize the last one.
Do Jaeger LeCoultre watches hold their value?
When compared to other brands that are considered to be much lower market brands than Rolex (such as TAG Heuer for example), JLC may hold a higher average resale value. However, compared to Rolex, nobody can hold a candle when it comes to holding their value. Rolex is the absolute top brand in holding its value for when the time comes is and when one chooses to sell their watch on the preowned market. A close second, third, and fourth are the "Big Three" Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin.
Popular Jaeger LeCoultre Watch Series
- Reverso - Introduced in 1931 and the series accounts for up to 40% of their watches.
- Master Ultra Thin
- Master Compressor
- Master Control
High Complication JLC Watches
Let's start with their noteworthy trifecta; the Hybris Mechanica 55 (JLC's most complicated wristwatches with 26 complications), Hybris Mechanica Gyrotourbillon & Hybris Mechanica à Triptyque. This trilogy houses a mind-blowing amount of complications for a wristwatch, by any standards. Other noteworthy complicated JLC watches are the Duomètre à Chronographe (2008 watch of the year winner), Gyrotourbillon 1, Spherical Tourbillon, Reverso Gyrotourbillon.
Which is a Better Brand, Rolex or JLC?
Rolex is by far a more famous brand so you will turn more heads wearing a Rolex. Jaeger-LeCoultre, on the other hand, is an older and oftentimes more respected brand in the industry with a more colorful history and more tricks up their sleeve than Rolex. They are known in the watchmaking industry as a brand that takes watchmaking to a whole new level and is always up to challenge themselves to raise the bar. Many of the best brands use their movements to this day. They have made numerous innovations over the years and never stop to impress the industry with their ingenuity.
JLC VS Rolex: Which brand is better for you?
This would depend on what you wish to achieve with your watch. If you are looking for a high-end timepiece that you can wear each day and not have to worry about it breaking due to a rough, active lifestyle, Rolex may be your thing. If you're the type of person that when people zig, you zag... Let's say, for example, you already have a few nice watches and want something more exotic from a well-respected brand, possibly something with high complications that not everyone and your next-door neighbor already has. Something that shows your sophistication and a fascination for the esoteric micro-mechanics of watchmaking, a Jaeger-LeCoultre may be a better choice.
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