In the more than 180 years since it was established, it’s not surprising that Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre has seen its creations adorn the wrists of some of the world’s unforgettable leaders, creators, thinkers and explorers. The Manufacture is now paying homage to one of these individuals and its ongoing history with the artist and his family by becoming a partner of Chaplin’s World.
In the heart of Chaplin’s home Manoir de Ban, Chaplin’s World redraws the last 25 years of Charlie Chaplin’s life in Switzerland. Delving into passageways or mythical sets, the spectator rediscovers the masterpieces of Charlie Chaplin, as Jaeger-LeCoultre refer to him, ‘an incredible artist both in front and behind the camera’.
But what does making beautiful timepieces have to do with making movies? These gifts are significant as they mark the parallels between the two worlds. Whether in the workshops of the Manufacture or in the intricate process of film production, artisans and artists are fired by the same passion and the same creative élan: to ensure every second bears the imprint of eternity.
A timeless gift
When Chaplin set up home in Manoir de Ban in 1953, the cantonal authorities gave him a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox watch featuring a gold case engraved with the following inscription: ‘Hommage du gouvernement Vaudois à Charlie Chaplin – 6 octobre 1953’.
Michael Chaplin inherited it in 1977 on his father’s death and gifted it to his wife on their wedding day. In 2013, Michael’s daughter, film director Carmen Chaplin, portrayed this watch model in a poetic and evocative short film A Time For Everything, dealing with heritage and transmission between generations.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmost clock was given to Charlie Chaplin in May 1972, when he was awarded the ‘Caméra souriante’ prize by the Swiss press photographers association to honour his kind attitude towards national journalists and warm-heartedness. This clock is said to ‘live on air’, because its movement is wound by variations in ambient temperature, and the Manufacture has loaned Charlie’s World an Atmos Classique identical to the one presented to Charlie Chaplin at the time. It majestically marks off time as visitors explore the museum – a reminder to all that legends such as Charlie Chaplin himself truly are timeless.
These items will be on display in the Manoir de Ban museum; open to the public from 17 April.