Interview by María Paula Fernández / POLO+10
María Paula Fernández from POLO+10 had the chance to meet and interview the spokespeople of some of the major sponsors from the 120th Argentine Open and spoke with Eduardo MacLean, Director for Argentina of the world-renowned watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre. Since this past tournament, it has been the official watch from the most important polo tournament in the world.
POLO+10: When did Jaeger-LeCoultre become involved in polo?
Eduardo MacLean: The history of Jaeger-LeCoultre and polo began 82 years ago. It was in 1931, when the brand started developing the idea of a watch that could resist the hits during a polo match. After a polo match in India, some English officers that were playing there, met César de Trey, a close friend to Jean-Jacques LeCoultre that was also linked to watchmaking and in that conversation these officers asked about the existence of a watch that could endure the matches, because the hits during the games always damaged the crystals. De Trey took this idea to René-Alfred Chauvot, a watchmaker, who designed a piece that protected the front of the watch by a mechanism that turned around the box, the Reverso watch. The manufacturing of this model was in charge of the Jaeger-LeCoultre workshop that possessed state-of-the-art technology. This idea was revolutionary, and adopted not only by polo players, but by the Europeans too, who thought the Reverso was a true expression of Art déco, elegant and at the same time practical.
POLO+10: This year the traditional Palermo scoreboards are from Jaeger-LeCoultre, how did this happen?
MacLean: This is the result of a long time search of the brand. We wanted to be present were polo can be seen at its maximum expression. This is just the beginning, but we look forward for many more years. We are very pleased with the experience, not only with being the official watch of the tournament, but also with our booth, where we receive friends, and the brand ambassadors: Eduardo Novillo Astrada, who comes here to relax after the matches, Clare Milford Haven, who is sitting upstairs waiting for the finals, and Luke Tomlinson who has also visited us.
POLO+10: Going back to the brand ambassadors: who are they, and why did Jaeger-LeCoultre choose them?
MacLean: As mentioned, our ambassadors are: Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Clare Milford Haven and Luke Tomlinson. We do not search for the ambassadors, neither they search for us: this is a mutual encounter of people that represent our values, that appreciates our timepieces; and that we admire because of their talents in the field, and their personalities outside it.
POLO+10: How would you define the positioning of Jaeger-LeCoultre in Argentina and in Latin America?
MacLean: Argentina is a little bit different from the rest of Latin America, because there is much more European influence, so we can find there many people who already possess a Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece, maybe inherited from their grandparents, that already knew the brand from Europe and brought this knowledge to Argentina. In this country we find many connoisseurs of high-end watchmaking and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Regarding the rest of Latin America, we also have a good position, regardless of the fact that the taste of the people is a bit different. There are places in Latin America where they appreciate bigger watches, as the Master Compressor or AMVOX series, and there are others that tend to a more traditional watch, like an Ultra Thin piece, a Master Control or of course, our Reverso.
POLO+10: Which are your ideas for the region for the years to come?
MacLean: Developing the region, spread the word about what is Jaeger-LeCoultre about and high-end watchmaking, and regarding Argentina and polo… growing, growing and growing!
POLO+10: Besides Argentina, in which other countries are you participating actively in polo? Do you wish to keep growing in other regions?
MacLean: England would be our other key country in this matter. We have also some actions in the US too, but it is uncertain if we will be involved in more countries, we do know for sure that Argentina and our stand here is the hub to be connected to the other polo nations. Another action that we have made, is to associate with Fagliano, the famous boot manufacturer, who are making the watchstraps of some of our Reverso pieces: watches made for polo, with the strap made by the best boot manufacturer in the world and the same leather that they use for the boots. Eduardo Fagliano is here with us in the stand, hosting for his clients, patrons and polo players, and introducing not only their boots but also our timepieces. This is one of the ways we use to approach these patrons that come from long distances.
POLO+10: How would you define the essence of the brand?
MacLean: If I have to reduce it to one word, it would have to be „invention“. Jaeger-LeCoultre is the most inventive brand, the one that every year in the Geneva Salon is awaited with more anticipation by the audience and fellow brands, to see the latest developments.