Holding a watch in your hands, and wearing it on your wrist is one thing. But seeing where that small, highly precise piece of machinery was designed, and how it comes to life is something completely different, as I found out when I visited Jaeger-LeCoultre’s manufacture in the Vallée de Joux earlier this year, and saw, firsthand, how the Polaris is made. Of course I had seen the watches before, when the new collection was presented at SIHH, but seeing them at the Salon, accompanied by glossy power points, held by white-gloved hands in orderly display trays, is completely different to seeing them in their birthplace. There are certain phrases that we’re prone to trotting out in the watch industry, expressions like ‘in-house’ and ‘hand-finished’, which become a lot more real when you visit that house, and shake the hands of the people who do the finishing. Seeing the very human care and time that goes into these watches — on every step of the way — is a really worthwhile reminder that these watches are about so much more than telling the time.