Culture / Art Republik

Jaeger-LeCoultre Restores Historic Venetian Building

Preserving a place that is as rich in culture and history as the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, is no easy feat — nor is it cheap.

Jul 17, 2016 | By Vimi Haridasan

For the last three years, Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre has been funding the restoration work of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a building that holds a special place in the hearts of all Venetians. Initially founded as a fraternity in honor of Saint Roch (Patron saint of the plague-stricken), the brand is now inviting the public to participate in an initiative, running from August 31 to September 10, which will increase the donations for the restoration.

To participate, visitors to the Jaeger-LeCoultre reception and exhibition area on the Lido simply have to draw a heart in the digital guestbook provided by the venue. With each sketch of the symbol, a donation is triggered by the brand toward the restoration. To kick off the initiative, Jaeger Le-Coultre invited its ambassador Carmen Chaplin, actress, director and granddaughter of the late Charlie Chaplin, to be the first person to take part. Her drawing was then engraved onto the back of a Reverso timepiece will be on display for the duration of the occasion.

An artisan at work, restoring the hall of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Image by Monica Vial and Renzo Benedetti.

An artisan at work, restoring the hall of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Image by Monica Vial and Renzo Benedetti.

What binds the historical building with the luxury watchmaker, is in fact Jacopo Tintoretto. The artist’s paintings are on display at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and showcase his attention to detail — a quality that Jaeger-LeCoultre prides itself in as well. Thus far, the brand’s contributions to the restoration now allow guests to enjoy improvements such as a new LED light system in the Sala dell’Albergo, that projects fewer infrared and ultra violet rays. This means that Tintoretto’s highly sensitive artwork can be enjoyed to perfection, for years to come.

The second part of the restoration will see the marbles of the Sala Capiolare and the area leading to the imperial staircase receive some much needed tender loving care. By preserving areas of heritage, the brand sees this as an opportunity to pass on the knowledge and skills of skilled artisans to future generations. Apart from being a patron off the building, the watchmaker is also a partner of the Mostra, Venice’s International Film Festival.

The restored pendant watch.

The restored pendant watch.

During the festival, Jaeger Le-Coultre will exhibit images of the restored pendant watch designed by its founder. Antoine LeCoultre first designed the piece for his wife Zélie LeCoultre and it featured a crown winding system. The ingenious invention was a replacement for the key required to set the time and wind the watch (today of course, most wristwatches that require winding handle that via the crown). On the caseback os the restored pendant watch is an engraving by the founder’s grandson Jacques-David LeCoultre, dedicating the watch to his grandmother. With the help of the master watchmakers, the timepiece will now have a new lease of life and solidifies Jaeger-LeCoultre’s quest to conserve culture and art in Venice.

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