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Why Dr Stefan Ma is crazy over Jaeger-LeCoultre watches

The statistician and JLC Facebook group founder is a big fan of the brand known as the "watchmaker's watchmaker".

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

“I first got into watches in 2007. Before that, I didn’t have any mechanical watches, just simple quartz ones. My previous watch broke, so I thought it was time to look for a better watch as a reward to myself. For what? For having worked so hard for so many years! (Laughs.) I found it very interesting because they are self-moving, without batteries and, within a small case, they can put in so many complications.”

WHY I’M A JAEGER-LECOULTRE (JLC) FAN

“My first watch was the Master Hometime by JLC. It’s a company with know-how. It has a long history, and can make many movements, and not just for itself. It also used to supply to many other companies, such as Patek Philippe, Cartier and Vacheron Constantin. I collect its vintage watches but I also buy its modern ones.”

(RELATED: Why retro and vintage-inspired watches are making a comeback, says Su Jia Xian)

ON STARTING THE JLC PASSION FACEBOOK GROUP

“I started it a few years ago. Today, the group has about 3,000 members from different countries. After I started concentrating on JLC, I thought it would be good to have a platform for people to share their thoughts and questions on the brand’s watches. They might have bought a vintage watch and hope to find out more about the model. Some might also ask about a watch’s market value or ask for help in authenticating one. I’ve made many friends through the group. I try to keep the group ‘pure’. Before joining the group, people need to answer three questions: Why they like JLC, what watches they have, and what they hope to get out of being part of the group.”

WHY THIS COMMUNITY IS ‘AMAZING’

“One of the two biggest JLC collectors in the world lives in Switzerland. He collects all things JLC- related, even old advertisements and catalogues. A few years ago, I posted a photo of a Memovox that I had managed to get – it had been made for Japan for JLC’s 150th anniversary, more than 30 years ago. He didn’t have the watch, but he had the box because collectors always want the full set, and sometimes they buy parts of it, in case the rest comes along later. He sent me the box, and when I opened it, I realised that he had put a vintage gold buckle inside. He said, ‘Your watch has the steel buckle, but as your watch is steel and gold, it will look better with this gold buckle.’ It was amazing; I’d never even met him in person before.”

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RUNS IN THE FAMILY

“I wear my 34mm JLC Master Ultra Thin to special events; it’s very thin and elegant. My son, who’s in his first year at the London School of Economics, borrowed it for his junior college graduation dinner. I told him, ‘Good choice.’ He’s not that interested in watches right now, but I think he has absorbed quite a lot from the things I’ve said. Once, after we got out of a lift, he told me, ‘Daddy, that guy (who was in the lift with us) was wearing a Patek Philippe.’ I was like, ‘Ahhh.’” (Laughs.)

MY TOP THREE TIMEPIECES

  • “Functional” – JLC Grande Reverso GMT in steel

(RELATED: These luxury watches are great for kickstarting your collection)

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