PR Maven Janet Isabelli Started Her Watch Obsession with a Jaeger-LeCoultre in London

As told to David Zivan | July 17, 2019 | Style & Beauty

Meet Janet Isabelli—founder of her own PR agency and a very stealthy thief of timepieces.

Janet wears her Bulgari Diagono Scuba in rose gold.

Probably the first moment I knew I had the fever was at Harrods in London. My husband, John, and I had just finished lunch at the caviar bar in the food hall, and Brexit was first happening, and we said, ‘You know what? The pound is dropping—let’s just go see what’s down there.’ That watch department blew my mind. There was a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin 1907 I had been studying. In rose gold. I put that thing on my wrist, and it was done. It was all over from there.

It’s my favorite right now. I hadn’t worn it very frequently in a long time, and somehow, being in Miami [her firm has offices there and in Chicago], where everything is bright and airy, made me take a look at it again. I’ve also been wearing John’s A. Lange & Söhne, which is probably his most prized possession. An 1815 Up/Down in yellow gold. One morning, I had a really important business meeting, and I needed a power watch. He freaked out for a second when he couldn’t find it, but it was safely nestled on my left wrist, and ever since then, I can’t get enough of the thing. It is just so beautiful. We are lucky to have this one in our collection.

Her collection includes (from left to right) a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin 1907, an A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down, an Omega Speedmaster Caliber 1140 and the Bulgari Diagono Scuba.

What is fun, too, is that you really start to feel a connection with the timepiece that you are wearing. Sure, watches need to be functional and reliable. In my opinion, they need a long power reserve, and they need to get you where you need to go on time. But when you really learn about the handiwork that goes into some of the pieces, they are truly pieces of art.

The second part, of course, is the stylistic aspect—really playing around with different watches with different looks and for different occasions. Making it part of a fashion moment. It’s fun to play with the variety that comes with having an extensive collection. Some pieces can really change the whole look of an entire outfit. It can even change your mood; they are very colorful little creatures.”


Photography by: Katrina Wittkamp | Shot on location at the Ambassador Chicago Hotel | wardrobe Styling by Anastasia Spooner for Neiman Marcus | hair & makeup by Kristen Repta/@chicagosmakeupartist