Even before Edmond Jaeger and the Jacques-David LeCoultre joined forces in 1926 and unveiled the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand in 1937, the LeCoultre name was an important one in the Swiss watch making world. That’s because Jacques-David’s grandfather Antonie was a pioneer of the industry, inventing everything from the machines that made precision watch pinions to a device called the millionometer, which, in 1844, was the first tool to accurately measure a thousandth of a millimeter.
LeCoultre’s millionometer was so important that it led to the adoption of the metric system by the entire Swiss watchwatching industry. Indeed, from the late 18th century to the early part of the 20th, there was a little bit of LeCoultre in most of the best Swiss watches. LeCoultre produced movement blanks for Patek Philippe, made entire watches for Cartier, and supplied Vacheron Constantin, IWC, Breguet, Omega, and Audmars Piguet with key components.
Jaeger brought expertise of his own to the LeCoultre table. In 1925, he designed a tiny movement that LeCoultre would manufacture as the Duoplan, a popular ladies wristwatch during the 1920s. Four years later, in 1929, the two partners produced Calibre 101, the world’s smallest movement (then as now), with 74 parts that together weighed less than a gram. The company put the Calibre 101 in its 2 Ligne ladies wristwatch, which was diminutive and discreet enough to be worn by Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation.
Another Parisian, René-Alfred Chauvet, supplied the design for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most famous antique watch, the Reverso, which debuted in 1931. According to company legend, the Reverso was developed for a group of polo-playing British officers stationed in India, who wanted a watch whose face would not be damaged during play. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s solution was a wristwatch whose face could be flipped over to protect the crystal. The backs of these Art Deco-style Reversos were often monogrammed for their owners or decorated in enamel and other materials.
Phases of the Moon watches in the 1940s followed the Reversos from the 1930s. After World War II Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced its first automatic watch, and in 1950 the gold-cased Memovox arrived — with a built-in alarm. By 1953, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s automatic watches had evolved into the popular Futurematic. This handsome self-winder featured a power-reserve indicator on its dial. An automatic Memovox followed in 1956.
Diving watches, including the Geophysic Chronometer, were introduced in 1958. Jaeger-LeCoultre even made a waterproof version of the Memovox called the Deep Sea Alarm in 1961, but for the most part, the company focused on dress watches, leaving the sports market to Omega, Rolex, and others.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Jaeger LeCoultre Wristwatches:...
Ligne: A unit of measure (2.256mm) designating the size of a watch movement.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
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An exhibition by Jaeger-LeCoultre in BathPistonheads.com, September 8th
JLC is organising an exhibition at Mallory Jewellers in Bath, launching on the 4th October and lasting for a week. Since we had a tour to the JLC manufacture is Switzerland, and of course the close links between JLC and Aston Martin, they thought it...Read more
My Luxury Life: Janek DeleskiewiczThe National, September 3rd
I started working for Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1988, and, at that time, we relaunched our Reverso line. I had to spend a lot of time studying the archives and understanding the essence of the watch to make it recognisable and yet resolutely contemporary...Read more
Victory for Lynx Polo TeamPOLO+10 The Polo Magazine, September 3rd
Cyrille Costes (0), Olivier Climaud (0), Ignacio Kennedy (+3) and Brieuc Rigaux (+5) of team Lynx Polo are the winners of the 26th Jaeger-LeCoultre Polo Masters at Polo Club de Veytay. In the extra chukker, the foursome defeated the host team Veytay ...Read more
Jaeger-LeCoultre And 71st Venice Film Festival Sparkle As James Franco's 'The ...Forbes, August 30th
As Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced its Hybris Artistica set of 12 one-of-a-kind timepieces in 2014, which are very special in terms of both mechanics and artistic development, it is only fitting that at the opening ceremony two actresses chose to wear very...Read more
Monthly News Roundup: Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Hublot, George ...Quill & Pad, August 28th
Jaeger-LeCoultre friend of the brand Clive Owen has been spotted wearing a platinum Master Grande Tradition à Tourbillon 43 during promotion for his new series The Knick; here we see him on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. Set in downtown New ...Read more
Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils unique classics in ColomboLanka Business Today, August 20th
Aug. 21, 2014 (LBT) - Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre, the inventors of the Vallée de Joux and reference in fine watching since the 19th century, along with Sri Lankan partner Chatham Luxury, hosted an exclusive viewing of its 2014 Collection...Read more
Oblivion, The Holy Trinity, And The Jaeger-LeCoultre Hermès AtmosQuill & Pad, August 17th
Science, mystery, and beauty: three things that have inspired humans for millennia and led to the creation of some of the most remarkable objects in the history of mankind. The “holy trinity” (that's what I'm calling them) is responsible for sparking...Read more
Jaeger-LeCoultre and polo: a timely partnershipTelegraph.co.uk, August 15th
For the past seven years, Jaeger-LeCoultre has also been official timekeeper to Cowdray Park Polo Club, the home of British polo. And this season marks the second year that Jaeger-LeCoultre has been title sponsor of six Hurlingham Polo Association ...Read more