A History of Jaeger LeCoultre Watches

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A History of Jaeger LeCoultre Watches

In 1833, Antoine LeCoultre founded the little workshop which was to become the Manufacture Jaeger LeCoultre. Antoine was a self taught watchmaker and a brilliant inventor. He devoted his whole life to achieve total precision and reliability. His work made a lasting impression on the history of watchmaking.

In 1844 Antoine LeCoultre was the first person to measure a micron. Such was the perfection of his watchmaking components no tool could determine their level of inaccuracy. To push the boundaries even further he created the worlds most precise measuring instrument. The Millionometer served as the standard for more than half a century. It measured components to the nearest thousandth of a millimetre.

In 1847 Antoine LeCoultre created a revolutionary system to eliminate the need for keys to rewind and reset watches. A push piece activated a lever to change from one function to another.

In 1851 the first Universal Exhibition in modern history was held in London. Competitions were held to establish the supremacy of each nation in the fields of art and industry. Antoine LeCoultre was awarded a gold medal in recognition of his collective works in the fields of precision and mechanisation.

In the 19th century, watchmakers worked from home. Elie LeCoultre, the founders son understood that in order to improve innovation and excellence it was necessary to control all the different stages of manufacturing and assembly. Under one roof, his employees were able to pool their combined knowledge together.

In 1870, LeCoultre & Cie manufactured the components of complicated movements using mechanised processes. Within 30 years they had created more than 350 different calibres of which 128 were equipped with chronograph functions and 99 with repeater mechanisms.

In 1903 the Parisian Edmond Jaeger challenged the Swiss to manufacture some ultra thin calibres of his own invention. Jacques-David LeCoultre, grandson of the founder set about this with enthusiasm. Out of the two men's friendship was to emerge the Jaeger LeCoultre brand.

In 1925 the Duoplan watch successfully matched a diminutive size with precision. In 1928 the Atmos clock virtually attained the dream of perpetual movement. Since 1931 the Reverso watch has embodied the values of the Art Deco movement.

After World War Two the West experienced 30 years of strong growth. Jaeger LeCoultre focused its creativity on round watches.

Created in 1946 the first automatic Jaeger LeCoulte watch was followed by the Futurematic model which had no winding crown. Introduced in 1950 the Memovox line was enriched in 1956 by the worlds first automatic alarm watch and then in 1965 by the diving model named Polaris. Other creations were the Geophysic and Geomatic chronometers.

During the quartz crisis while distinguishing itself in the development of the new technology, Jaeger LeCoultre also set about embellishing traditional watchmaking. In 1989 the Grand Reveil model was the precursor of large sized wrist watches wquipped with modern watchmaking complications.

Endowed with a rich heritage including over 1000 calibres created since 1833 and 220 registered patents, Jaeger LeCoultre asserts its position as the reference in fine watchmaking.


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