The History of Chronographs from Swiss Luxury Watch Brand Jaeger-LeCoultre

History of Jaeger-LeCoultre

Before the founding of LeCoultre

Around 1480: the first ironworks in the Joux Valley
Thanks to iron mines, metalworking sparked economic development in the Joux Valley.
First came the agricultural hoe. Little by little, the technology for miniaturization
This isolated, barren piece of land was to become the world centre of complication watchmaking.

Around 1559: Pierre LeCoultre's visit to the Vallée de Joux
The Swiss LeCoultre family, Pierre LeCoultre (1530-1600) fled religious persecution in France,
He left his hometown of Lizy-sur-Ourcq.
In the Joux Valley, the undeveloped land was being cultivated, so he used forest materials,
In his later years he taught religion and general education.
From the early 16th century, the LeCoultre family began to play an integral role in regional politics and the Western economy.

Around 1730: Creation of the LeCoultre Ironworks
Afraham Joseph LeCoultre (1711-1776), a farrier, farmer and beekeeper
Discover the steelworks that would become the basis for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture.

Around 1740: Watchmaking meets jewellery
Combia people became skilled at making movement blanks, dials and pinions.
It was sent to Geneva.
They spent long winter evenings building amazing mechanisms,
He quickly became an acknowledged master of watch complications.
In parallel, jewellery techniques developed.
The Combia people made watch jewels that improved the accuracy of watches.

The Founding of LeCoultre
A brilliant inventor and technological pioneer who learned watchmaking by himself in his father's workshop.
Antoine LeCoultre, thanks to his pinion, an innovative tool for making watches,
He founded the manufacture at the age of 30.
His workshop initially employed four craftsmen but quickly expanded.

The watch company LeCoultre was founded in 1833 by brothers Charlie-Antoine LeCoultre and Francis-Ulysse LeCoultre in the town of Sentier in the Vallée de Joux.
Antoine was a brilliant watchmaker who dedicated his life to the development of manufacturing processes and methods.
His millionometer, built in 1844, was the first mechanical measurement to successfully measure one micrometer.
His crown winding system, developed in 1847, eliminated the need for a key to wind the watch.
This system became a required feature for all watches.
This invention earned him a gold medal for his pocket watch at the First Great Exhibition in London.

1858 Antoine's son: Elie
Elisabeth Lecoultre (11892-1917), a watchmaker and inventor like Antoine,
He started working in a factory when he was 15 years old.
An industrial pioneer, he created countless complex calibers and pioneered new manufacturing methods.
He turned his small family-run workshop into the first manufacture in the Vallée de Joux.

The company expanded its watchmaking capabilities within the organization and grew steadily.
By 1860, LeCoultre already employed 100 people.
It has become a central manufacture in the movement and watch industry.

Now, led by the founder's son, the company has established a reputation for producing repeater watches, chronographs and calendar watches.
This complicated watch movement inspired other companies.
By 1890 the number of different LeCoultre movements had reached 125.

1881: Death of Antoine
Antoine's wife, Zérille-Court, spoke vividly from memory.
"Every night during the winter, many of us were busy making tooth-shaped cutters.
He knew it well, but he wanted to make something smaller.
For this purpose he built special machines, and made many of them, but all of the machines he built were far from being as accurate as he would have liked.
It's incredible to think of how much effort and patience he put into this creation.
He finally succeeded. At his age, such strenuous work was taking a toll on his health and his face was severely swollen.
On the 26th of April, 1881, this fine husband left me at the age of 78 years and 10 days."

Edmund Jagger

The great French watchmaker Edmond Jaeger (1858-1922) left his homeland in 1873 after the Franco-Prussian War.
He founded his company in Paris in 1880.
He made the official watch for the French Navy and devoted his life to making instruments for measuring speed, such as chronometers and tachometers.

Jacques David LeCoultre
In 1890 the Manufacture began producing 156 calibres.
In 1890, some 500 workers produced 125 simple calibers of exceptional variety and 31 of the most complicated calibers on the market.
Around 1900, Jacques-David LeCoultre (1875-1948), son of Elie LeCoultre,
After three years of experience working as a watchmaker, he became production manager.
This man, who loved sports, music and movies, would go on to become head of production at LeCoultre from 1906 until he was fired in 1948.

●1903: Development of the world's thinnest movement:
1.38mm height for mechanical movements, 2.8mm height for chronograph movements, 3.2mm height for repeaters
●1929: Development of the world's smallest clock:
Contains 74 parts and weighs just 0.9 grams

For 30 years from 1902, LeCoultre sold Patek Philippe watches in Geneva.
It was decided to produce it in a way that would make maximum use of the movement blank.
To further enhance the beauty of its jewellery watches, the manufacture also hired someone with expertise in diamond cutting.
By having specialized craftsmen make jewellery watches, friction in the pivots is reduced, ensuring a greater lifespan for LeCoultre movements.

Jacques-David LeCoultre and Edmond Jaeger team up
In 1903, Jacques-David LeCoultre met the Alsatian Edmond Jagger in Paris.
This collaboration will allow LeCoultre to enter the luxury watch market.

After decades of friendly relations with the manufacture, the company name was officially changed to Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937.
Fearing anti-German sentiment during World War II,
The LeCoultre name remained in the American market.

In 1907, Cartier, who had been a client of Edmund Jagger for some time,
Signs exclusive contract with Jaguar.
Through Jaguar, LeCoultre will be releasing fine watches under a prestigious brand name.

Aeronautics and automobiles since 1915
Since 1915, three outstanding men, Jacques-David LeCoultre, Edmond Jaeger and Edmond Audemars (1882-1970), combined their great talents to create tools for aviation and the automobile.
Audemars was a childhood friend of David Jagger.
He was later a cycling champion, the first person to fly from Paris to Berlin, and was the beneficiary of Ronald Garros' will.
He recorded 6,120 high-altitude flights. Even though he was wearing dozens of layers of clothing, his feet were almost frozen.

Jacques LeCoultre was, and continues to be, a pioneer in the so-called "Form Movement".

"Form movement" means a movement shape that allows the use of the entire case, if necessary.
For example, if you have a rectangular clock, you can push the cog wheels or gears sideways.
Another notable development was the launch of the Duoplan in 1925, which offered incredible accuracy and the possibility to replace its movement within minutes.

The name "Duoplan" comes from the fact that the movement has a double structure.
This increases the balance of the lower gear, thereby ensuring accuracy.
Its reliability means it is guaranteed by Lloyd's of London, and the swap took just seconds.
In addition, in 1928, the energy required for winding the watch was obtained from changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure.
One such example is the release of Atmos, a table clock encased in glass.

Atmos Clock:
1928: Invention of the Atmos clock
After many years of research and his first patent in 1926, Swiss inventor
Jean-Léon Luther (1899-1971) came close to realizing the greatest dream on earth.
It is perpetual motion.
In 1928 he presented the first prototype of a clock that would draw its energy from atmospheric fluctuations.
Thanks to his friend, César de Trey (1876-1953), who would later invent the Reverso,
Jaeger-LeCoultre has discovered the fascinating "perpetual" watch.
After examining the mechanism in detail,
He believed that only a skilled watchmaker could achieve this and more.
Since 1963, everything has been made in the Manufacture.
The Atmos became a legend in its time, and such an achievement that it was given the official gift of the Swiss government.

Despite the Great Depression of 1929,
The manufacture's production knew no bounds.
The brilliant concept of the Duplan caliber offered watchmakers the opportunity to take on new challenges.
They made the impossible possible by building the world's smallest mechanical clock.
The first version weighed less than a gram and was made up of 74 parts.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wore this type of watch at her coronation in 1953.

The Reverso and Later Classic Watches
After a polo match in India, Cesar was asked to create a watch that could withstand the shocks of polo.
On the way back to Europe,
The British businessman confided their problems to César and David LeCoultre of Jaeger-LeCoultre. He later collaborated with Jaeger to create the Reverso watch.
The Reverso, introduced in 1931,
It entered the market with a flip-over case and Art Deco design.
Today, the Reverso comes in many different versions and accounts for approximately 40% of Jaeger-LeCoultre's products.

The Reverso line includes dual-face options, traditional small models, and larger Grand models available for both men and women, as well as a selection of complications, and a sports series, the Reverso Grand Sport, was released in 1999.

1937: Official launch of the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand
Jaguar in Paris and LeCoultre in Sentier have solidified their cooperation.
From this point onwards, watches from the manufacture will be branded Jaeger-LeCoultre.
(Before that, it was either LeCoultre or Jaguar.)
A stunning rectangular wristwatch calendar celebrates the birth of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

From 1941
Jacques-David LeCoultre puts the spotlight on the mastery of its factories
I decided to enter it in the Observatory Competition.
Jaeger-LeCoultre's Tourbillon Calibre 170 was immediately awarded the high accolades of the Neuchâtel Observatory.

●1946 Jaeger-LeCoultre's first automatic watch
At the end of World War II, the trend was toward reconstruction, efficiency and pragmatism.
Jaeger-LeCoultre was also a talented inventor and shifted to automatic round watches.
Later, the Master Control Line. The first one was equipped with the Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 476.

1950: The birth of the Memovox
Symbolizing the organized and efficient times of the postwar economic boom,
Memovox, which literally means the voice of memory,
It was said to be the ultimate watch for the active man.
This striking watch will help you plan your day.
You can wake up, manage appointments, timetables or even parking meters.

The first Memovox models were manually wound and powered by calibers 489 and 814 (with a date display).
Thanks to their exceptional quality,
The Memovox caliber continues to this day and represents one of the greatest longevity in the watch industry.

● 1953
Jaeger-LeCoultre invented the first 100% automatic watch without a winding crown.
The movement is regular and sustained by sufficient power.
It has enough power to restart even after a long stop.

●1958 Earth Geography Chronometer
In 1958, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a watch that was waterproof and protected from strong magnetic fields and shocks.
Needless to say, they created a watch that was accurate.
In 1962 the watch was renamed Geomatic.

●1962 Ultra-thin Caliber 838
It belongs to the upper echelon of the watch movement Aristocracy,
This patent Cabaret was the thinnest shock-resistant watch ever made, at just 1.85mm. Today's Master Ultra-Thin Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 849 is a miniature version of this movement.
Jaeger-LeCoultre attempted the first quartz wristwatch.
The Beta 2 swept the Observatory Awards in the chronometer category.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 606 with date display and central seconds was the thinnest in its category.
The following year, the Caliber 601, measuring 1.8mm in height and 11.7mm in diameter, took the title of the world's smallest.
In 1982, the Calibre 608 broke Jaeger-LeCoultre's own record by measuring just 1.6mm thick.

● 1983 Caliber 889
In parallel with the development of quartz watches, the factory fostered a passion for horology.
This passion is evident in the high-frequency automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 889 with its jumping date display.
In 1992 it was fitted to the first watch to survive the 1000 hour test.

Jaeger-LeCoultre brought the classic Grand Reveille to the market in 1989.
It has an automatic movement with alarm function and perpetual calendar.
Geographic was released in 1990.
It is an automatic movement with two time zones and a power reserve indicator.
Other well-known models are the Master Memovox and the Master Reveille alarm watches.
The ultimate thinnest watch is the elegant model,
It is a Master Ultra Thin equipped with manual winding caliber JLC849.

MasterControl marked an important step in the company's recent history.
All watches with this title undergo the following process before being delivered to the customer:
It takes 1,000 hours to check in advance.
This means that it must go through tests that are more stringent than the guidelines for chronometer certification.
Including the new crown sealing attempt for the model,
The latest invention is called the compression key system.

This patented invention replaces the typical, difficult-to-use screw-down crown that is still prevalent in the manufacturing industry today.
The previous design was not practical, especially for chronographs, which have two other buttons (pusher).
In the compression key system,
All it takes is a short push and the crown and pushers are instantly sealed.

1999 Millennium Atmos Clock
2002 Master Compression Memovox
In 2003, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its founder's birth, the Manufacture launched 200 exquisite watches bearing his name on the case and movement.
Reverso Platinum No. 2: Unlike its predecessor, this Reverso allows you to see the secrets of the Tourbillon from the back. It has created a new design that continues the Art Deco style.

100 years since the meeting between Edmond Jaeger and Jacques LeCoultre
The Manufacture opened a bold exhibition in Paris that focused on the evolution of mechanical watches.

-The greatest manufacture-
Jaeger-LeCoultre holds the title of manufacturer, which is highly regarded in the watch industry.
That's because the company not only makes watches, but also manufactures the corresponding movements.
Due to the quality of this movement, it is in demand all over the world and is used by other famous watch companies.
For example, IWC has been using JLC movements for many years,
The same goes for Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet.

Jaeger-LeCoultre was hit hard by the quartz crisis of the 1980s.
In 1986, the VDO Group, famous for German automobile speedometers, merged IWC and 60% of Jaeger-LeCoultre to form LMH, and in 1991 added A. Lange & Söhne.

The company's revival hinged on re-leveling various icons with features introduced in the next generation.
After VDO was merged into Manzeman, it was in turn acquired by Vodafone.
Not wanting to be in that market, Vodafone sold LMH to the Swiss Richmond Group.

Commitment to excellence leads to success
Soon after most of the JCL watches were covered by the classic Reverso,
The brand was able to launch its mainstay, the Master Compression Series.
This is due to the high quality of the cases achieved by the manufacture of movements, and the success of the more sophisticated manufacturing techniques.

There were cheaper alternatives, but Jaeger-LeCoultre was always special.
It will retain its value forever. While other brands try to attract customers with loud campaigns, at LeCoultre the watch and its high quality are always at the center.

A complication that caused a stir

Other branches are developing new inventions and working on projects to create more complicated watches.
This is a spherical tobillion

These are the Gyro Tourbillon 1 and Reverso Gyro Tourbillon with Duometer Chronograph, both of which won the award in 2008.

In the fall of 2009, this news and amazing complications was expanded with the release of the Hybris Mechanica 55, which includes no less than 55 complications.

Between 2010 and 2014, 30 accompanying versions were released.
The collection consists of three watches that are sure to be hard to beat in the watch industry.
Hibs Mechanica Grande Sonnerie (the most complex at the time)
The Hibs Mechanica and the Liptyque Hibs Mechanica Gyrotourbillon.
That's not all, each one has a custom watch safe.

-Long-running model-
Reverso: A classic flip-over model
Memovox: Alarm Clock
Geophysic and Geomatic: Watches for Scientific Experiments
Master Compression: Sport Series
Master Ultra Thin: A watch for elegant formal occasions
Duometer: Dual Wing Power

-Special model-
Reverso Complications Series
High Mechanica series including Gyro Tourbillon 1, L'Elso Grand Complication Triptych, and Duomitre Grand Sonnerie

Atmos Clock: A unique table clock