The history of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches

Jaeger-LeCoultre watches

Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded in 1833 and is one of the oldest and most important watch manufacturers in the world. Its founder Antoine LeCoultre, developed the first patented movements. His watches, which did not require a key to wind the mechanism, were revolutionary.

In 1866, LeCoultre & Cie became the first factory in Vallée de Joux, the cradle of the horology known as ‘grande complication’ (a complication is a function other than the measurement of hours, minutes and seconds by a watch or clock). Its headquarters are still there today along with the greatest names in horology.

In 1870, LeCoultre began making limited edition calibres with complications. These functions, added to the watch movement, required great horological savoir-faire. In 1903, Edmond Jaeger met Jacques-David LeCoultre. Edmond Jaeger, who was then a great Parisian watch-maker to the French navy and a specialist famed for the development of mechanisms for the measurement of speed, i.e. chronographs, tachometers, and counters designed for aviation, marine navigation and the car. The collaboration between the two men gave rise to the Jaeger-LeCoultre company in 1927.

In 1928, the Atmos clock was perfected and made in the Jaeger-LeCoultre workshops. It has a mechanism which runs on changes in temperature and pressure.

1931 saw the creation of a design destined for great fortune and success which has never faltered since: the super-famous Reverso. Designed by René Alfred Chauvet for polo players, who often broke their watch dials during matches, it had a pivoting case. It closed with a click to reveal its metal base. It could be engraved or enamelled to order, making each watch precious and unique. The success of this watch, that combined modernity and mobility, was immediate.

Jaeger-LeCoultre launched many more watch designs, such as the Mémovox, a now mythical alarm-watch, the Futurematic, the Geophysic, the Master Compressor and the Master Control and more recently, the Duomètre, all with equal success.

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