Jaeger leCoultre

Ever since its establishment in 1833, Jaeger-Lecoultre has always been a distinguished brand on a quest for conquering new eras. Its founder Antonie LeCoultre always aimed at surpassing expectations and reaching unprecedented greater heights with his team of inventors. Over the years Jaeger LeCoultre`s manufactory has developed consistently through expansion into new territories. Horological inventions under the name Jaeger-Lecoultre are an expression of a blend of innovation, tradition and a dash of symbolic scope of passing time and its measurement.

Jaeger leCoultre believes in the most important instruments, the eye, hands and the heart. This is Jaeger-LeCoultre`s secret in producing an exceptional range of movements featuring 38 different calibres, from the world`s smallest mechanical movement, the Calibre 101 to minute repeater mechanisms, tourbillons, calendars, moon-phase and power-reserve displays, dual time-zone, chronographs, and alarma. Jaeger leCoultre not only masters producing bracelets and cases but also consecrates itself on making its own in-house movements.

After its customers, Jaeger-Lecoultre highly values its employees, worldwide who make everything possible. The company has over 1000 employees worldwide and 900 people in the workshops of the Vallee de Joux. Over the years this team of united employees has produced a wide variety of creations of Jaeger-Lecoultre watches with its hundreds of craftsmen experienced in enamelling, gem-setting, engraving as well as chasing skeleton movements. Everyone at Jaeger-Lecoultre follows the philosophy: "Sharing the passion for time with Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Manufacture in the avant-garde of watchmaking mastery."

History

The story of Jaeger le Coultre starts in 1833 when Antoine LeCoultre started a small scale watchmaking workshop in Le Sentier. LeCoultre was a serial inventor, he was the inventor of the machine used to cut watch pinions from steel. By the year 1844, he invented the Millionomètre, the world`s most precise measuring instrument at the time followed by the keyless system in 1847 which was used to set and rewind watches. Four years down the line Jaeger le Coultre was awarded the gold medal for his work on timepiece mechanization and precision at the first Universal Exhibition in London.

With a lot of watchmaking workshops popping up into the Vallée de Joux, Antoine LeCoultre and his son, Elie LeCoultre established the first ever fully equipped manufacturer in Vallée de Joux’s which they named LeCoultre & Cie. The idea was to bring all their expert employees` brainpower under one roof. The set-up was a success and in 1870 they opened their first mechanized production processes for complicated movements employing over 500 people in a building known as Grande Maison of the Vallée de Joux”. At the turn of the 20th century they had made over 350 different calibres with 128 equipped with chronograph functions and 99 with repeater mechanisms. For the next 30 years, Jaeger LeCoultre was the official supplier for most of Patek Philippe`s movement blanks.

In 1903 all Swiss watchmakers were challenged by Edmond Jaeger, the French Navy to manufacture the ultra-thin movements that he had recently invented. Antoine`s grandson had taken over the administration of his grandfather`s business and being an ambitious horologist he accepted Jaeger`s challenge. Taking the challenge LeCoultre produced an ultra-thin collection of pocket watches and in 1907 they made the thinnest pocket watch ever in the world, the LeCoultre Calibre 145.

Cartier, being one of Jaeger`s cunning clients decided to take a strategic move by signing a contract with Jaeger that all Jaeger movements would be exclusive to Cartier for the next fifteen years. LeCoultre was responsible for the production of the movements. Following Edmund Jaeger`s acquisition of the patent for the atmospherically driven clock Atmos from its inventor Jean-Léon Reutter, Jaeger licensed it to LeCoultre in France and Switzerland, in 1936 and 1937 respectively. Eventually LeCoultre and Jaeger merged and their businesses and became known as Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937. Nonetheless because of the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act, the watches were cased in locally produced cases in North America and sold under the name LeCoultre by the company Vacheron-LeCoultre. Vacheron-LeCoultre was a subsidiary of Longines-Wittnauer, but they had slightly different case designs. It was only after 1985 that Jaeger-LeCoultre became the worldwide brand name. A lot of misinformed collectors and dealers still strongly argue that the American LeCoultre was never associated with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Switzerland. The confusion arises from the 1950s when LeCoultre watches` North American distributer was the Longines-Wittnauer Group which was also the official distributor for Vacheron Constantin timepieces. Most collectors and connoisseurs confuse this manufacture of the watches with this distribution channel.

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