Spotlight: Jaeger-LeCoultre Confirms The First Watch Made Under Its Name

Very interesting watch by JLC. Dual train, one running a constantly running a mesmerising to watch.Nothing — but nothing — beats finding a long-lost, unique or unknown piece, such as Lawrence of Arabia’s chronograph or James Dean’s pocket watch. So imagine the joy at Fellows when an email arrived enquiring about a mysterious Swiss Jaeger-LeCoultre perpetual calendar.

Adrian Hailwood, director of Fellows, tells us: “We took delivery of a watch and the owner wondered if it had any value. They had no idea who it was by, but a look inside showed London import marks for 1938, as well as Geneva import marks. Inside, Jaeger-LeCoultre was engraved on the movement and Edmond Jaeger punch marks were found on the caseback. The movement was based on the 11U calibre that was used in the early Reversos.

“It was obviously a Jaeger-LeCoultre perpetual calendar, but not a design any of us had seen before and it was suspiciously old, although in great condition. We couldn’t turn up any of these that had previously sold anywhere at auction. Perpetual calendars didn’t turn up in regular production for some time after and it was triple calendars that were produced in both Uniplan and Reverso forms from 1939 onwards. The only hint we could find was from the Jaeger-LeCoultre history page on The Watch Quote website — a page produced in conjunction with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s press office and a partner site of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.”

FHH’s extract read, “1937. Official birth of the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand: Jaeger of Paris and LeCoultre of Le Sentier officially seal their longstanding cooperation. From now on, watches from the Manufacture will carry the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand name.”Crucially and temptingly, the page revealed that: “A superb rectangular wristwatch calendar celebrates the official birth of Jaeger-LeCoultre.”

As the watch has import marks for 1938, the chances are it was produced in 1937 and, as perpetual calendars of that era were so rare, the question must be: Is this the “superb rectangular watch” referred to in that early announcement?We have exclusive access to documents from Jaeger-LeCoultre stating that this is indeed the case, and we now know that the historical significance of this watch is immeasurable.

The JLC Duometre caused a sensation among chronograph enthusiasts when it was launched in Geneva this year. Ron DeCorte gives us his technical review of this exciting timepiece.