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Jaeger-LeCoultre, brand's history

In the beginning

Born in 1803, Antoine Lecoultre was trained as a metalworker at his father Henri-David’s forge. He specialized in making instruments, in particular watch mechanisms.

In 1833, he founded Manufacture LeCoultre & Cie in the Joux Valley of Switzerland, in the very village where he was born, at 1,000 meters in altitude. In his workshop with his father, Antoine - a talented and creative engineer – devoted himself to developing new specialized processes.

Fascinated by precision and watchmaking, paying painstaking attention to the finest details in the finishing and manufacturing of components, Antoine LeCoultre invented the modern watchmaking industry. In 1847, he developed the crown that soon replaced the winder key for setting the time, an innovation that later earned him the Gold Medal at the 1st Universal Exhibition in London in 1851, when he incorporated this new system on a gold chronometer.

During the second half of the 19th century, LeCoultre & Cie continued to grow thanks to the attention to detail and the creative genius of its founder. Antoine was soon joined by his sons and grandsons, who took over the reins of the company at the beginning of the 20th century.


A powerful alliance

Technological breakthroughs such as the repeater, the perpetual calendar and the chronograph made for increasingly complicated mechanisms resulting in smaller and smaller watches with flatter and flatter movements.

The wristwatch soon dethroned the pocket watch, a trend followed by the prestigious group of leading watchmakers that LeCoultre & Cie was now part of, alongside the likes of Cartier. One leading manufacturer, the chronometer producer Edmond Jaeger, understood the trend and soon built a solid relationship with LeCoultre.

This is how is the Jaeger-LeCoultre watch factory was born, on the strength of nearly a century of know-how, with hundreds of patents piling up, thus making it the reference in Swiss and European watchmaking.

The fruit of this alliance, the Art Deco wristwatches were equipped with new Duoplan movements, the Atmos – the first clock with energy based on the ambient temperature – and the Calibre 101, the smallest watch movement ever made.

The Reverso, the brand’s flagship model, was produced starting in 1931.



A guaranteed future

The second half of the 20th century saw the continuation of this creative work geared towards precision and technological innovation. The company continues to be firmly avant-garde and forward-looking. Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the Geophysic and Geomatic chronometers as well as the first winderless automatic watch, the Futurematic, later followed by the Memovox.

The 1980s was the decade of miniaturization and extreme precision with the meca-quartz movements, ushering in a series of ever more creative new products.

The Atmos clock, the various Reverso Models, the Master Control and Master Compressor watches and their successive editions are all examples of the watchmaking mastery Jaeger-LeCoultre has accustomed us to in its impassioned, creative pursuit of timekeeping excellence.   

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