Contact Us 0208 886 1008

Jaeger-Lecoultre History

Antoine LeCoultre, a talented self-taught watchmaker who has already invented a machine to produce horological pinions, opens his own workshop in Le Sentier.

Antoine LeCoultre invents a new measuring instrument, the Millionometer, to carry out the precise measurements his new luxury watch parts required. In doing so, he gives a new unit of measurement to the world, which will become part of the language of physics: the micron, or micrometre.

LeCoultre invents a push-button system for setting watch movements, creating the keyless watch in the process.

LeCoultre watches appear at London’s inaugural Universal Exhibition, curated to mark the commencement of the modern age. Queen Victoria herself purchases a LeCoultre watch. Antoine LeCoultre’s numerous horological inventions, including a LeCoultre gold chronometer, are recognised with a gold medal.

Elie LeCoultre, son of Antoine, joins the family business. Elie’s modern sensibilities and watchmaking genius will transform the brand from a workshop to a manufacture.

Swiss watchmaking is still centred around home-based workshops. Antoine and Elie LeCoultre go against the flow, moving all of LeCoultre’s operations into a manufacture. The LeCoultre manufacture is the first ever in the Joux Valley. It will remain Jaeger-LeCoultre’s home until the present day.

LeCoultre’s new premises allows the brand to begin creating complicated movements. It will go on to complete more than 500 daring calibres.

Edmond Jaeger sets up a watchmaking premises in Paris. The Alsatian native becomes official horologist to the French Navy.

LeCoultre begins creating Jacquemart repeater watches: pocket calibres in which Jacquemart automata strike the bells when the repeater is activated.

LeCoultre begins to manufacture double complication movements, combining repeaters and chronographs in single pieces. It is the start of a journey that will see Jaeger-LeCoultre create its own Grande Complications.

LeCoultre patents an instant chronograph, which features a jumping hand instead of an oscillation. This is one of the brand’s first patents. It will go on to file more than 400.

LeCoultre begins its long quest to find the perfect sound for a minute repeater, by filing a patent for a silent regulator. The brand soon invents a new type of ‘cathedral’ gong. Longer in shape than standard chimes, cathedral gongs create a deeper, more resonant sound.

Antoine LeCoultre’s grandson Jacques-David takes command of LeCoultre. His talents as a watchmaker and businessperson will guide the brand into the international consciousness.

Edmond Jaeger causes a stir by manufacturing ultra-thin movements in Paris. As a Swiss watchmaker, Jacques-David LeCoultre takes up the challenge and begins to research the creation of his own thin calibre. Instead of competing, the two men begin to collaborate. It is the beginning of a unity that will change the face of haute horlogerie.

The LeCoultre Calibre 145, the brand’s most legendary ultra-thin movement, is completed. This movement will be incorporated into Jaeger-LeCoultre watches until the 1960s.

Jaeger and LeCoultre join a group of advanced watchmakers to develop the tiniest possible movements – an endeavour that will lead to the creation of the first wristwatches.

Another collaboration sees Jaeger, LeCoultre and Edmond Audemars join forces to create a range of highly technical instruments for aeroplanes and cars. Their instruments will be installed in Allied fighter planes, and will end up in the dash displays of the great luxury cars of the 1920s.

LeCoultre develops the world’s smallest movement: Calibre 101. Calibre 101 is the brand’s answer to the problem of creating accurate ladies’ wristwatches, which have hitherto been too small to work reliably. The movement is split onto two levels, allowing accurate regulation in a small space. In 1925, the brand unveils the Duoplan, the world’s first reliable luxury watch for women.

LeCoultre takes Jean-Leon Reutter’s design for a clock powered by temperature variation, and creates a horological legend: the Atmos Clock. This unparalleled invention will remain the high water mark for timekeeping. It is almost a perpetual motion machine, and one of the most desired and desirable monuments to human ingenuity ever made.

In 1928, the Grande Complication Email Bleu pocket watch is also unveiled. At its heart is a LeCoultre calibre featuring perpetual calendar, flyback chrono and minute repeater. The Email Bleu will come to be regarded as one of the rarest and finest achievements in watchmaking.

LeCoultre creates the smallest movement in horological history. This movement is a reimagining of the Calibre 101, and will remain the world’s tiniest to date.

The Reverso watch is revealed to the public. The Reverso will become one of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s signature timepieces. Its swivelling face is created to protect it from impact when worn on the polo field.

The brand is renamed Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The Tuile Duoplan is released. This jewellery luxury watch is a masterpiece of watchmaking aesthetics, featuring the legendary split-level 403 movement and a hidden winding wheel.

Jaeger-LeCoultre begins to include calendar complications in its wristwatch movements.

Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils its first automatic watch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre releases a new chronograph wristwatch: the Shark. The water-resistant Shark has a bezel that can be interchanged, making it suitable for dress use and as a luxury dive watch.

The Memovox watch, a mechanical striking alarm wristwatch, is born.

The Geophysic chronometer is developed to commemorate the International Geophysical Year. The Geophysic is accurate, shock proof, water resistant and resistant to magnetic fields.

The brand powers into the new modern age with a range of stunning ladies’ jewellery pieces, each featuring tiny haute horlogerie movements. During this decade, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils the Memovox Polaris, an underwater chiming watch, and the Master Mariner dive watch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre creates the thinnest quartz movement: Calibre 606.

The brand breaks its previous record by creating an even thinner quartz movement, Calibre 608.

Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils its hybrid Mecaquartz movement, both quartz and mechanical, which is placed in one of the world’s smallest-ever chronographs.

Jaeger-LeCoultre begins to create luxury watches for travellers, beginning with the Geographique. The large, legible time zones are a precursor to an entirely new way of showing travel time, which the brand will unveil in 2004 with the Hometime display.

The Master Compressor updates the legacy of the Memovox Polaris with an extremely water resistant case. In 2005, it will be worn on a 129-day adventure, in which Emmanuel Coindre rows from Japan to the USA.

Jaeger LeCoultre brings its Grand Complications to a wristwatch movement for the first time. The Gyrotourbillon 1 features solar time with the equation of time, a double retrograde perpetual calendar and a tourbillon.

The Master Minute Repeater Antoine LeCoultre is the brand’s latest attempt to create the ultimate sound for a repeating calibre. The alloy transmitting the sound is attached to the glass, which resonates with extraordinary clarity.

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s quest for increasingly complicated luxury watches continues with the Reverso Grande Complication a Triptyque: the world’s first luxury watch to use one movement to power three dials.

The brand releases its Duometre watch family – a line of luxury watches based on a design from 1880. The Duometre or ‘Dual Wing’ watches use one regulator to link two completely separate mechanisms, for the first time in horological history.

In 2007, Jaeger-LeCoultre also releases its ‘Extraordinary’ range – a line of one-off high jewellery watches combining haute horlogerie with the finest examples of the jeweller’s art.

The brand releases the Master Compressor Extreme LAB, the world’s first wristwatch to use a movement totally free from lubrication.

Jaeger-LeCoultre wins two major prizes in the 21st century’s first chronometry competition. The winning watches are a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Tourbillon, and a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2.

In 2009, the brand also unveils its masterwork: the Hybris Mechanica a Grande Sonnerie. A chiming watch featuring a flying tourbillon and a retrograde perpetual calendar, this luxury watch is one of the most complicated and expensive ever made.

The Jaeger-leCoultre Reverso turns 80 years old.

Here you can view the latest Jaeger-leCoultre watches in our collection as well as the newest pre-owned luxury watches, see here.

Watch Brand Histories