In 1833, a 30-year-old Antoine LeCoultre opened a small watch factory in Le Sentier, Switzerland. He was the son of a watchmaker from Vallee de Joux region. The current Jaeger LeCoultre manufacturing plant is located very close to the original plant site. Antoine LeCoultre was a talented watchmaker ... read more.
In 1833, a 30-year-old Antoine LeCoultre opened a small watch factory in Le Sentier, Switzerland. He was the son of a watchmaker from Vallee de Joux region. The current Jaeger LeCoultre manufacturing plant is located very close to the original plant site. Antoine LeCoultre was a talented watchmaker and an even more brilliant inventor. In 1844, he presented a complication that would revolutionize the business; millionometer. Millionometer was an instrument capable of measuring components to a millionth of a meter, a first of its kind. This invention ment that the watch components could be made even more accurate.
LeCoultre's motto was we must base our experience on science. According to him, science and technical elements came before the artistry. Because of this philosophy, LeCoultre soon became the leading watch manufacturer and supplier of movements, parts and tools in Switzerland.
LeCoultres movements were so highly regarded, that until 1910, the company provided Patek Philippe most of their movements. Between the years 1900 and 1919, LeCoultre produced approximately 40,000 raw movements to other Swiss watch manufacturers.
In 1925, the grandson of Antoine LeCoultre, David LeCoultre, formed a partnership with Edmond Jaeger, who at the time was the exclusive supplier of watch movements to Cartier. This was the beginning of the modern company known as Jaeger LeCoultre. Up to this point, LeCoultre had not sold any watches under its own name, but because of the merger the company started to manufacture watches under its own label. The company continued to develop further technical innovations. Jaeger LeCoultre launched a watch with the case made entirely from stainless steel, and they even created the worlds smallest mechanical movement, weighting less than one gram.
In 1931, Jaeger LeCoultre introduced Reverso, a wristwatch that could be turned 180 degrees within the case, thereby protecting the dial. Unfortenately, the changed fashions in design, as well as the attention for the newly developed waterproof watches, prevented the Reversos succes. The modell could have been totally forgotten, had it not been for an Italian watch dealer who discovered a number of unused Reversos. He bought the watches, and fitted them with new movements. These new Reverso watches were sold out in a few days, and today the modell is by far Jaeger LeCoultres most popular model.
In 1932, the watch manufacturer Patek Philippe was in serious financial difficulties, and was looking for an investor to save the company. David LeCoultre made a bid for the troubled company, hoping to acquire majority interest. He came very close to finalizing the deal, but ultimately the company was bought by the Stern brothers. So the merger between two of the biggest watch manufacturers in the Swiss watch industry, Jaeger LeCoultre and Patek Philippe, never took place.
Jaeger LeCoultre has continued to introduce such innovations as the Memovox, Futurematic, Atmos Clock and several higly advanced components like the world's thinnest automatic movement with a thickness of just 2.35 mm. This movement is used by both Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.
Practically all the components in Jaeger LeCoultre watches are hand-finished by the company. They have produced many popular series such as Reverso Tourbillon, Reverso Minute Repeater and Master Control.