Choosing a pre-owned Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatch is comparable to buying a part of history. Defined by timelessness, durability and rarity, they speak to an era before planned obsolescence and mass production. It is what makes vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre watches so sought-after by collectors everywhere – and the reason they continue to lead the luxury wristwatch industry today.
A Piece of History: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre
In 1833, a man named Antoine LeCoultre opened a small workshop in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland. Known for its iron rich mines, this quiet, picturesque valley would change the face of the watch industry forever.
A self-taught watchmaker, Antoine learnt the art of metalwork in his father’s iron forge. An accomplished inventor from an early age, he invented the millionomèter in 1844, which made it possible to measure the micron. At the time, it was the only invention of its kind in existence and would remain a closely guarded secret for many years. This allowed for a level of precision that would position LeCoultre as pioneers of the watch industry.
In 1907, Parisian watchmaker Edward Jaeger challenged his contemporary, Jacques-David LeCoultre, to create an ultra-thin timepiece. The result was the LeCoultre Calibre 145. At just 1.38 mm, it became the thinnest watch in the world – a record it still holds. This feat sparked a lifelong partnership. Together they would go on to create what would become one of the most enduring and iconic brands of luxury watches in the world: Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Today, that workshop is the Grande Maison of the Vallée de Joux: a place of innovation that continues to push the boundaries of horology. Thanks to their dedication to quality throughout the centuries, many of these exquisite timepieces are still available. Highly-collectable among connoisseurs and made for those who value quality and craftsmanship, pre-owned Jaeger-LeCoultre watches are more than an investment, they are testament to human achievement.
Iconic Movements: Vintage Jaeger-Coultre
Only the finest watch brands make their own movements. The Grande Maison of Jaeger-LeCoultre possesses the most cutting-edge technologies as well as a firm commitment to in-house design. This integrated method of production is what defines the quality of Jaeger-LeCoutre, but also gives them the freedom to experiment and innovate. It is the reason why Jaeger-LeCoultre have created some of the most original and diverse movements in history.
Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre: The Reverso
Possibly the most iconic timepiece created by Jaeger-LeCoultre. The name Reverso comes from the Latin “I turn around”. Known for their connection to the game of polo, the Reverso
was designed so players could swivel the face around to protect the crystal during the fast-paced game. The Reverso captured perfectly the spirit of the art deco esthetic and the appreciation for functionality in design.
An instant success, the Reverso is still manufactured today. Although the models have been adapted to meet the style of the times, they have always kept their iconic rectangular form. Sought-after by collectors of vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre watches, the Reverso is a distinctive classic that no one else makes.
Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre for Her: Duoplan
The Duoplan was Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first line specifically for women. The problem of loss of quality in miniaturization was overcome by splitting the components across two levels, which is where it gets its name. For that reason, the Duoplan is so reliable that Lloyds will insure it.
Worn by royalty, the Duoplan was the basis for the solid white gold diamond encrusted Calibre 101 wristwatch Queen Elizabeth wore at her diamond jubilee. This same timepiece also features the world’s smallest watch face at just 1 gram; another unmatched feat of engineering by Jaeger-LeCoultre. In spite of its famous durability, the Duoplan is no longer produced. For that reason, it is a favorite among collectors and connoisseurs of vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Pre-Owned Jaeger-LeCoultre Complications: Master Series
In addition to movements, Jaeger-LeCoultre have used their expertise in horology to create an incredible range of complications. The Master series, which features the iconic Master Grande Tradition complication, have taken watchmaking beyond its traditional parameters.
The Master Grande Tradition
Grande Complication features three distinct complications: a minute repeater and a flying tourbillon that follows a star map while showing sidereal time. Only 75 of this mechanical masterpiece were ever made. While it’s too soon to call this a vintage Jaeger-LeCoulture, there’s no doubt it has set the bar in horology for decades to come.
The Master Series is an example of the unparalleled engineering that continues to define Jaeger-LeCoultre as more than simple watchmakers. If anything, the recent models are a testament to how difficult it is for other brands to compete with the experience and pace that continues to make Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatches so prized. While the diversity of their range demonstrates how vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre cannot be defined by anything other than sheer quality.