MANUFACTURE SINCE 1833
THE HISTORY OF JAEGER-LECOULTRE
Located in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the only Manufactures which creates, develops, decorates and produces all timepieces within its own workshops. Right from the start, in order to make each watch in its entirety, the Manufacture houses the full range of professions, techniques and technologies under a single roof to give birth to the finest watchmaking creations.
FOUNDED BY ANTOINE LECOULTRE
In 1833, in the heart of the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland, Antoine LeCoultre (1803–1881) transformed his family’s small barn into a watchmaking atelier and began to create timepieces of great accuracy. He was an inventor who balanced both intellect and imagination, applying himself to the challenge of measuring time. Obsessed with accuracy, he took it upon himself to create the tools required to develop the smallest parts in order to produce the most accurate calibres.
BRINGING TOGETHER RARE EXPERTISE
Upon its founding, Jaeger-LeCoultre officially became the first watch Manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, bringing every aspect of watchmaking craftsmanship together under one roof. This approach was a revolution for the industry.
At that time, almost all watchmakers used to work from home. Each had their own specialty and personal craftsman secrets.
In 1888, the Manufacture was the most important company in the region, as confirmed by the industrial statistics of the Canton of Vaud. This was not only due to the use of machines and to its extraordinary production capacity, but at the time it employed 480 workers, both men and women.
JAEGER MEETS LECOULTRE
In 1903 a meeting between Frenchman Edmond Jaeger and Jacques-David LeCoultre of Switzerland changed watchmaking forever. Together, they successfully fused French style and Swiss technique, an approach which still prevails at the Grande Maison today.
Edmond Jaeger (1858-1922) was a renowned French watchmaker based in Paris who supplied chronometers to the French Navy. A genius inventor and stylish figure, he challenged Swiss Manufacturers to produce an ultra-thin movement of his own design.
Jacques David LeCoultre, rode for 20 kilometres from the Manufacture to the nearest telephone to accept the challenge. Following this phone call, a close collaboration was forged, bringing together Jaeger’s Parisian style with LeCoultre’s outstanding manufacturing know-how.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre name
Their alliance brought to life the most extraordinary ultra-thin calibre creations and their close friendship led to the creation of the Jaeger-LeCoultre name in 1937. It also heralded the true purpose of the Manufacture: High Watchmaking.
OUR MANUFACTURE THROUGH TIME
Discover the key dates and inventions that have marked the history of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
In 1833, on the borders of the Swiss Jura, Antoine LeCoultre founded the first Jaeger‑LeCoultre workshop.
Invented by Antoine LeCoultre, the Millionometre is the first instrument capable of measuring the micron to refine the manufacture of watch parts.
During the first world exhibition in London, Antoine LeCoultre is awarded a gold medal for its calibres and its inventions of pinions and wheels.
The Grande Maison
Under the leadership of Elie LeCoultre, son of Antoine LeCoultre, the Manufacture becomes the most important company of the Canton de Vaud, incorporating new machinery and becoming one of the greatest employers in the Region. This cemented the nickname of the Grande Maison (the Great House) of the Manufacture in the Vallée de joux.
Jaeger & LeCoultre
Jacques-David LeCoultre, grandson of Antoine LeCoultre, decides to take up the challenge set for Swiss watchmakers by Edmond Jaeger, Parisian watchmaker, and starts developing ultra-thin watches. This will establish a long-term relationship between both companies.
Invented by Jean-Léon Reutter and developed by the LeCoultre & Cie Manufacture, the Atmos pendulum is classical yet avant-garde. A variation in the ambient temperature of just one degree is enough to power the mechanism for two days.
The watchmakers miniaturize the Duoplan movement to create the Caliber 101 – a smaller, manually wound caliber. Its 98 components barely weigh 1 gram.
The Reverso watch was born out of a challenge to design a model that could withstand the intensity of polo matches between British officers in India.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is born
After several years of fruitful partnership, both companies decide to merge to create one, adopting the name Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The Memovox – the alarm watch with its characteristic “school bell” sound – has remained the reference in alarm watches since its introduction. Over time, additional, practical functions have been offered, including a world time display and a car-parking reminder.
An iconic timepiece of the Maison, this alarm diving watch is equipped with a patented triple case-back system to optimize the diffusion of sound under water.