The true blue Jaeger-LeCoultre pedigree in Chronograph watchmakingFebruary 28 2005 at 11:25 AM
|Jaw (no login)|
From an etymological standpoint, chrono-graph means writing the time. The chronograph invented by Rieussec in 1821 (patented in 1822) literally placed a drop of ink to mark the end of the measurement (while the hand continued turning). Strictly speaking, the current complication should thus be called chrono-scope, looking at the time; a term which is recently used by Chronoswiss - in any case, the term, Chronograph is now the commonly accepted name for the complication.
(Jaeger calibre 420TMS in 1884)
Adolphe Nicole in 1844 was credited as the inventor of Chronograph which included the 3 common functions (1) Start, (2) Stop and (3) Reset to Zero. Adolphe was a native of Valee de Joux who had settled in London for business reasons and had his main workshop in Le Solliat. Lesser known is the fact that Adolphe enjoyed a good relationship with his cousin, Antoine LeCoultre, the founder of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
(The Old Manufacture)
At the time, it was generally agreed that complicated watches were far less precise than simple watches. Antoine LeCoultre and his son Elie examined this problem which stemmed mostly from the imprecision of the human hand. LeCoultre & Cie was the first and for years the only Manufacture capable of producing complicated movements by means of a partially mechanised process. Uniting hand and machine in the service of precision and reliability led to extraordinary expansion.
(1890 Jaeger calibre 20TMCCS)
Between 1870 and 1900, the Jaeger-LeCoultre created no less than 128 different chronograph calibres! 42 were equipped with counters, 32 with split-seconds hands; 33 also comprised a repeater mechanism, and 1 combined a chronograph, a repeater and a perpetual calendar.
These calibres at one time supplied the entire Swiss, French and German watch industries, from Glashütte to Geneva and including Schaffhausen, Besançon, La Chaux-de-Fonds, le Locle, Saint-Imier, Fleurier, Sainte-Croix, and of course the Vallée de Joux.
The Manufacture Lecoultre & Cie had become a reference in the field of chronographs movements.
During the first half of the 20th century, the Manufacture continued to innovate in this field. From 1903 onwards, it began creating ultra-thin chronographs, which were marvels of technical sophistication and miniaturisation.
(1915 calibre 19CCRM)
From the 1920s on, LeCoultre was one of the pioneers in chronograph calibres for wristwatches. By way of example, a LeCoultre 13-lignes movement made in 1923 Cal 13cc was fitted within a Patek Philippe watch that was estimated to be worth $200,000 at an auction in 1997.
(1923 calibre 13CC)
In 1927, LeCoultre created Calibre 133, a counter chronograph movement with a diameter of 11 lignes, meaning 24.8 mm! 62 movements were made up until 1936 for other haute horlogerie top brands.
In 1987, Jaeger-LeCoultre created the mecha-quartz chronograph Calibre 630.
(1970 calibre 154, Perpetual Chrono Minute Repeater)
Starting from 1994 and 1995, there were 2 concurrent projects to develop 2 very fine Chronograph movements, the exceptional shaped Calibre 829 in the form of the 1996 Reverso Chronograph Retrograde and the round calibre 930 originally meant to be used in the round Jaeger-LeCoultre.
(The Reverso Chronograph Retrograde Limited Edition)
The Reverso Chronograph Retrograde and the subsequent Reverso GranSport Chronograph (Cal 859) was exceptionally fine and rare. This should have been a talking piece in 1996. An inhouse and integrated double face chronograph was unique at that time and is still very rare today. I attributed the relatively cool media and public reception then (the watch took a number of years to sell) to a conservative team in Le Sentier who under-appreciated the value of good marketing. If I recalled correctly, there wasnt even a marketing department in the manufacture! (The Reverso GranSport Chronograph was briefly discussed here at http://www.network54.com/Forum/message?forumid=234648&messageid=1055624999
(Reverso GranSport Chronograph, exceptionally good value)
Both the Calibre 829 and 930 developments were expensive; the thinking in the factory then was to create the best chronograph movements. The only production caliber 829 double sided complication was particularly expensive to produce.
The Calibre 930 development, under Roger Guignard (I call him the George Lucas of Jaeger-LeCoultre) started with the same pure intention, with the following minimum requirements
(1) Integrated chronograph and not modular
(2) It must bear the traditional column wheel as a sign of quality. A column wheel remained the best and the most reliable way to coordinate all the functions of the chronograph: start, stop and reset.
(3) There are 3 main ways to start and stop (engage and disengage) the chronograph, i.e. Lateral Coupling, Vertical coupling (vertical clutch) and Sliding Pinion. Conventional wisdom says that the higher quality Vertical Coupling is the best way was collaborated by real test results. Other factors being equal, Vertical Coupling has the following advantages (3a) Chrono seconds starts without hesitation (3b) highest resistant to shock and (3c) the rate of balance wheel remained unchanged when the chronograph function is engaged.
Roger Guignard also successfully incorporated the Jumping Minute function and the project was a technical success. The Calibre 930 development project however was finally suspended as the manufacture sensed that the product maybe ahead of its time.
(Roger Guignard, Constructeur)
In recent years, the lack of a round chronograph in the Jaeger-LeCoultre product range is getting a little awkward. The need for one is also getting obvious as chorus of calls from retailers and collectors were heard.
Two years ago, Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to revive the abandoned calibre 930 project and was put under the charge of Philippe Vandel, a constructeur who was involved in the calibre 829 development
to be continued
- A great watch... - Dje on Feb 28, 2005, 11:56 AM
- Pining for more info... - jtbradley on Feb 28, 2005, 12:23 PM
- Wonderful as always, thanks Jaw! Glad to hear that JLC is finally coming with a... - RT on Feb 28, 2005, 1:17 PM
- Mechanized production elsewhere - AaronM on Feb 28, 2005, 3:31 PM
- I was about to do a search on this very subject last week. - Ruckdee on Feb 28, 2005, 7:09 PM
- To be continued.......Arghhhh - joe on Feb 28, 2005, 7:16 PM
- Thanks for the heads up Jaw, what's that 2..... - watchculture on Feb 28, 2005, 9:08 PM
- Did Jaeger also develop the jumping minute counter for lange? - furen on Mar 1, 2005, 1:16 AM
- Part 2 - The revived calibre 930 and a never before published PHOTO of a new watch! - Jaw on Mar 1, 2005, 8:45 AM
- I'm speechless, almost.....WOW! - jtbradley on Mar 1, 2005, 9:16 AM
- Wow...a very fresh JLC. Nice complication... - Jacky on Mar 1, 2005, 9:23 AM
- I am under shock right now!! - Dje on Mar 1, 2005, 9:27 AM
- A very sharp looking chronograph. Case construction seems impressive. - Ruckdee on Mar 1, 2005, 9:29 AM
- Re: looks fabulous and exciting blend of functions...but I fear.... - stultus77 on Mar 1, 2005, 9:30 AM
- Thanks Jaw for >> - Velociphile on Mar 1, 2005, 10:08 AM
- Thank you so much Jaw! Very impressive! (nt) - Kallun on Mar 1, 2005, 10:26 AM
- Excellent reporting! - wisemoth on Mar 1, 2005, 10:45 AM
- Gorgeous watch.... - Spiros on Mar 1, 2005, 10:48 AM
- Very intersting, thanks again Jaw and look forward to more. nt - RT on Mar 1, 2005, 11:54 AM
- Jaw (and JLC) thank you! - Todd Warnke on Mar 1, 2005, 12:06 PM
- Wonderful report! - Gary G on Mar 1, 2005, 12:06 PM
- Jaw, Thank you very much for a wonderful review. (more) - rodaballo on Mar 1, 2005, 12:24 PM
- What a great read! Thanks...and I like the Comp best of all! nt - Nirvair on Mar 1, 2005, 12:50 PM
- Thanks for the report Jaw. Very interesting reading. Do love the fact that MJLC can.. - Andrew H on Mar 1, 2005, 3:23 PM
- very exciting, can't wait to hear/see more! thanks! (nt) - ei8htohms on Mar 1, 2005, 3:32 PM
- nice...its a dualtime, date, split second with an unusal 30min & 12hr indicator? what... - g on Mar 1, 2005, 5:06 PM
- Wow! Thanks Jaw for the review
- vlim on Mar 1, 2005, 5:41 PM
- THAT is what I've been waiting for :-) - joe on Mar 1, 2005, 6:46 PM
- Wow! Thanks again for a fabulous writeup Jaw. - damien on Mar 1, 2005, 7:10 PM
- Wow ! - Praveen on Mar 1, 2005, 8:33 PM
- WOW! - jimsbk on Mar 1, 2005, 10:50 PM
- Wow....very exciting! Is that retrograde seconds above 6 o'clock? - AlexPS on Mar 1, 2005, 10:57 PM
- I stopped collecting watches but now I have to >> - MTF on Mar 2, 2005, 12:15 AM
- Thanks for the report. A few personal issues with the aesthetics ... - ddpd on Mar 2, 2005, 1:49 AM
- What interest me are the 4 springs..................... - watchculture on Mar 2, 2005, 7:01 AM
- Another good job done by MJLC... - Chai on Mar 3, 2005, 3:03 AM
- Thanks Jaw. I can't wait for the next chapter. (nt) - Jim Rothbarth on Mar 1, 2005, 12:52 PM
- Part 3 - Magali Metrailler and the world's strongest case? (photo of new chrono!) - Jaw on Mar 2, 2005, 12:41 PM
- The new chrono is very nice! That No. 9 - not sure n/t - ddpd on Mar 2, 2005, 1:12 PM
- Many many thanks again Jaw. Some questions if I may >> - Velociphile on Mar 2, 2005, 1:38 PM
- Nice looking watches, thanks Jaw! The nine is a bit problematic for me as well. nt - RT on Mar 2, 2005, 2:00 PM
- THANKS! - Question: can you tell us anything about a chrono in the Master series? - jtbradley on Mar 2, 2005, 2:06 PM
- Thanks again Jaw. - damien on Mar 2, 2005, 3:27 PM
- Slight historic correction - Clavi on Mar 2, 2005, 3:44 PM
- jaw, you're killing me! no movement pics yet? please? :) (nt) - ei8htohms on Mar 2, 2005, 4:18 PM
- JLC is indeed moving into a very interesting phase! - bernardcheong on Mar 2, 2005, 4:55 PM
- Thank you, Jaw, for our daily dose of these new chronographs. - Ruckdee on Mar 2, 2005, 6:19 PM
- F=ma point of order and other concerns >> - MTF on Mar 2, 2005, 6:56 PM
- thank you.... - teckmeng on Mar 2, 2005, 10:23 PM
- Really got to see this baby in the flesh... - joe on Mar 3, 2005, 1:14 AM
- Thanks jaw for the treat. What is the size of the watch? (nt) - alex on Mar 3, 2005, 6:06 AM
- Sizes? - jeffsaul on Mar 3, 2005, 6:33 AM
- This is one tough lady &......... - watchculture on Mar 3, 2005, 9:30 AM
- And i assume we ladies will see something too?... *drooling*... - Marie on Mar 4, 2005, 3:21 AM
- Amazing stuff.... - hjuanie on Mar 4, 2005, 5:36 AM
- Part 4 - A Commercial break (Press Release) - Jaw on Mar 3, 2005, 10:56 AM
- So the counter at 6 is the power reserve indicator? - Dje on Mar 3, 2005, 11:51 AM
- Thanks Jaw! The platinum one looks great....only that 46.3mm is really too big for me. nt - RT on Mar 3, 2005, 12:05 PM
- Thanks very much Jaw for all your efforts and pictures. - ddpd on Mar 3, 2005, 1:08 PM
- it has to be said - ei8htohms on Mar 3, 2005, 6:44 PM
- Wow, theres still more to come? :-) - vlim on Mar 3, 2005, 7:29 PM
- Black dial's the one to go for.Thank you & looking forward to more reports (nt) - watchculture on Mar 3, 2005, 8:57 PM
- Time to start saving ! - yewbee40 on Mar 3, 2005, 11:37 PM
- Only 100m WR... - joe on Mar 4, 2005, 12:13 AM
- The Master Chronograph Lady would make a pretty good... - mcdill on Mar 4, 2005, 1:43 AM
- Really can't wait to see the real things... - Chai on Mar 4, 2005, 2:24 AM
- urm.... wats Mecaquartz??.. (nt) - Marie on Mar 4, 2005, 3:39 AM
- Well done MJLC! But where is the purist Chronograph? - ianthow on Mar 3, 2005, 6:53 PM
- Part 5 - Is the scary sounding 46.3mm TOO big? - Jaw on Mar 3, 2005, 9:16 PM
- Nice size!! Looks macho on a man's wrist... - Alainc on Mar 3, 2005, 10:30 PM
- Mine is also 16.5cm...just went to measure :-) - joe on Mar 4, 2005, 12:22 AM
- Interesting perspective...will give it a try when I have a chance. nt - RT on Mar 4, 2005, 6:35 AM
- the size is great...not for every occassion...but still great... - g on Mar 4, 2005, 8:41 AM
- If Magali can wear it ,so can I..ha ha............ - watchculture on Mar 4, 2005, 8:56 AM
- Part 6 - Portable shock test and a brief first look on the real watches - Jaw on Mar 4, 2005, 9:59 AM
- After reading up to Part 6, what can I say, JLC did a marvelous job in creating this watch - A.Che on Mar 4, 2005, 6:17 PM
- Impressive and Innovative - look forward to more ! (nt) - Dick Leong on Mar 4, 2005, 6:49 PM
- Thanks again Jaw. The size difference is clear when the two novelties are together. nt - RT on Mar 4, 2005, 7:55 PM
- I think if the crown is not that big than maybe its still ok... - joe on Mar 4, 2005, 9:19 PM
- JAW... what's the thickness of both watches? [nt] - J.Chong on Mar 4, 2005, 10:41 PM
- Part 7 - First look continuation and an animation of the Shock Absorber case! - Jaw on Mar 5, 2005, 6:05 AM
- When? - jeffsaul on Mar 5, 2005, 7:33 AM
- Thanks for the nice conclusion Jaw. I will definitely check out these two watches.. - RT on Mar 5, 2005, 8:03 AM
- Re: Part 7 - First look continuation and an animation of the Shock Absorber case! - Memovox on Mar 5, 2005, 8:22 AM
- As usual...great photo essay - joe on Mar 5, 2005, 8:24 AM
- With the window for the column in the movement, one might think that>>> - Isaac. on Mar 5, 2005, 11:21 AM
- An astonishing debut - tony p on Mar 5, 2005, 7:10 PM
- Outstanding stuff Jaw......such a .......>>>> - Peg on Mar 6, 2005, 6:09 AM
- I say ! - Praveen on Mar 22, 2005, 3:30 AM
- Due to popular demand, here are the tentative prices for the 2 compressors. - Jaw on Mar 6, 2005, 8:52 PM