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Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches

Jaeger-LeCoultre watches was founded in 1883 by Antoine LeCoultre. He first founded a small watchmaking workshop which would eventually become the main manufacturing center for Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces. Jaeger-LeCoultre are famous for many pioneering achievements in both science and horology, for instance in 1844 Antoine was the first person to measure the micron for the first time which allowed him to create the worlds most precise measuring instrument, the millionometer (the millionometer is capable of measuring to the nearest thousandths of a millimeter). This love of all things small and innovative demonstrates why Jaeger-LeCoultre are able to produce some of the finest timepieces in the world. In 1847 Jaeger-LeCoultre were the first company to produce watches that did not need keys to rewind and set the time, the design was based around a simple push-piece that activated a lever that changed one function to another. Jaeger-LeCoultre was recognised for their outstanding contributions to horology in 1851 at the first Universal Exhibition in London when the company was awarded a gold medal.

Elie, Antoine's son, soon joined the company, and he knew that it was important for LeCoultre to control all stages of the design, production and assembly of their timepieces if they wished to remain independent. It was in 1886 that the small workship became a manufacturing plant, with Jaeger-LeCoultre employees producing every stage of the companies watches under one roof. The company possessed a large sum of collective knowledge which allowed them to rise to meet some incredible challenges. In 1880 Jaeger-LeCoultre along with Cie were one of the first to manufacture components of complicated movements using mechanical processess (as opposed to crafting them by hand). Within 30 years thanks to this innovative use of knowledge and engineering machinery Jaeger-LeCoultre had produced more than 350 different calibers of which 128 were equipping with chronograph functions and 99 with repeater mechanisms.

From the beginning of the 20th century Jaeger-LeCoultre produced most of the movements for Patek Philippe watches, and in 1903 a Parisian names Edmond Jaeger challenged the Swiss to produce an ultra-thin, light set of calibers of his own design. Jacques-David, grandson of Antoine undertook the challenge. Cartier (a client of Edmond Jaeger) signed an exclusive contract with Jaeger in 1907 which allowed Jaeger-LeCoultre to produce the watches for Cartier. The 20th century continued to be a success story for LeCoultre with them continuing their trend of producing many world firsts. In 1925 they went on to invent the Duoplan watch, and four short years later they produced the worlds smallest watch movement known as the Caliber 101, which was just short of 1 gram in weight and was made up of 74 parts.