Antoine LeCoultre founded LeCoultre in 1833 in the small village of Le Sentier, Switzerland. By 1866, LeCoultre’s workshop had grown from home-run manufacturers spread across Switzerland to installing modern steam-driven machines to power the tools of all of the watchmakers moving them from their homes and bringing them together, in one central unit. Now named LeCoultre & Cie, the company became the very first manufacturer in the Vallée de Joux Switzerland. Antoine and his son Elie LeCoultre employed more than 500 watchmakers in-house. In 1903 Edmond Jaeger, a watchmaker in Paris making watches for the French Navy, challenged the Swiss manufacturers to produce an ultrathin movement. Jacques-David LeCoultre, Elie’s son, rose to the challenge and created the world’s thinnest pocket watch, equipped with the LeCoultre 146 caliber, measuring just 1.38 mm thick.
Over the following years, Jaeger and LeCoultre kept in touch, building a strong friendship, and in 1937 Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded. In 2013 they celebrated their 180th Anniversary. Creating iconic timepieces like the Reverso wristwatch to the brilliantly engineered Atmos clock. During the war years, the Mark VII pilot watches of the 1940s were so accurate the Royal Air Force used them as aerial navigation instruments; later they created the first automatic watch to house a power-reserve indicator in 1948 that was used by the US Army Air Corps. Jaeger-LeCoultre has developed and revolutionized the watch industry like no other manufacturer. Since 2000 they have been a fully owned subsidiary of the Swiss luxury group Richemont. This group includes Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, IWC Schaffhausen, Panerai, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Montblanc, Dunhill and Chloé.
Here we have an elegant 1990s Jaeger-LeCoultre Heraion 112.5.09 with a 33mm stainless steel case. The drilled lugs gently curve over your wrist with a lug to lug length of 18mm and a case thickness of just 5mm for a very comfortable fit on your wrist. On the right side, the 18ct gold crown is protected by crown guards. A thin 18ct gold smooth bezel holds a sapphire crystal above a white dial. Slender Roman numeral indices mark the hours. Elegant leaf hands complete this minimalist dress watch. At 12 o’clock we have Jaeger-LeCoultre. On the reverse a screwed-down case back. Inside a JLC Quartz movement. The watch comes fitted on an 18mm leather strap with a signed buckle. The watch comes with a JLC Service box.
A stunning JLC for under £1,000? Yes, please! This is a beautifully simple and elegant watch, understated in every way, and really will go under the radar in most scenarios. But the beauty of a watch like this is when true collectors notice what it is, it's a real conversation starter as it shows you know your watches!