[dropcap]P[/dropcap]ocket-watches first appeared in the 15th century as miniaturised versions of table clocks. They would for centuries be wound using keys, until the 19th century, when Antoine LeCoultre, self-taught watchmaker and founder of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre, invented a revolutionary keyless lever-winding mechanism named the Remontoir à bascule. In doing so, he paved the way for series production of a secure and reliable system that helped democratise keyless winding.
As of 1870, under the impetus of Antoine’s son, Elie LeCoultre, the Manufacture began producing horological complications using partially mechanised techniques that guaranteed precision as well as reliability, and selling its movements to major watch firms both in Switzerland and around the world.
From the late 19th century onwards, the so-called Grande Complication models housed three major complications: the perpetual calendar, the chronograph and the minute repeater. Since then, inspired by the Earth’s movements and by calendar complications, Jaeger-LeCoultre watchmakers have provided sublime interpretations of the perpetual calendar in many of their watches. The latter have become dream objects for connoisseurs of fine craftsmanship eager to broaden their horizons so as to encompass the stars.
1890. Annual calendar hunter pocket-watch with retrograde date
A forerunner of the perpetual calendar, this pocket-watch is equipped with an annual calendar. The date is shown by a retrograde central hand (depicted by a sun), the day by an engraved disc, the moon phases in an oval-shaped aperture, and the month on a subdial. Grand Feu enamel dial. Finely chased 18-carat yellow gold case. LeCoultre Calibre19HPSM.
Circa 1895. Grande Complication
Jaeger-LeCoultre created its first Grande Complication watches before the 20th century. This pocket-watch comprises a perpetual calendar with aperturetype day and date, month, leap-year cycle and moon phases. It is also equipped with a minute repeater as well as a chronograph with a telemetric scale. LeCoultre Calibre 19/20RMCSQ.
1934. Perpetual calendar pocket-watch
The perpetual calendar consists of a pre-set calendar automatically keeping step with the number of days, months, as well as the leap-year cycle. Indications of the date, day, month, leap year and moon phases. Grand Feu enamel dial. LeCoultre Calibre 19LRCB. Steel case.
1949. Jacques-David LeCoultre calendar watch
Created in tribute to Jacques-David LeCoultre (1875-1948), who headed theManufacture for almost half a century, this model is one of the firstwristwatches equipped with calendar complications. Indications of the day, date, month and moon phases. 18-carat yellow gold. Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 486.
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