Jaeger-LeCoultre 1940’s Chronograph cal. 285 ‘Telephone dial’
Jaeger-LeCoultre, often hailed as the “watchmaker’s watchmaker,” has withstood the test of time unlike many other companies in the watchmaking industry. Its roots trace back to 1833 when Antoine LeCoultre established the firm under the name LeCoutre. During this period, the company supplied high-grade, unfinished mechanical movements to renowned watch brands such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet, who used them to complete their own watches.
In the early 1900s, Edmond Jaeger, a supplier of watches to Cartier, approached LeCoultre for assistance in creating ultra-thin timepieces. This collaboration led to the development of Cartier’s iconic Tank and Santos watches, all powered by LeCoultre movements. Recognizing the potential of their partnership, the two entities merged in 1937, solidifying their bond and giving rise to the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand that collectors and enthusiasts cherish today.
Over the years, Jaeger-LeCoultre has created some of the most significant and notable timepieces in the industry. The Reverso, renowned for its unique reversible case, stands as an emblem of the brand. The Memovox, a beloved alarm watch, has also garnered acclaim. Additionally, the brand is celebrated for its creation of the Atmos clock, a unique timepiece that runs on air pressure fluctuations, and its Master Complications series, which showcases their expertise in crafting intricate modern watches.
With a rich heritage and a legacy of exceptional craftsmanship, Jaeger-LeCoultre continues to be a revered name in the world of horology, cherished by collectors and revered for its timeless creations.
The collaboration between Edmond Jaeger of Paris and LeCoultre resulted in their official merger in 1937. During their early years, watches bearing only the LeCoultre name were intended for the American market, while the rarer pieces featuring only Jaeger on the dial were likely sold in France. Although Jaeger-LeCoultre began producing their own movements and supplying them to other brands in the 1940s, they did not manufacture chronograph movements at that time. As a result, this particular watch houses the robust and finely crafted Universal Genève caliber 285.
Presented here is a remarkable timepiece that stands out with its unique dial design, configuration and condition. Despite being 70 years old, the watch remains in an immaculate and untouched condition. Its original white ‘telephone-style’ dial, adorned with black printing, exudes an even warm patina and radiates light. Notably, the chronograph minutes counter exhibits three extended markers indicating the elapsed 3, 6, and 9 minutes. This intriguing dial configuration was employed during a period when phone calls in Western Europe were billed in three-minute increments. Adding to its allure, the watch boasts a large, smooth bezel that accentuates its size, bestowing upon it a contemporary aesthetic that is sure to captivate vintage chronograph enthusiasts. The case which is in very good and original condition measures 35 mm excluding the crown. The movement is in very good condition and keeps time accurately.