The year 1833 Antoine LeCoultre opened his first watchmaking workshop in the town of Le Sentier, Switzerland. As he became more experienced, his skills in created precision watches increased. By the year 1844 he had created the world’s most precise time measuring device called the Millionetre. This made it possible to measure the accuracy of time pieces and its components. It was capable of measuring a micron. This was the standard device on which all time pieces and their parts were measured for their accuracy for the next 50 years.
The keyless winding mechanism was the next invention of Antoine LeCoultre in 1844. This was a simple push to activate button which moved a lever so the winding of the pressure spring could occur. This push button mechanism is still in use today by manual winding watch companies.
These first two achieves were recognized by the watch making industry and in 1847 he was awarded a gold medal for his gold chronometer at the very first London exhibit of watch making. Queen Victoria was so impressed with his craftsmanship she obtained a pendant with one of his Calibri’s in it. This recognition was a turning point for LeCoultre and his company to becoming one of the prestigious watchmaking shops in the world.
Because of demand for his movements, LeCoultre decided to consolidate the manufacturing process under one roof. By the year 1870 he and now his son had developed the first mechanized watch making facility in the world. This was then dubbed the Grande Maison of the Vallée de Joux and had over 500 employees on the payroll. They were capable of manufacturing watch movements with complication that contained over 500 separate types of calibres. They were used in both chronographs and repeaters.
The joining of LeCoultre and Jaeger watch making companies came about because of a challenge from Edmond Jaeger to the Swiss watchmakers. His challenge was for them to match his creation of an ultra thin pocket watch that the French Navy could use. The LeCoultre Company took up the challenge and by 1907 had developed the world’s thinnest pocket watch. This was known as the LeCoultre Calibri 145 which was only 1.38 mm thick. It still holds the record for the thinnest pocket watch of its kind in the world. Both companies stayed in the manufacturing of thin calibres and movements which lead to their lines in wrist watches.
The first collaboration between the two companies began when Jaeger won the contract to supply movements for the famous Cartier Jeweler. What he actually supplied them was LeCoultre movements. By 1937 this collaboration was formalized with the introduction of the Jaegar-LeCoultre Watch Making Company.
Today the Jaegar-LeCoultre Watch Making Company is renowned for making some of the smallest and most complicated movements ever known. The list of famous collections including the Joailerie which has the famous calibre 101 that only weighs 1 gram but contains 98 different parts. Other famous collections are Duometre, Rendezvous and Atmos.
The Jaegar-LeCoultre Watch Making Company has been known for being first in the miniaturization of time pieces and thinnest movements. Unlike many other Swiss watch makers over the years that just created cases for watches , the Jaegar-LeCoultre Watch Making Company is the supplier of movements to many other companies while also while making their own complete watches.