8 Myths about Jaeger-LeCoultre

By Montredo in Lifestyle
May 13, 2019
8 Myths about Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the most fascinating and innovative brands out there (and always has been). Here are 8 myths and misconceptions about the brand that brought us icons like the Art Deco icon Reverso and the alarm watch classic Memovox.

Myth 1: LeCoultre signed dials are found on watches produced before the merger of Jaeger and LeCoultre.

Jaeger-LeCoultre combines the excellent watch movements of LeCoultre and the Parisian Établisseur Jaeger. This is why it’s often assumed, that LeCoultre signed models originate from the time before their marriage. Multiple LeCoultre models originate from the 60s and 70s – a time in which the companies had already formed Jaeger-LeCoultre. In reality, the LeCoultre signature refers to the market they were produced for. Due to custom regulations, only the movements were exported to the United States and the watches were assembled afterwards in order to save costs. Although Jaeger-LeCoultre signed models are particularly sought after overseas, there is no reason to believe that LeCoultre signed models are inferior in any way.

Myth 2: The last syllable is emphasised.

Hardly any other brand names sound similar to the phonetic diversity of Jaeger-LeCoultre. Since both names originate from individual watch producers from francophone countries, they should be properly pronounced in French. At the same time, Jaeger also has German origins. In any case, the last letter in Coultre has no Accent, which is why the syllable isn’t spoken and definitely not emphasised.

Myth 3: Jaeger-LeCoultre never received movements from other manufacturers.

Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of only a few producers that produce their movements solely in-house. Also in the past Jaeger-LeCoultre was recognised for its craftsmanship and innovative character, which made the brand the source for high-end calibres for many other premium brands. This might be the main reason for the common misconception that Jaeger-LeCoultre has never received movements from other manufacturers. For the very first Reverso series, a watch movement from the manufacturer Tavannes was used. The reason is that the brand had to develop a new caliber that would fit the unique Reverso case shape. Also for chronographs from the 50s and 60s movements from Valjoux (Valjoux 72) and Universal Geneve (Universal 285) were used. 

Myth 4: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox was the first alarm wristwatch.

The first wristwatch with an alarm function was developed by Eterna back in 1907. However, the tone that it omitted, wasn’t considered loud enough by most people. The Vulcain Cricket is considered the very first wristwatch with an alarm function loud enough to wake an average person and was released three years prior to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox. So whether you want to give the medal to Eterna or Vulcain, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Memovox certainly wasn’t the first alarm wristwatch. The brand, in turn, launched the first alarm wristwatch with an automatic winding mechanism in 1956 and, only two years later, the first alarm diving watch. The invention of the first diving watch with alarm functionality was significant because the diving time was no longer configured over the bezel and an acoustic signal was omitted when it was time to resurface.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Futurematic was the first wristwatch whose crown is found on the caseback.

Contrary to common belief, the famous Futurematic model invented in 1953 was not the first ever wristwatch with a crown that is placed on the caseback instead of the 3 o’clock position. Already Duoplan models from the 1920s and 1930s as well as some ladies’ watches had shown the same design characteristic in order to showcase the same signature case symmetry that we also know from the Futurematic line. Still, also the Futurematic is a first timer: Since it could only be wound through motion and not through winding the crown, it is considered the first fully automatic wristwatch. 


Myth 6: Jaeger-LeCoultre no longer supplies other brands with their movements.

It’s well-known that Jaeger-LeCoultre at the beginning of the 20th century, over a period of three decades, provided Patek Philippe with watch movements. What many people are not aware of is the extent of time when Patek Philippe used ebauches from Jaeger-LeCoultre in order to meet the production shortage of movements Patek Philippe had to deal with in the 1960s. This occurred not only in the first half of the 20th century, but also in the 1960s Patek Philippe relied on calibres from Jaeger-LeCoultre to curtail any supply bottlenecks. Also, it is often believed that Jaeger-LeCoultre doesn’t produce movements for Cartier anymore, although the opposite is in fact true: Even though Cartier has been developing watches with in-house developed movements since 2009, some ebauches are still obtained from Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Myth 7: Jaeger-LeCoultre never sold a COSC certified watch.

Multiple watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre undergo a series of tests before they are sold, most famously the 1000 hour quality control. Since Jaeger-LeCoultre considers its tests stricter than the COSC’s, no chronometer certified watches are sold by the brand. However, it’s incorrect that Jaeger-LeCoultre never produced chronometers, with the collectible Geophysik and Geomatic Chronomètre proving this assumption wrong.

Myth 8: European market Jaeger-LeCoultres with LeCoultre signed cases are “Franken” watches.

In the 50s and the beginning of the 60s, some Jaeger-LeCoultre watches were destined for European markets with stainless steel case backs with LeCoultre engraving. These aren’t incorrect replacements for the watch, originally intended for the US market, but rather stock watches.

Previous comments (3)

  1. Regarding the pronunciation, the best guide is the company itself. When you phone their customer services team here in the UK, first a recorded male voice announces the company name ; and then after making your options choice, a refined French-sounding lady again says the company name. Both use the identical pronunciation : phonetically, ZHAYger-leCOOT.

    June 26, 2020
  2. Interesting discussion about pronuncing Jaeger-Lecoultre = JAY – ger – Le – kootrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, with a final “rrr” sound.

    January 22, 2021
  3. Jaeger-LeCoultre also produced movements for Vacheron et Constantin and Audemars Piguet.

    February 18, 2021