1960's Jaeger LeCoultre Futurematic
- Brand and Country of Manufacture - Jaeger LeCoultre, Switzerland
- Year - 1960's
- Serial - N/A
- Model - N/A
- Movement & caliber - Automatic Caliber 497
- Case diameter - 35 mm
A ten carat gold filled Jaeger LeCoultre Futurematic watch. This beautiful and quite rare piece was part of the post World War Two push in self winding watches that followed the earlier Powerwind by JLC, which was the first production watch to include a power reserve. Launched by Jaeger LeCoultre in 1952, it was heralded as the "world's first fully automatic wrist watch”. Upon its launch it contained several features, many of which are unique to this day. There is no crown placed on the side of the case. Instead, like the original JLC Duo Plan watches, the crown is located on the back of the case. The company advertised that eliminating the space taken up by the winding and setting apparatus allows for a larger and heavier balance wheel, which in turn results in a higher degree of accuracy. In addition, while setting the time, a hacking mechanism stops the motion of the balance wheel allowing an easier synchronistic setting of time from the accurate source. The stop-work mechanism that locks the movement of the rotor once the watch nears its full power reserve of forty hours, is a genius addition, and one full of horological thought. This patent reduces unnecessary wear on the movement, and stops the bumper winding sensation on the wrist, that can be noticeable. There is the inclusion of a unique mainspring barrel design which, even when the watch has stopped running, will hold the equivalent of six hours power reserve. This enables the watch to start running as soon as it is picked up again and worn. A winding rotor is centrally suspended both above and below the movement. By supporting the movement on both sides it is prevented from lateral movement and premature wear, which is a major flaw of early automatic movements.
This very handsome and classic case, with its long straight lugs, as is found with most of the watches made for the US market, was a third party contractor made case. They were made by a variety of case makers domestically such as Wadsworth, Star, Axel Brothers. They are all signed on the inside "Cased and timed in the U.S.A by LeCoultre" along with the makers mark. Another special additional feature seen with this watch that was only seen in the 1920's and '30's from JLC is the "all risks" insurance policy that came with purchase. This was not extended to all markets, but included a free repair service one year from purchase, and should the watch be lost or stolen, the purchaser must sign the "declaration of loss", contact the local police and the watch would be replaced by JLC, no questions asked! All underwritten by Lloyds of London. Quite the charming and wonderful worry-free guarantee.
Regarding this example, the case remains very solid, and is presented in its original, unpolished condition. There are light scratches, with light signs of wear, but nothing to be concern about. The fabulous and show stopping black glossy dial is all original, marked Swiss at the six o'clock position, and in superb condition throughout. The colors of the power reserve and the gold piping throughout really pop against the black ground. There are applied arrow markers on the hours, along with the original luminous material applied to the top of each marker. The time and sub-dial functions are displayed using classic dauphine hands, which also contain luminous material. This is quite rare for these models, as most were non-luminous.
If there is a desire to find a high quality, classic and elegant more formal watch, this Futurematic is very hard to beat, both aesthetically and technically. With this black glossy, luminous dial it is sure to turn heads, if not your own.