Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

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Vintagewings
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Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby Vintagewings » Thu May 09, 2024 11:18 am

My Grandfather left me this watch over two decades ago now.

I'd not ever really thought of servicing this or anything like that. Finally as of last year I decided to take it in to be looked at. Long story short, off it went to the JL factory for servicing.

It had not ever been opened before. All parts were original etc. The unfortunate bit was no extract of archive could be pulled for this timepiece. Was really hoping to know more about it, what year it was made etc. best guess seems to be 1950s to 1960s.

Most definitely cased in the USA. Hoping someone on this forum might be able to assist me with more information if possible.

Ultimately I’d like to insure it but finding an appraiser that is familiar with this specific watch has not been easy.

I’d share the serial number but unsure if that’s smart? If it helps please let me know and I can add the photo with serial number not edited out.

For the life of me I cannot make out the markings on the case back just before 18K label. K&E or such?

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zafbasha
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Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby zafbasha » Thu May 09, 2024 1:13 pm

This appears to be it. "Diamond Royale" model. The catalog is from 1968, original retail without the bracelet was $295.00.

The catalog reference would be 20R.
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lecoultre5.jpg

Vintagewings
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Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby Vintagewings » Thu May 09, 2024 1:25 pm

This appears to be it. "Diamond Royale" model. The catalog is from 1968, original retail without the bracelet was $295.00.
Holy smokes! I cannot believe you were able to dig this up! This is crazy to me to see this, I mean very crazy! Thank you so much for everything!

It appears in catalog it came in a leather band. Per the watchmaker at the JL boutique, he stated the strap is surely done by JL as well and art deco style. He stated he has only seen these straps on a couple of occasions and they’ve been in very poor shape. Apparently the straps can get bound up with a lot of wear etc.

Watchmaker’s exact words “this is a museum piece”. I know what that means by definition but what does that really mean? I just wonder if this is something that’s said to anyone who brings in a vintage watch. Beverly Hills is pretty bougie as anyone would guess.

Any ideas on the stamping on the back of the case near 18K? Is that a makers mark or something?

Also, not looking to sell this as it’s a heirloom but I’d love to get it properly appraised for insurance purposes. I have had zero luck. Everyone has just been like “I really don’t know what this watch is”. Would you happen to know any trustworthy appraisers by chance?

Again, I cannot thank you enough!

zafbasha
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Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby zafbasha » Thu May 09, 2024 1:34 pm

The stamping on the back is the manufacturer of the case. I'm not sure off the top of my head who that is. I'll post if I run accross it.

Most USA market cases were made by U.S. case contractors, in particular when the cases were made of 14k or gold filled.

Vintagewings
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Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby Vintagewings » Thu May 09, 2024 1:49 pm

The stamping on the back is the manufacturer of the case. I'm not sure off the top of my head who that is. I'll post if I run accross it.

Most USA market cases were made by U.S. case contractors, in particular when the cases were made of 14k or gold filled.
Thanks again, Zafbasha! I am really digging the history unraveling on this watch. Below is a post reply I had received over on Reddit which was quite informative. Seems to be on the ball information wise. It’s a fairly long read but was helpful, your catalog find just links up perfectly to this reply.

“Beautiful, and in flawless condition. That's a really great classic watch.

As to production period, I can narrow it down on age a bit, and point out some cues for dating JLCs of this period.

First, one key aspect is the antishock device. On this watch, that's the clover shaped gold colored spring seen on top or the cap jewel on the balance assemoly. Fine balance has the highest rotational speed of any component in the watch, and needs a fair amount of mass since it's the consistency of this oscillation which makes for precision.

So, to avoid slowing down the motion and expending a lot of energy, the speed means the balance staff pivots need to be quite fine. But, since these pivots must also support something with reasonable mass, the fine pivots can be easily damaged or broken by a mechanical shock, such as from bumping or dropping the watch. This has always been a risk on watches, and it was made worse by the transition to wrist watches since they're now in a position to get banged into things much more easily than pocket watches were.

In early watches, one of the most common causes of failure was broken balance pivots. There were a few attempts to address this, with mixed success, in the 1930s, including things like flexible arms on the balance wheel, allowing the rim to displace without applying as much force on the staff, but it wasn't until the 1940s that really effective methods went mainstream.

These techniques involved spring loading the cap jewel on the balance wheel so that when the balance staff is displaced by a mechanical shock, the jewel moves and flexes on its mounting, instead of being rigidly supported allowing the balance staff pivot to collide hard enough to be bent or even shattered.

The first style of these used by JLC, the early Parechoc KIF A, had a leaf spring type mechanism mounted on a rotatable stud the balance cock, which could be pivoted into place during assembly, applying a spring load and retaining the cap jewel via a ring-shaped section of the spring.

The second type, also made by Parechoc (an antishock device manufacturer located in la Sentier, where JLC is located) also called the KIF, and later "Flector" antishock system was introduced in 1956, and that's precisely what’s in that movement. So, from just the balance assembly, it can't be older than 1956.

On this movement, the escape wheel cap jewel is also equipped with an antishock device, and this one is of an even later design, a lyre spring type introduced by Parechoc in 1957 called the "Duo-Fix". So, that moves the earliest date this could have been made up another year.

And, finally, there's the K819 designation of the movement itself, which was introduced in 1959. So, I would say this watch is from the very late 1950s through the 1960s, and most likely, based on style, early 1960s.

Forentine finishes on watches were popular in the very late 1950s and early 1960s, too, so the style fits well with that assessment.

The latest date would be the 1970s, when JLC retired the "LeCoultre" trademark which had continued to be used on US market watches since the 1930s following the merger of Jaeger and LeCoultre, and began branding all watches as "Jaeger-LeCoultre". The last US market LeCoultre branded watch was made in 1976. But, your watch absolutely drips early 1960s style, from the Florentined case and bracelet to the finishing on the movement, so I don't think it was made any later than that.”

zafbasha
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Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby zafbasha » Thu May 09, 2024 10:59 pm

If the JLC paperwork gave you a serial number I can date the watch.

Vintagewings
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Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby Vintagewings » Fri May 10, 2024 2:53 pm

If the JLC paperwork gave you a serial number I can date the watch.
I think it’s just a generic serial number as it’s on all the paperwork as “JWA999999” which screams generic/unknown or such. Wish I could read the other number with the case back off on the movement but very difficult to.

Vintagewings
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Joined: Thu May 09, 2024 12:49 am

Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby Vintagewings » Fri May 10, 2024 2:54 pm

I’ve been doing a deep dive on who might of done the casing but I’ve turned up empty handed at all fronts which is a bummer.

Vintagewings
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Re: Vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre / Information Needed

Postby Vintagewings » Fri May 10, 2024 4:50 pm

Case maker riddle has been solved!

“Barnett Esh, a talented bench jeweler, and Rachael Kaspar, a dynamic saleswoman, met in 1916 and became partners – in business and, eventually, in life. Kaspar & Esh’s very first pieces were made by Barnett in the kitchen of his small apartment. As the business developed, Barnett worked alongside a few additional jewelers, polishers and setters in a factory in lower Manhattan. Rachael – still the lone salesperson – traveled across the country with her line of samples tucked under her sleeper car pillow for safety.

In the late 1920s, the Great Depression changed everything,and the market for gold and diamond jewelry disappeared almost overnight. Timepieces, however, were selling, so Kaspar & Esh switched gears and began manufacturing watchcases for Longines Wittnauer.

This line of business grew and by the mid-1930s, Barnett – along with two partners – bought the exclusive U.S. rights to Longines Wittnauer. As before, the watch movements were shipped to New York from Switzerland, but the design, manufacture, assembly and distribution of the watches was all done in-house by Kaspar & Esh.

Through the early 1940s, Kaspar & Esh continued producing watchcases and began manufacturing fine jewelry once again. Needing more space, the company moved uptown to a 7,000-square-foot factory in the Diamond District, where they would remain for the next 50 years.”


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