LeCoultre was founded in 1833 in Switzerland by Antoine LeCoultre and Jaeger was founded in 1880 in Paris by Edmond Jaeger, and after successfully collaborating for over 30 years the two companies merged in 1937 and became Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Antoine created watch parts of such accuracy that no instrument could measure their degree of accuracy so he famously created the world’s most accurate measuring instrument of it day, the Millionomètre. And in 1847, Antoine LeCoultre developed a revolutionary system which did away with the need for keys to rewind and set watches.
At the first Universal Exhibition of 1851 in London, Queen Victoria acquired a pendant watch equipped with a LeCoultre calibre. The show also earned Antoine LeCoultre a gold medal for his gold chronometer, as well as his numerous achievements: lever winding mechanism, cutting-edge manufacturing processes and excellent parts allowing for interchangeability.
The basis of what is described today as “mass production” already existed in Swiss watch production in 1866, when watchmaking skills were divided up around small home-run workshops and each watch would be built using a collaboration of highly specialist companies and artisans. But in 1866 Antoine LeCoultre and his son Elie decided to pull together under one roof all the many skills involved in making watches, and install a steam-driven machine to power their new tools. LeCoultre & Cie became the first Manufacture of the Joux Valley. Today it houses over 180 skills necessary for designing and building the most prestigious timepieces from start to finish.
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