Jaeger-LeCoultre Cal.285 Chronograph 18ct Pink Gold 1948 37.5mm
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Restored, Serviced & Guaranteed
A Very Carefully Owned And Lightly Used Example
Jaeger Signed Cal.285, 17 Jewel Hand-Wound Chronograph Movement
Beautifully Restored Twin Register Ivory Cream Dial with Original Dauphine Hands
Very Large 18ct Pink Gold Oversize 37.5mm Case, Excluding the JLC Crown
All in Absolute Top Grade, Original and Simply Stunning Condition
Serviced by our Vintage Chronograph Specialist Watchmaker
All Functioning Perfectly and Keeping Very Accurate Time
High Quality Navy Crocodile Strap & Gold Plated Buckle
High Quality Hardwood Presentation Box Included
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
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LeCoultre – the beginnings....
From the humblest beginnings in 1883 in the small family workshop in a farmhouse in the Vallee de Joux, Antoine LeCoultre, and later his sons, were the first to commence watchmaking in the area which is now the centre of all high-end watch manufacture in Switzerland. By 1899, LeCoultre & Cie had become the main employer in the area with over 500 employees under one roof, producing 125 calibres and 31 of the most complicated watch movements on the market.
It wasn’t until 1903 that LeCoultre & Cie entered into a business relationship with the famed French chronometer maker Edmond Jaeger. Jaeger was the French “horologer de l’etat” or state-appointed watchmaker, who was also working in close co-operation with Cartier. Up and until this point, LeCoultre & Cie was primarily known as a movement manufacturer, with its movements used by other companies watches such as Patek-Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantine. The partnership with Jaeger enabled LeCoultre & Cie to enter the luxury market in its own right, and as wristwatches began to take over from pocket watches, LeCoultre & Cie established itself as an independent brand with the introduction of the DuoPlan in 1925, which is now an art deco classic, and its signature watch, the Reverso in 1931.
In 1937, after 30 years of marketing the same watches under their respective names, Jaeger and LeCoultre formally merged in the marketplace and the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand was born. In most markets from this point forward, watches were sold as Jaeger-LeCoultre, but with two notable exceptions. The name Jaeger remained in use until the 1980s, particularly for instruments, some chronographs and sports watches and to a large degree in the French Domestic market. The US market remained as LeCoultre from 1931 until c1985, mainly due to the regulations and taxes surrounding the import of watches into the U.S.
Since these early beginnings, the company has had an incredibly inventive history, developing over 1,250 mechanical calibres, registering over 400 patents and playing a tremendous role in the development of the industry as a whole. Jaeger-LeCoultre is also the most creative of the top Swiss watch manufacturers, having produced the widest range of distinctive and groundbreaking watches, many of which are of particular interest to collectors. These are the Duoplan (1925), the Reverso (1931), the Triple Date Moonphase (1945), the Powermatic (1948), the Memovox (1949), the Futurematic (1952), the Geophysic (1958), the Geomatic (1962), along with many more. This is in addition to its wonderful chronographs and a huge range of military watches.
Jaeger is also, of course, a very familiar name to vintage and classic car enthusiasts, as in 1921 LeCoultre of Switzerland and Jaeger of France formed a company in England, Ed. Jaeger (London) Ltd to make instruments for prestige car manufacturers. The company was also highly successful in providing instruments to the manufacturers of aeroplanes and marine craft.
We have here a wonderful looking gentleman’s dress-chronograph produced in 1948. This was after Jaeger and LeCoultre had entered into a formal partnership, but while nearly all Jaeger-LeCoultre’s chronographs were still marketed with just the Jaeger name signed on the dial and movement. This probably made good sense from a marketing standpoint, since the Jaeger name was not only a highly reputable watch brand, but it had also built a strong reputation and a high degree of public recognition with its dashboard instruments, used for measuring the speed and monitoring the engines of the very best cars and aircraft.
However, this beautiful watch was not specifically designed for professional use, but rather as an expensive, sophisticated dress watch for a gentleman to wear and exhibit his good taste and affluence.
This watch is exceptional, not only for is quality, size and condition, but also due to the fact that this is an Edmond Jaeger signed 18ct pink gold chronograph, which makes this a very rare watch indeed.
Often, chronograph dials can be overly busy and consequently difficult to read, but this is one of the most elegant and beautiful we have seen on any chronograph. It is the model of simplicity, beautifully symmetrical and well balanced and proportioned. The dial itself in Ivory Cream contrasts wonderfully with the pink gold case and original pink gilt Dauphine hands and Arrowhead hour indices. It is signed with the 1940s period Jaeger signature.
In essence, this is a highly sophisticated and highly elegant dial – all of which Jaeger-LeCoultre represents.
The dial also carries an outer tachymeter scale which can be used to compute speed, based on travel time, or measure distance based on speed. The black seconds scale is divided into fifths of a second which gives the dial a slightly more technical look, but by no means excessively so.
The lens is clear having been replaced with a new original part.
This is the original dial which has been the subject of an earlier restoration, to a very high standard.
As can be seen, just like the rest of this watch, the movement is amazingly clean and well cared for. Generally speaking, a watch movement of this age will begin to show some tarnishing on some of its surfaces caused by moisture. However, this movement has been kept in tip-top condition through regular servicing and proper care and attention. Again, along with the condition of the rest of the watch, the movement indicates this watch has been treated with all the proper care it deserves.
The original Jaeger signed Calibre.285, 17 Jewel movement has been given a thorough overhaul and service by our vintage chronograph specialist watchmaker. This means the movement has been completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected and rebuilt using only the correct original parts where required before careful calibration and testing. Upon returning to stock, the watch is now running to within +5 seconds per day! This is truly outstanding for any vintage watch of this age! When fully wound, this movement has a 40 hour power reserve. We therefore have no hesitations in offering this watch with our 12 months’ warranty*
With proper care and attention, we can see this watch lasting another lifetime of faithful service.
Please note – It is important to remember that after the chronograph function can be started through the operation of the top button, it should be stopped with the same button and then reset with the bottom button after use. i.e. the chronograph function is not designed to be left running and this will cause unnecessarily increased wear.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.
The Watch Case
Gold Jaeger-LeCoultre chronographs from this period are rare, as most were made of steel or steel and gold. 18ct Pink Gold is the rarest, but pink gold chronographs of this size, at 37.5mm excluding the crown, are the rarest of all. Most were size 33mm and many were made in case sizes of 30 to 32mm. In fact, there was some competition among watch manufacturers to demonstrate which company could build smaller and smaller chronographs while still remaining accurate and reliable, which is of course, harder to do. But how times have changed!
Most importantly, this case carries the correct Edmond Jaeger markings on the outside of the case body opposite the crown. Watches did not begin to have signed crowns until the late 1950s or early 1960s and so this is the reason the crown is not signed by Jaeger.
The case is a heavy sturdy three-piece design with pleasing swept back lugs. The case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved. It is also tight fitting and presses back with a nice solid and reassuring ‘pop’. Inside the case-back carries French 18ct hallmarks and externally, the serial numbers 140177 and 19518.
The most remarkable aspect of this case, apart from its rarity, is its condition. It is simply superb. From each and every viewpoint it is very difficult to fault, with no signs of scratches, dings or damage visible to the naked eye. After cleaning and careful inspection for integrity, and then some very gentle hand-polishing, the case was very quickly brought back to the condition you see here.
Please note – our standard advice applies: Vintage Watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap and Buckle
The watch is fitted with a high quality Navy Blue Crocodile strap and pink gold plated buckle, which we feel suits the watch perfectly. If, however, a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown burgundy and black straps in stock, in plain, padded leather, alligator, crocodile or lizard skin.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating the watch to circa 1948.
Our detailed ‘Particulars’ document will be included in the sale, with our detailed receipt and our 12 months’ warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ and certificate which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The watch also comes complete with a good quality hardwood presentation box, as shown.
This is a simply beautiful vintage gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Chronograph and one which we have been very fortunate to acquire, own and admire, if only for a short while! However, we are very proud to offer this superb example here, in completely immaculate condition. It is many more times more stylish than a modern equivalent watch and even though around 70 years old, it is still completely fresh, reliable and practical to wear as an everyday watch, should you wish to do so. However you may look at it, this timepiece will make an excellent investment and heirloom piece, as well as be something to treasure and enjoy. As each year goes by and the world market for vintage gold watches grows ever larger, the limited supply allied to high demand means prices will inevitably climb ever higher!
A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very best quality watches we can find, before restoring these to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you wish to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note, we welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will be happy to Service, Repair or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions, you are very welcome to call us on: 020 7727 7095. If calling from overseas our landline number is: +44 207 727 7095.
We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting, we will also be very happy to hear from you. We await your call!
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine Vintage Gold Watches!