Jaeger-LeCoultre Powermatic 14ct 1948 – Ist Edition! (Original Unrestored Dial)

£3,650

100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed

A Carefully Owned & Lightly Used Example

Original Unrestored Dial In Tip-Top Condition

Immaculate Jaeger-LeCoultre 14ct Yellow Gold Case

33mm Diameter Case, Excluding the Original JLC Crown

Very High Grade JLC Cal. 481, 17 Jewel Automatic Movement

Tan/Chestnut Lizard Strap & Gold Plated Jaeger-Coultre Buckle

All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition

Hardwood Presentation Box Included, As Shown

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

VGW Reference: JLC846
Price

£3,650

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Jaeger-LeCoultre

Since the founding of Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1833, the company has had a very inventive history, developing over 1,249 mechanical calibres, registering over 400 Patents and playing a tremendous role in the development of the industry as a whole. Whether it is the keyless watch, the calibre 101, or the iconic Reverso, it would be difficult to imagine a historical account of watchmaking without the mention of Jaeger-LeCoultre.

It is not so well known, that in addition to producing movements for its own watches, Jaeger-LeCoultre has always produced a great many movements for a number of famous watch houses including Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, IWC, and Cartier. Indeed for most of the 20th Century, Jaeger-LeCoultre even supplied bare movements to the great firm of Patek Philippe. For example, in 1967 when Patek Phillippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin needed an ultra-thin automatic movement, it was to Jaeger-LeCoultre they turned. The exquisite Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 920, is still in production and in use today by both Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.

Description

It is becoming popular again for watch manufacturers to include a ‘Power Reserve Indicator’** on some of their more sophisticated automatic watches – and fantastically useful they are too –  in allowing one to know when a watch is running low on power. This helps to avoid unnecessary winding of a watch, simply because one feels its power may be running low. Conversely, it also encourages one to wind the watch when it is running low, avoiding the watch stopping and losing track of time.

Note – automatic movements help to maintain the performance of a watch because a movement is generally better at maintaining its accuracy when it is fully wound, or a minimum of two-thirds wound.

**A Power Reserve Indicator (originally called Réserve de Marche), is a ‘complication’ of a watch movement, designed to show the amount of remaining stored power or charge the watch has left. The power reserve indicator indicates the power contained in the mainspring at any particular moment and this is one of the most useful mechanical watch complications.

Introduced in late 1948, the Calibre 481 evolved from the very first automatic movement from Jaeger-LeCoultre, the JLC Calibre 476. Like the Cal. 476, the Cal. 481 features a bumper winding mechanism, meaning the rotor bounces between springs in an arc of around 270 degrees. The JLC Cal. 481 was the first watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre with a power reserve meter and although the movement has been considerably updated, the product line has continued today, along with the names ‘Powermatic’ and ‘Reserve De Marche’.

Here we have a beautifully preserved and lightly used 1948 vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre Powermatic Cal.481 in 14ct Yellow Gold. This watch has been fully restored by ourselves to the very highest standards and as can be seen from the photographs, it is in totally immaculate condition. This is a very early example. Produced in early 1948, this is one of the very earliest Powermatics, as the Powermatic was first released in late 1948.

Even though is this one of the earliest Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic watches, it is an exceedingly accurate and highly reliable timepiece, which is perfectly useable and practical today.

The Dial

We think Jaeger-LeCoultre, along with Longines, have made some of the most beautiful dials. They are characterised by simple effortless elegance which somehow always looks ‘just right’.

The example here is very rare, as the dial is totally original and unrestored and yet it is in almost flawless condition. Typically, a dial of this age will suffer from fading, staining, pitting, spotting and scratches, but to the naked eye, the dial here looks perfect. Only under high magnification can the faintest signs of spotting be found. We have therefore concluded this dial is far too good to restore and so we have left it alone.

This model was made for the U.S market and hence the dial is signed ‘LeCoultre’ rather than Jaeger-LeCoultre. This beautiful ivory white dial carries applied numerals which are matched with the original restored ‘Index’ hands.

The Powermatic dial has a Power Reserve indicator which reads ’40’ on a white background when it is fully wound or ‘charged’, indicating the watch’s 40hr power reserve. As this runs down, the meter not only continues to indicate the power level or ‘charge’, but the background changes to red as the charge falls below 10 hours. This information was perhaps more important in the early days of automatic watches, as other early examples produced by other manufacturers were not so reliable and did not have such a large power reserve. However, this is a very useful feature to have, even today.

The lens is clear having been replaced with a new original.

The Movement

The watch carries its original Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 481, 17 Jewel movement which is in tip-top condition following a thorough overhaul and service by our vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre specialist watchmaker. This means the movement has been completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected and rebuilt using only original parts where required before careful calibration and testing. Upon return to stock, the watch is now running to within +12 seconds per day, which is outstanding for any vintage watch of this age! When fully wound, this movement has a 40-hour power reserve. It has been very well maintained and cared for and as can be seen, the movement is in sparkling condition.

The movement is signed ‘Jaeger-LeCoultre’ ‘Automatic’ with the Calibre No. 481, along with ’17 Jewels’, ‘Swiss’ and the movement serial number 568463. This serial number dates this watch to 1948 making this one of the first Powermatics to be produced.

These movements are strong, accurate and very reliable, making it completely practical and appropriate for regular everyday use. Our watchmaker has indicated this particular movement is in top condition and with regular servicing, every 3 years we fully expect this watch to run very happily for many more decades to come! We are therefore very pleased to offer a 12-month warranty on this watch movement* and servicing in the future, as required.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.

The Watch Case

Solid gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Powermatics are rare, as for some reason most were made with rolled gold cases which are effectively steel with a thicker gold plate. The 14ct solid yellow gold example here has a 33mm diameter case, excluding the JL signed crown. This case has the most beautiful ‘bullhorn’ lugs which significantly add to the presence of the watch on the wrist.

The watch case is in immaculate condition with no scratches, dings or damage visible to the naked eye. The inside of the case is correctly signed ‘LeCoultre’ and ’14K Gold’ with the case reference number 2166.

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 new Tan/Chestnut Lizard strap and a rare gold-plated JLC buckle. However, if 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 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’ 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.

In Conclusion

This is a simply wonderful vintage gold Jaeger-LeCoultre watch and a particularly significant 1st edition model which holds a special position in the evolution of automatic watches. 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 over 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 view 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 highest 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 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, please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +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!

Thank you.