Watch brands today work to within tolerances of one micron. Rather surprisingly, it was a watchmaker, Antoine LeCoultre, who first measured the micron. Already as early as 1844, barely more than a decade after setting up his company, LeCoultre was producing components whose perfection could not be measured by existing tools. He therefore developed the “Millionomètre” to measure tolerances to within a micron.
It was in 1903 that Antoine LeCoultre’s grandson Jacques-David encountered Parisian Edmond Jaeger, who was inventing and producing ultra-thin mechanical watch calibres. After a friendship developed between the two gentlemen, they began to work together on ultra-thin watches. This led to the birth of the “knife” watch in 1907, which was the thinnest watch in the world at the time, with a LeCoultre 145 calibre that was just 1.38mm thick. It was the start of a long-lasting partnership between the two watchmakers.
In 1929 LeCoultre presented the world’s smallest mechanical watch movement, which was undoubtedly a precursor for the brand’s iconic Reverso model, launched in 1931, whose distinctive rectangular shape and Art Deco inspiration is still a cornerstone of the brand’s collection 85 years later.
It was not until 1937 that the Jaeger and LeCoultre officialised their partnership and created the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand.