Coming Up For Auction: WatchCollecting offers a fascinating & rare Jaeger LeCoultre...
It was a website that truly revolutionised the classic car auction scene, having sold nearly £75 million worth of cars since being launched last year – including £10 million worth of cars last month alone, as it expanded internationally. Now, the team behind www.collectingcars.com is planning to do the same in the world of watches, with www.watchcollecting.com.
We’ll be regularly featuring a variety of the watches that are about to be auctioned or have just been auctioned, showcasing the sheer variety of what’s on offer. So we’re pleased to start with something very special, made by a company that’s rightly known as the ‘watchmaker’s watchmaker’.
In other words, Jaeger LeCoultre: the renowned Swiss watchmaker that has made a speciality out of extraordinary and complicated movements that simply take your breath away. The offering currently up for auction is no exception: the Duomètre.
As the name suggests, you practically get two movements for the price of one here – and that price is in the region of €43,000 new, if you’d like to buy one directly from Jaeger LeCoultre. But for that, you get a lot of watch. A whole 42mm of it, made in 18K yellow gold on the example up for auction – part of a limited edition of 300.
But let’s look at that movement because that’s the key interest here. It’s what JLC calls a ‘dual-wing concept, meaning that it has two unique energy sources. The first powers the watch and is solely focused on telling the time. The second one deals with all the other functions: hours, minutes, seconds and that amazing moon phase. The result is not only unprecedented accuracy but also a mesmerising spectacle. This watch marks a landmark in design as it was an entirely new concept when introduced, which went on to win several awards. And that’s what’s going to attract the bidders here – although they are going to need quite deep pockets.
Take a look around, as there’s a lot to see. The dial on the right side displays the time, and Arabic numerals are applied at 3,6,9 and 12 o’clock. On the left, there’s a sub-dial containing a date display, age of the moon indicator, and a beautiful burgundy moon phase in the centre. The dial cut-outs at the bottom show two power reserve indicators - one for each barrel. Finally, the sub-dial at 6 o’clock displays a jumping seconds hand that moves in sixth of a second increments. This is poetically known as the seconde foudrayante – the lightning second. It whizzes around almost manically, with the large seconds hands in the middle providing a graceful contrast. Despite all that, using it is pretty easy: at 10 o’clock there’s a rectangular pusher dedicated to changing the date, and the crown at 3 o’clock is there for all other functions. It's a manual wind, so you can enjoy interacting with it every day.
The Duomètre was first introduced back in 2007 and this particular example dates from 2014. It’s described as being in great condition with very little wear, having benefitted from a full Jaeger LeCoultre service in July 2016. As well as the original alligator strap, you also get a wooden presentation box, full papers, and most importantly of all, a loupe. That’s going to be a vital accessory when it comes to goggling at the beautiful complexity of everything that’s going on inside this watch. The celebrated calibre 381 movement is quite simply a work of art, and even if you don’t appreciate or understand the mind-bending micro-engineering, there’s enough happening to keep you staring for hours on end.
It’s watches like this that make you stop and really appreciate the watchmaker’s art. And they also make you keep coming back to sites like watchcollecting.com, even with no chance of affording it. Keep an eye on this one and watch the price rise: you probably won't see another one quite like it.