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1955 Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 478/C  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2012 06:49 am
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Simon_Leung
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Hello,

Welcome to another classic watch. I haven't been at 3-T much but I will share with you one of the rarest finds that came my way.

The Watch:

1955 Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 478/c.


The Case:

Beautiful solid stainless steel 2-piece snap-back case with classic minimalist design and thin inset original crown.
The watch measures 33.5mm in diameter with 16mm with Hirsch Black Genuine Crocodile strap. Signed inside the back Acier Inoxydable LeCoultre Co. Swiss.

The Dial:

Original factory printed silver dial with steel baton applied markers and outer printed minute track, signed Jaeger-LeCoultre, Swiss Made. Beautiful condition with just a slight even patina to give it that great vintage feel.


The Movement:

Large 12 1/2 ligne calibre 478/c manual wind movement in wonderful condition throughout with indirect center seconds and shock protection on the balance pivots signed Jaeger-LeCoultre Fab. Suisse, Swiss.

Summary:

The 1950s are regarded by many connoisseurs are the decade in which mechanical watch making in Switzerland was at its height and certainly, the quality of both construction and finish in the calibre 478 movement has not been equalled in recent years. To the man in the street with a limited knowledge of classic wristwatches, this is an attractive and elegant old Jaeger LeCoultre, but to someone who is really familiar with the subject, it is also far more than that on many levels.

In simple terms of plain specification, the 478/c is a 16 jewelled manual movement with an exceedingly advanced system of regulation, this allowing the running speed of the balance wheel, and therefore the accuracy of the watch, to be adjusted far more precisely than it could be on almost ever other movement from the same era. But to not look any further than a skeletonised view of this calibre is to completely miss the point as to why it is such a gem.


It is worth noting that this same movement was purchased from Jaeger LeCoultre by Vacheron Constantin, which assigned it the calibre number P1008/BS and fitted it to its “Chronometre Royale” models of the 1950s.


Thank you and enjoy.

Kind regards,
Simon

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Last edited on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:36 am by Simon_Leung

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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:04 am
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Simon_Leung
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Jaeger-LeCoultre in essence of the brand is a high-end manufacture that is ranked with Audemars-Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and Patek-Philippe.

This particular timepiece is the predecessor of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control series that are currently available as the entry level model.




Last edited on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:17 am by Simon_Leung

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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:07 am
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Simon_Leung
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The History of Jaeger-LeCoultre:

In 1833, Antoine LeCoultre (1803–81) founded a small workshop in Le Sentier, Switzerland, for the manufacture of high-quality timepieces. In 1844, he measured the micrometre (μm) for the first time and created the world's most precise measuring instrument, the millionometer, capable of measuring to thousandths of a millimetre. In 1847, LeCoultre developed a system that eliminated the need for keys to rewind and set watches, using a push-piece that activated a lever to change from one function to another.

LeCoultre as a Manufacturer:

Antoine's son, Elie LeCoultre, desired to control all stages of timepiece production, so in 1866 he transformed his workshop into a manufacture, allowing his employees to pool their expertise under one roof. In 1870, LeCoultre began using mechanized processes to manufacture complicated timepiece movements. Within 30 years, LeCoultre had created more than 350 different timepiece calibers, of which 128 were equipped with chronograph functions and 99 with repeater mechanisms. From 1902 and for the next 30 years, LeCoultre produced most of the movement blanks for Patek Philippe of Geneva.


LeCoultre in North America:

Watches sold in North America were sold under the LeCoultre name from 1932 to approximately 1985. After that the Jaeger-LeCoultre name was adopted uniformly worldwide. According to factory records, the last movement to be used in an American LeCoultre watch shipped out of Le Sentier in 1976.

There is substantial confusion over the use of LeCoultre name for the North American market. Some collectors and misinformed dealers make the erroneous claim that the American LeCoultre has nothing to do with Jaeger-LeCoultre Switzerland. The confusion stems from the fact that, in the 1950s, the North American distributor of LeCoultre watches was the Longines-Wittnauer Group, which was also responsible for the distribution of Vacheron Constantin timepieces.

Collectors have confused this distribution channel with the manufacture of the watches. Outside the actual distribution channel, the LeCoultre product, at the manufacturing level, had nothing to do with either Longines, Wittnauer or Vacheron Constantin — with one exception of the "Galaxy", an upmarket mysterious dial diamond watch. According to Zaf Basha, Galaxy is a collaboration between Vacheron & Constantin and LeCoultre for the American market.

It has got LeCoultre in the front and Vacheron & Constantin — LeCoultre stamped on the case. In addition, the LeCoultre trademark was owned by the Société Anonyme de la Fabrique D'Horlogerie LeCoultre & Cie, Le Sentier. The LeCoultre trademark expired and was replaced by the Jaeger-LeCoultre trademark in 1985.

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Last edited on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:09 am by Simon_Leung

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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:16 am
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Simon_Leung
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Jaeger-Lecoultre also made instrumentation panels for
vintage sports and racing cars. They were movement suppliers to Cartier, Patek-Philippe, Audemars-Piguet and Vacheron Constantin.

Last edited on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:19 am by Simon_Leung

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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:22 am
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Khronos
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Thanks for the write-up Simon and congrats on a very elegant timepiece!
D

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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:27 am
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Simon_Leung
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You're welcome Khronos and thank you for the compliment.
33.5 mm is considered small by modern standards, but I thought I post a timepiece that very few people know about.

Kind regards,
Simon

Last edited on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 07:28 am by Simon_Leung

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 Posted: Wed Nov 14th, 2012 10:49 am
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Hammerfjord
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Congrats on this vintage Simon! I know that it's a nice prize for you...
I regret that those cool vintages are so little: Too little for me...
Don't look good on my wrist
crap.gif

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 Posted: Wed Nov 14th, 2012 06:07 pm
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Simon_Leung
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The Current line up of Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control series are 40 mm are quite big for a dress watch. However, former President Bill Clinton's Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Alarm Navy Seals is 44 mm.

Kind regards,
Simon

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 Posted: Fri Mar 25th, 2016 06:38 pm
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samrina
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Hi. Do you know how much a watch like that is worth or if it's worth keeping?

I recently came across one and I love it!

Thanks

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 Posted: Fri Mar 25th, 2016 07:36 pm
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oagaspar
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samrina wrote: Hi. Do you know how much a watch like that is worth or if it's worth keeping?

I recently came across one and I love it!

Thanks
are you aware this thread is 4 years old?

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 Posted: Fri Mar 25th, 2016 07:39 pm
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samrina
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No, sorry. I just joined today.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 26th, 2016 12:24 am
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oagaspar
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samrina wrote: Hi. Do you know how much a watch like that is worth or if it's worth keeping?

I recently came across one and I love it!

Thanks
depending on current condition of your watch and whether it in good running condition  will determine how much someone is willing to pay for your watch.I have seen these go for as low as $300. to as high as $2500. in excellent condition...

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