A rare and fine stainless steel chronometer wristwatch with center seconds

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  • Manufacturer: Jaeger-LeCoultre
    Year: 1958
    Reference No: E168
    Movement No: 1'331'979
    Case No: 748'201
    Model Name: Chronometre Geophysic
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. P478BWSbr, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Alligator
    Clasp/Buckle: Jaeger LeCoultre original stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 35mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming production of the watch in 1958

  • Catalogue Essay

    A tool watch in its own right, the Chronometre Geophysic was created in 1958 during the official International Geophysical Year, an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958 where 67 nations participated in scientific exploration of our planet’s most inhospitable and unexplored places. It also marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between the East and West had been seriously interrupted.
    Destined for explorers and scientists, the Geophysic had a Bauhaus-inspired, no-nonsense dial optimized for the reading of time. Its chronometer movement (something quite rare for the brand at the time) featured a central hacking seconds hand, a special adjustment system for ease of regulation, as well as a Glucydur balance that would not be adversely affected by the changes in temperature. The movement was further protected thanks to a soft iron anti magnetic inner case, and was thus resistant to 600 Gauss – perfect for the research scientists working on polar bases, in laboratories, and inside submarines. Accordingly, in the summer of 1958, the citizens of Geneva gifted Geophysics to the captains of the SS Skate (Calvert) and Nautilus (Anderson) to commemorate their accomplishment of traversing the North Pole in their submarines. Scholarship suggests that slightly over 1000 Geophysic models were made.
    The present lot made in 1958 comes from the family of the original owner, and is in pristine condition - worn very rarely and with great care for special occasions only. Its flawless dial, perfectly preserved enamel medallion on the caseback, and original Jaeger LeCoultre buckle, attest to the exceptional condition of this watch. It is as if it left the factory yesterday. While Jaeger LeCoultre launched a “Tribute to the Geophysic” in 2014, the original Reference E 168 remains one of the most coveted chronometer timepieces for discerning collectors. The present lot is, in our view, the finest example of this legendary reference ever appearing on the market.

  • Maker Bio

    Jaeger-LeCoultre

    Swiss • 1833

    Not all companies in the watchmaking field have been able to stand the test of time quite like Jaeger LeCoultre, also known as the "watchmaker's watchmaker." Founded in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre and originally named LeCoutre, the firm provided watchmaking's top brands, such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, the high-grade, unfinished mechanical movements with which they completed their watches.



    In the early 1900s, Cartier's watch supplier Edmond Jaeger sought out LeCoultre's help in creating the world's thinnest watches. The collaboration resulted in the creation of Cartier's earliest Tank and Santos watches, all housed with LeCoultre movements. The duo decided to merge in 1937, and the firm officially became the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand by which collectors know and adore it today. Some of the firm's most significant and important timepieces include the Reverso, the Memovox, the Atmos clock and, among modern watches, their Master Complications.

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Σ17

Ref. E168
A rare and fine stainless steel chronometer wristwatch with center seconds

1958
35mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF15,000 - 25,000 
€13,800-23,000
$15,500-25,800

sold for CHF68,750

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016