|Dial Color:||Creme white|
|Bracelet/Strap:||WRIST ICONS leather strap made by Jean Paul Menicucci|
|Box/Paper:||Handmade Leather Travel Pouch IF ordered at WRIST ICONS|
Jaeger-LeCoultre Geomatic E399 caliber K881G
Check out this attractive Jaeger-LeCoultre Geomatic automatic wristwatch with chronometer quality made in the 1960ies. The funny thing is that when you check out this piece it looks like a real casual watch. But when you take a closer look, this piece will really grow on you. Let us explain why!
This watch has one of the first JLC automatic chronometer calibers. If you look under the hood, then you will understand why this piece is special. It is a special piece for all those high flyers out there who prefer to fly stealthy and low under the radar. Those in the know, they simply know.
This is a lovely example of a gents vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. This Jaeger-LeCoultre watch is set in a polished 36mm stainless steel case. A watch like the Geomatic doesn't have to be bigger to be more charming. Despite its modest size ( 36 mm ), the Geomatic seems to take benefit of the important aperture of its dial, and it looks like a 38 mm watch. The case wears and looks larger than 36mm due to having large dial and practically no bezel.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Geomatic E399 is an important watch, due to its fantastic chronometer movement. The Geomatic was released in 1962, one year after the discontinuation of its famous " sister ", the Geophysic, and had quite a long life ( 7 years ), while its production was rather limited. According to LeCoultre archives, only 1700 of these were made from early 1962-1969. LeCoultre made very few chronometre grade movements, while Rolex and Omega made over 100,000 during same period.
Some interesting facts about the stainless steel JLC Geomatic
The Watchmaker of Watchmakers
As you might know, Jaeger-LeCoultre is also known as The Watchmaker Of Watchmakers. In 1833, Mr LeCoultre was the very first to establish a factory in the Vallée de Joux, founded before many other high end watch brands like Patek (1839) and Audemars (1875). JLC ignited the Valley’s specialty for particularly high-end, complicated horology, and it wasn’t long before the valley became the epicenter of innovative Swiss watchmaking – the Silicon Valley of its day. Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are all neighbours, but Jaeger-LeCoultre remains the ultimate “Watch Valley” brand; the Watchmaker of Watchmakers.
Nowadays a lot of the Swiss watch companies pride themselves as being a Manufacture. So what actually is a Manufacture d'horlogerie (meaning "watchmaking manufacturer")?
It is a French language term of horology that has also been adopted in English language as a loanword. In horology, the term is usually encountered in its abbreviated form manufacture. This term is used when describing a wrist watch movement or watchworks fabricator which makes all or most of the parts required for its products in its own production facilities, as opposed to simply assembling watches using parts purchased from other firms.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is certainly one of the world’s most desirable watch brands, with current models being offered at phenomenal cost and its vintage output sought after worldwide by an army of fanatical devotees. Jaeger-LeCoultre movements are arguably the finest produced by any luxury Swiss manufacturer and are manufactured entirely “in house” at the company’s factory in the Vallee de Joux. Only a tiny handful of true “manufactures” exist ( this term being the correct one used to describe a brand that is capable of making every individual component part in its movements) and these firms are enormously revered within the industry. Even the majority of the most famous Swiss luxury marques do not actually build their own calibers from scratch, instead purchasing raw movements from one of the major Swiss “ebauche” suppliers and adding their own, in house, complication modules as required.
JLC has supplied calibers and components to all the brands. Mentioned above, and in the days when the snow still meant lockdown, the great and the good of Geneva’s ateliers, just 60km down the other side of the slopes, would have to pray they’d stocked up enough LeCoultre components to last the long winter.
The History of the K881G caliber
This Jaeger-LeCoultre watch houses the automatic caliber K881G. The JLC 881 is an automatic chronometer movement from Jaeger-LeCoultre. Introduced in 1961, the Calibre 881 was much more advanced than earlier Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic movements. No longer a bumper movement, Cal 881 features a full 360º winding system and, unlike many similar movements of the era, can wind in both directions. It beat at 19,800 vph, has a sweep second hand, and a date window.
The Calibre 881 was used in the famous Jaeger-LeCoultre Geomatic (ref E 398) and was submitted to COSC for chronometer certification. Jaeger-LeCoultre had earlier achieved chronometer certification with a descendent of their first automatic, P 476/3.
The Jaeger LeCoultre Geomatic of 1962 to 1970, mentioned above in the context of the movement and one of the most sought after vintage models by this revered company, has a case and dial that are almost identical to the item here. Better still, the Geomatic contains a very slightly modified version of the K881 movement in this watch, given the caliber number K881G with the G standing for Geomatic.
As one would expect from any product of the Jaeger-LeCoultre factory, the automatic, caliber K881G movement is a sheer delight to examine. The K881 was introduced in 1959 and was the first of the firm’s movements to feature a centrally pivoted 360 degree rotor that wound in both directions. The K part of the caliber number was a reference to Kif Flektor, the form of shock protection mechanism used in this unit. Jaeger developed this caliber directly from its famous 493 unit that had been designed specifically at the request of two of the world’s most prestigious watch houses in 1951. Jaeger had first begun production of a self-winding caliber, the 476, in 1947, but chose to create a “bumper” type oscillating hammer automatic caliber, rather than one with a bi-directional rotor. The company flirted with rotor design in 1951 with the superb caliber 493, this winding in only one direction, but Jaeger-LeCoultre watches with this movement were only sold for a two year period and it wasn’t to be until 1959, when the model for sale here was released, that Jaeger-LeCoultre automatics finally entered the modern age. Incidentally, a development of this caliber, the 888, is still manufactured by Jaeger-LeCoultre today which is rather something of an indication of how significant and how brilliant engineered, these K881 movements were.
This particular Jaeger-LeCoultre has been checked by our watch maker. The watch is running and keeping good time. This watch is in beautiful original condition with signs of aging. The case is full and the lines have remained sharp, but there are several scratches. The dial is gorgeous with signs of aging or patina. This is how a non-messed up vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre should look like after 60 years!
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase. Please check our website to have a look at the high resolution pictures on a macro level. You will see every detail at its best.