May 11, 2012, London, UK -
As the Official Timekeeper of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, Jaeger-LeCoultre is honoured to celebrate Her Majesty’s sixty years on the throne. Jaeger-LeCoultre Chief Executive Officer Jérôme Lambert presented a 101 jewellery timepiece to Her Majesty Queen, an homage to the piece she wore at the time of Her Coronation 60 years ago.
’’The entire family of Jaeger-LeCoultre is particularly proud to see the 101 in the Royal collection again’’,
Jérôme Lambert said to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, as she marvelled at the piece and its minute proportions. Since 1929, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 101 holds the world record of the smallest mechanical movement, consisting of 98 tiny parts totalling barely one gram.
Calibre 101, one of the world’s most extraordinary technical accomplishments
Created in 1929 in the workshops of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre, this prodigious feat of micromechanical engineering has been a watchmaking icon for over 80 years. The momentously eventful period of 1920-1930s was distinguished by cultural and artistic effervescence, technical progress and social emancipation – especially for women. The watchmaking world was slowly but surely shifting from pocket-watches to wristwatches, while ladies’ watches were also taking off. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 1924 introduction of its famous Duoplan movement was doubly significant: from a technical standpoint, by proving that daintiness and precision are not incompatible; and aesthetically speaking, by freeing timepieces from their classic round shape.
Building on this feat, the Manufacture pursued its research into scaled-down mechanisms and succeeded in miniaturising the Duoplan movement without compromising its reliability. This led to the birth in 1929 of Calibre 101, which was to become firmly acknowledged as the smallest mechanical movement ever made. Entirely in tune with feminine eclecticism, it lent itself to all manner of daring approaches, offering the in-house designers boundless ways of giving free rein to their creative instincts. Its jewellery versions have since then adorned the daintiest and noblest wrists, including that of Queen Elizabeth II of England at her coronation in 1953.
Gem-setting techniques among Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 180 know-hows
While the watchmakers mastering the meticulous assembly of Calibre 101’s 98 tiny parts totalling barely one gram belong to a rare breed indeed, jewellers capable of finding the aesthetic vocabulary worthy of celebrating its diminutive silhouette are equally few and far between.
A concern for detail has inspired and driven the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre since 1833, as its artisans and master craftsmen mingle age-old techniques and the latest technological breakthroughs in imagining the finest timepieces. The most ancient decorative arts are among the precious skills that hold no secrets for the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux. Enamelling, engraving and gem-setting are a range of virtuoso crafts that it associates in its various horological and artistic creations and that is masters under its own roof.
In the Manufacture’s workshops, gem-setting is treated as an art in its own right. Not content with simply mastering the traditional, time-honoured practices of their profession, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s gemsetters have always been keen to develop new techniques in response to particular aesthetic challenges Jaeger- LeCoultre has developed two remarkably inventive and unique techniques: snow setting and rock setting. Revealed by the gem-setters of the Manufacture, these techniques are exercising ever-increasing appeal upon designers and clients who appreciate new forms of expression in the field of jewellery- making.