Jaeger-LeCoultre 101 watch: fit for a queen

A noted name and design among the jewellery and watch world

A noted design among the jewellery watch world, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 101 movement made its debut in 1929. And was seen on the wrist of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953 at her coronation. It had been a gift from the then President of France, Alfred Lebrun, and reportedly had been selected for its discretion. It is one of the smallest mechanical movements, petite in length, width and weight, while featuring 95 hand-assembled components. Beside Her Majesty, Diane Kruger, Dakota Fanning and Catherine Deneuve are among its wearers. 

JLC components
All the components: 101, patrimoine, 2018, Mostra, calibre 101, calibre Duoplan, evolution calibre, éclaté calibre

In its current version the Caliber 101 is in its fourth iteration and features 98 components; and has continuously evolved since its inception, which is supposedly inseparable from the Duoplan caliber. During the inter-war years, small wristwatches were favoured in women’s fashion. But small in watch-making means a negative impact on the quality of the watch itself. It was the watchmaker Henri Rodanet, who came from a family of watchmaking in Paris, that set out to solve this and was hired by Edmond Jaeger to take over the technical direction of Etablissements Ed. Jaeger in Paris. There would still be some years of research before the first series of Caliber Duoplan was finally produced in 1925, and finally the Caliber in 1929. 

A rare 1935 model set with baguette-cut diamonds sold at Sotheby’s in 2014, and there have been further iterations, including the 101 Feuille, which hides the watch dial behind a rose gold and diamond plant leaf at the Venice International Film Festival.