1950s LeCoultre Futurematic Gold Cap "Cal. 497"
A revolutionary watch made for the next generation that almost ended Jaeger-Lecoutre, or so it's said. The Futurematic utilizes the in-house JLC cal. 497 movement which is renowned as the most advanced and overengineered automatic bumper-style movement, though its speculated JLC never fully recouped from the R&D of the cal. 497 and almost bankrupted the esteemed Swiss watchmaking house due to poor sales of the watch itself.
While automatic bumper movements were commonplace in the 40s and 50s, commonly utilized by Omega, Universal Geneve, and Zenith, the innovative cal. 497 from JLC introduced numerous unique enhancements during its production from 1951 to 1958. Since there is no way to manually wind the Futurematic, a standard slipping clutch complication to inhibit overwinding of the mainspring is obsolete for the cal. 497, instead JLC implemented a never-before-seen mainspring system that involved wire-hook complication. Along with that is an uncommon-for-the-era hacking seconds hand, executed by an unconventional lever. However, the most unique feature of the cal. 497 is the "stop-work" complication that stops the mainspring with approximately 6 hours of runtime remaining in its reserve, which allows the mainspring to maintain enough energy in its power reserve to begin functioning immediately upon the next time the Futurematic is used in the owner's watch rotation. All tied together in a modestly sized 35mm case with a sleek, seemingly crownless case design and a traditional yet attractive dial layout.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has been one of the leading watch manufacturers and more impressively watch movement manufacturers since the early 1900s, though their dignified roots date all the way back to 1844. Jaeger-LeCoultre or "JLC" for short, produced some of the most important movements for other manufacturers including Patek Philippe, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin. JLC created a multitude of its own extraordinary watches throughout the company's tenure as one of the leading Swiss watchmaking houses.
|2pc Handmade Leather Strap
The 10K yellow gold-capped "crownless" case features long and broad lugs that are designed with a unique flare at the tips which notably increases the overall visual size and presence of the 35mm watch while on the wrist. The case itself is in wonderful condition with minimal wear from previous use and evidence that the case has only been gently polished in the past. The back of the case is in very presentable condition as well, with minimal signs of age or use present. The watch retains its original "SLIDE-DO NOT LIFT" wheel which operated the setting of the hands. The watch comes supplied on a 2pc handmade leather strap.
The original glossy black dial is both elegant and interesting with how it mixes traditional 1950s dial installations and the use of complications. The center of the dial features two large sub-registers, the left of which is the power-reserve indicator with the right being the running second's hand. The dial itself is very well-preserved and in beautiful condition, with some normal elements of age that would be expected for the age of the watch without notable marks or damage present. The radium lume plots exhibit some expected degradation throughout and have aged to a golden-brown color. The original dauphine style hands feature some subtle oxidation and age, under UV light inspection the radium lume at the tip of the hour hand remains mostly intact but the minute hand no longer retains its radium lume.
None. The watch was recently serviced and is keeping time perfectly, backed by our 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.