As the entire nation goes gaga over Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee, it is only natural for the official Timekeeper of the pageant to come up with something extraordinary. In the days leading up to the event, Jaegar-LeCoultre has come up with the limited edition Diamond Jubilee Reverso watch. And now, the celebrated watch manufacturer has designed a one-off version of its iconic 101 jewellery watch to present to the Queen on her sixtieth year of reign. Her Majesty had reportedly worn the same piece at the time of her coronation. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s magnificent gift to the Queen is, therefore, a historical piece which, from all that we hear, has left its royal recipient overjoyed. If the spectacular time piece has been part of a historical event, then the watch itself, we must say, is no less historical either. Registered in record books as the watch with the smallest mechanical movement "Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 101," the Jaeger-LeCoultre beauty is made up of 98 tiny parts weighing around one gram each. So, let us all take a journey back in time, tracing the origins of the Jaegar-LeCoultre 101 watch.
The 101 was born in Jaegar-LeCoultre workshops back in 1929. The watch’s journey from being an engineering breakthrough to a world famous icon spans a period of over eight years. The 101’s period of birth was marked by a series of transformations- social, technological and otherwise. As humanity went experiencing a massive social upheaval, the technology block registered a series of advances. The watch making industry, caught in the winds of time, had started maturing to wristwatches. Pocket watches which ruled the roost till then were gradually melting into oblivion. Exquisite time pieces, meant for feminine hands, were also being thought of. Debuting at an era like this, Jaegar LeCoultre Duoplan movement became an instant hit, the reasons for which may be explained on two different levels. Technologically, the pieces came to represent a perfect blend of precision and daintiness, thereby refuting all previous notions that the two cannot co-exist. From the stand point of aesthetics, the Duoplan movement flagged the beginning of a new era- one that did not restrict itself to the classic round shaped time pieces.
The massive success of Duoplan movement inspired its creator to trigger a series of new researches. What followed next was a plethora of experiments on scaled-down mechanisms. The hard work paid off as Jaeger-LeCoultre succeeded in creating Duoplan miniatures without harming its very essence. The Calibre 101 was born out of this historic feat. Oozing with a feminine aura, it paved way for the emergence of a creative revolution-one where designers and craftsmen did not feel themselves bound by guidelines to conceive and develop pieces. The 101 shot to fame instantly and was soon found gracing the hands of the rich and famous.
Assembling 98 tiny parts into a single watch is probably tad more difficult than it actually sounds. An art mastered by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s skilled craftsmen, there are, indeed, very people who know its nuances inside out. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s craftsmen, artisans in their own right, have blended age old watch making techniques with latest breakthroughs to create the spectacular pieces. The 101 pieces have survived the test of time without losing their charm and aura in any manner whatsoever. That time has failed to malign their appeal became all the more evident when we performed a small back ground check. A breathtaking mix of superior gemological techniques and watch making precision, the Joaillerie 101 Manchette has found place in record books as one of the most expensive watches. Queen Elizabeth’s gift from Jaeger-LeCoultre, let us all hope, is remembered with as much fondness as its counterparts have garnered over time.