The story of Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 101 movement is inseparable from the story of ‘Duoplan’ movement. To understand the importance of this series of movements, it must be kept in mind that between the two world wars, women’s fashion tended to very small watches. Any watchmaker who cares about superb craftsmanship knows that extremely small dimensions can negatively affect quality.
In 1929, Jaeger-LeCoultre created a small Duoplan, named Caliber 101, which became the smallest movement in the world. Its length is 14 mm, its width is 4.8 mm, and its thickness is only 3.4 mm! So far no movement can be more mini. The picture shows the modern version of Caliber 101
Henri Rodanet (1884-1956), born in Paris with a large watchmaking family, was quickly attracted to this problem. At the beginning of the First World War, he first thought of the idea of making a double-sided watch movement. His idea was simple: in order to save a large balance wheel and thus ensure high precision, he had to place the machine on the bottom plane to give it the most space. However, in the history of innovative technology, there is often an insurmountable gap between an excellent idea and mass production.
After the war, Henri Rodanet was hired by Edmond Jaeger, who was then ill, and took over the technical guidance of Etablissements Ed. Jaeger in Paris. The privileged relationship between LeCoultre & Cie and Parisian society allows all wishes to be fulfilled, because only fully integrated watchmaking factories can achieve the most innovative projects, such as Duoplan movements. It will take several years before the first Duoplan movement series is finally produced in the watch factory in Ru Valley, Switzerland in 1925.
The current version represents its fourth-generation design, Caliber 101/4 with 98 components. Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre movements, the movement is completed and assembled by hand
Finally, it was the invention of a watch that combined elegance and fine watchmaking technology, which caused a worldwide sensation. To achieve pure lines, the winder is placed under the watch. The first cases were designed in Paris in a pure Art Deco style and manufactured in the watchmaking workshop of the Jaeger company. After the crisis of 1929, a large workshop from the Swiss valley Rugen enriched its equipment and perfected its ability to make the entire Duoplan.
This watch shapes the perfect combination of fashion and technology, however, the watchmakers of Jaeger and LeCoultre are not satisfied with making this watch. In 1929, they created a small Duoplan, named Caliber 101, the smallest movement in the world. Its length is 14 mm, its width is 4.8 mm, and its thickness is only 3.4 mm! At the core of the movement, a small hairspring vibrates 21,600 times per hour.
Such a magical creation will later be installed on the world’s most exquisite and exclusive jewelry watches. Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 101 is used in hundreds of models and is equipped with the most beautiful diamonds to decorate the wrists of the luckiest women. During the coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II Pepe was accompanied by a watch with the famous Jaeger-LeCoultre movement, a gift that French President Le Brun gave to her while she was still a princess.
The background of the creation of Caliber 101 is between the two world wars. At that time, women’s fashion tended to very small watches, which inspired the idea of mini movements that could be loaded into fine jewelry.
Since 1929, Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 101 has been produced in very small quantities by the finest craftsmen of the watchmaker. With the development of advanced technology, some improvements have been made to the movement in terms of materials and machinery. The current version represents its fourth-generation design. Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 101/4 has 98 components. Like all Jaeger-LeCoultre movements, this movement is completed and assembled by hand, and is definitely one of the most representative works in the history of the brand.