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From its inception and on to the present day, Jaeger-LeCoultre has produced timepieces that are both timeless and perpetually-appealing. Though their quality is often under-sung, JLC's offerings sing to us in a soft, alluring timbre. Their pieces--such as the Reverso, Deep Sea Alarm, and the Geophysic--seamlessly bridge the gap between beauty and innovation, exuding an appeal that is hard to resist.
While many manufactures devoted their production to military timepieces during World War II, Jaeger-LeCoultre continued to design and produce consumer-grade timepieces alongside aviation wristwatches and a wide array of gauges and cockpit timers and clocks. This particular example dates to the late 1940s and is driven by the Caliber 494. The Caliber 494 is a variant of the same Caliber 478 that powered the brand's military watches and the original Geophysic, but with the addition of a moon-phase and a calendar.
Even with their military timepieces, there's a certain visual appeal in the interplay of the Arabic numerals and the stark black dials. It's as though they're beautiful without meaning to be. But, as in the case with this watch, when JLC tries to make something beautiful, the results are nothing short of stunning.
The svelte 36mm case with its elegant teardrop lugs cradles a lovely matte black dial with Arabic numerals that have aged to a creamy patina. The outer date track is subtle, but accented with the bright red tip of the date indicator. JLC also offered this watch without the moonphase (Reference 2721), but the addition of the moon-phase and its quirky placement is absolutely mesmerizing.
We've seen moon-phases and triple dates from this era in gold and with white or silver dials, but to see one with a black dial and in steel is a rare find.
Powerful yet elegant, this gorgeous moon-phase should be high up on your list.
Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). JLC Caliber 494 Manually-Wound Movement. Circa late 1940s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with no signs of over-polishing. Case does have minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age. Matte black dial is in very good condition with signs of age, particularly to the luminescent elements of the numerals and hands, most notably at 4 o'clock. Moonphase disc is a later replacement. Unsigned crown. Case back has some signs of age but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 17mm light brown leather strap.