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During World War II, the British Ministry of Defense saw the need for their armed forces to have durable timepieces that could withstand the rigors of combat while keeping accurate time. Jaeger-LeCoultre's military watches from this period--particularly their Mark X "W.W.W" and their Mark XI aviator's watches--are enduring examples of tool watches whose movements are as beautiful as they are reliable. The Mark X or "Watch Wristlet Waterproof," one of the Dirty Dozen produced by twelve watch manufacturers for general issue from 1945 to 1948, combined a spartan exterior with a robust, no-frills movement, the caliber 479. Later, the manufacture (along with IWC) conceived of the Mark XI aviator's watch, whose movement--the Calibre 488--answered the MoD's more rigorous specifications of anti-magnetism with a iron covering.
However, in the years immediately preceding the introduction of the Mark XI in 1949, JLC developed another Mark series of pilots' watches that saw service from 1940 to 1946. The Mark VII and Mark VIIA were veritable tool watches that made their way onto the wrists of many British and Allied pilots. These war-time pieces were driven by the Calibre 470, a sturdy and very accurate precursor to the movement used in the Mark XI.
This particular piece, a Reference 2982B, falls in between the Mark VII and the Mark XI. Produced in 1946, it's driven by the Calibre P478. The Calibre P478, derived from the Calibre 488 that drove the Mark XI, is a venerable workhorse movement that would later gain chronometer certification and find its way into the original Geophysic Chronometer a decade later in 1957. The Reference 2982B transitioned into civilian life with the Reference 159, which was produced from 1946 to the 1960s.
With its 33.5mm chromium-plated case, brushed silver dial with Arabic numerals, Feuille-style blued-steel luminescent hour and minute hands with matching blued-steel sweep hand, the Reference 2982B is quintessentially military in appearance. Additionally, with an Extract from the Archives of Jaeger LeCoultre verifying its complete authenticity, this watch should be on the radar of anyone looking for an enjoyable piece of horological history.
Chromium-plated case is approximately 33.5mm (excluding crown). Jaeger-LeCoultre Reference 2892B, JLC Calibre P478 Manually-Winding movement. Circa 1946.
Overall Condition: Chromium-plated case is in very good condition over all. Case has light signs of wear and use in keeping with its age, including some light scratches and tool marks throughout. Dial is in very good condition with signs of age throughout, including some radium burns. Luminescent elements on the Arabic numerals have patinated to a dark brown. Luminescent material on the blued-steel Feuille hands have also gained an even patina over time. Unsigned crown; unsigned case back has light tool marks but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 16mm light brown leather strap.
Also includes Extract from the Archives of Jaeger-LeCoultre.