A gentlemans' 10 carat gold filled Futurematic automatic bumper wrist watch made by Jaeger LeCoultre. It dates to 1953, and is in very good original condition. This is a rare Futurematic model as the dial is a different design to most that were manufactured. The power reserve register displays red cross hatching in the quadrant which indicates that the watch is running down. It has batons and Arabic numerals to mark the hours as opposed to batons and pyramid dots. The two subsidiary registers are a little smaller than the regular model so the hands are also smaller. The case and factory original dial (most dial refinishers cannot replicate this design) present very well and the movement is running strongly and keeping time. A new good quality strap has just been fitted and the crystal was replaced recently so this lovely watch is ready to wear. It is correctly signed on the case, dial and movement.
The Futurematic is one of the most collectible and innovative models manufactured by this famous company and probably second only to the Reverso in their vintage model range . Even today it looks futuristic and when I list one for sale, it always attracts considerable interest. The watch displays a chronograph style dial with two registers, a power reserve indicator and a seconds dial. The case houses an automatic “bumper” movement, especially designed for the Futurematic model. Jaeger LeCoultre was so confident about the quality of this new movement that the company decided not to spoil the aesthetics of the watch by adding a crown. Instead it has a disc on the back cover which slides inwards to set the time.
A watch with a “bumper” movement is always in demand from collectors. If you look at the photographs you can see that the rotor does not turn continuously through 360 degrees but bounces back and forth through around 300 degrees. Older Omega watches also had this type of movement. These two companies probably manufactured more bumper watches than any other watchmaker. This watch is correctly signed by the manufacturer in three places, on the dial, case and movement.
Dial: finished in satin silver and signed “LeCoultre Futurematic Swiss". The power reserve indicator is located at the 9
Case: 10 carat gold filled in good condition, measuring approximately 35 mm across and 44 mm from lug to lug. The inside of the case is signed LeCoultre". The case shows the expected marks from use over the years. All that I could see to point out to you is a couple of small nicks on the side of the case which look to be tool marks caused by opening the case. You can see them in the ante-penultimate photo below.
Movement: high quality cal. 497 17 jewel automatic bumper movement, signed “LeCoultre Co”, running well and keeping time. The complicated movement has a function which automatically stops the watch from winding when it is fully wound to reduce wear to the mechanism. And when the watch is nearly run down and is not being worn, it will hold a small power reserve so that when it is picked up it will run for a few hours without further winding. The bumper unit is an early automatic movement, first seen in watches in the late 1940's, with many Jaeger LeCoultre and Omega watches housing them up to the mid 1950's. Unlike the modern rotors which sit on top of the mechanism and rotate through 360 degrees, the bumper rotor rotates through a little over 300 degrees, hits a sprung stop which cushions the impact of the hammer action and helps sends the rotor to swing back to a stop on the other side of the movement. It should be "kick started" when first used by shaking the watch back and forth gently for a few minutes. You will see the power reserve indicator moving out of the red as the watch winds. When it is fully wound the watch will automatically stop winding. Older automatics are not as efficient as modern day mechanisms, (and we tend to lead more sedentary lives than 68 years ago). Therefore, depending on how much use and movement the watch receives when worn, it may need manual winding from time to time by shaking the watch back and forth it for a couple of minutes or so .
Strap: fitted with a new generic brown lizard grain strap which fitted to the watch measures approximately 206 mm from buckle tip to last hole.