A fabulous gentlemans' Jaeger LeCoultre Master Mariner Powermatic, power reserve, stainless automatic wristwatch dating to 1957. First introduced in 1948 and with only 100,000 models produced, this watch is an iconic much sought after vintage watch. The Master Mariner version of the Powermatic is rarely seen. And it even more difficult to find a stainless steel version, so so much so that they sell for a little more than a solid gold Powermatic. I was therefore delighted to acquire this example in absolutely amazing condition. It can hardly have been worn for the case to have remained in pristine condition for the last 62 years. The "Powermatic" is an automatic “bumper” watch with a power reserve indicator on the dial which shows 40 hours running time when the power unit is fully charged and it runs down to zero when the watch is unwound. This model has a lovely classic case, a stunning two tone dial and having been professionally serviced in November 2017 and hardly used since (it has been in my personal collection), it is running perfectly and keeping time. Its next service should not be required for several years. The watch is signed in three places, on the dial, case and movement.
Case: stainless steel with a screw back cover, in superb condition, measuring approximately 34 mm across, excluding the crown and 42 mm from lug to lug. The inside of the case is signed "LeCoultre Co Swiss". I have rarely seen a used watch case in such pristine condition so it goes without saying that there are no signs of abuse, dents or scratches of any significance that I could see to draw to your attention.
Dial: in excellent condition finished in two tone satin silver, signed "LeCoultre Automatic Master Mariner Swiss", with an inner minutes track and hours marked by silver coloured Arabic numerals and batons. The power reserve indicator is located just under the 12 o'clock position. The hands show some light tarnishing which I needed a loupe to see and the crystal is clean and clear. I have had the dial has professionally restored to a very high standard by an American company based in Los Angeles which has the correct dies to refinish the dial exactly as it looked when new. I have not come across a UK company that can do the work correctly.
Movement: high quality cal. 481, 17 jewel automatic bumper movement, signed “LeCoultre Co Automatic”, running well and keeping time. The bumper unit is an early automatic movement which was first seen in watches in the late 1940's, with many LeCoultre and Omega watches housing them during the early 1950's. Unlike the modern rotors which sit on top of the mechanism and rotate through 360 degrees, the bumper mechanism rotates through a little over 300 degrees, hits a stop and then bounces back and forth with a hammer action. If you look at the photograph of the movement you will see the springs which cushion the impact of the hammer action and send the rotor back over to the other side of the movement. You will hear and feel the bumper rotor as it moves back and forth when shaken. As with most automatic watch mechanisms (the Futurematic is one exception), the movement can be hand wound. It should be "kick started" when first used by manually winding the watch. When it is fully wound the power indicator will show a 40 hour charge. As older automatics are not as efficient as modern day mechanisms, the watch may need manual winding from time to time to keep the power unit charged, depending on how much use and movement it receives when worn.
Strap: fitted with a generic brown leather strap which fitted to the watch measures approximately 215 mm from buckle tip to last hole.