This watch is the stainless steel version of the much sought after and highly collectible Powermatic gentlemans' power reserve indicator automatic watch, manufactured by Jaeger LeCoultre 69 years ago in 1950. Due to its rarity, the stainless steel Powermatic model always sells for a higher price than the comparatively easier to find gold filled version but not as much as the much harder to find solid gold model, one of which I am fortunate enough to currently have listed for sale. This watch is an automatic “bumper” timepiece with a power reserve indicator on the dial. When the mechanism is fully charged, the indicator shows 40 hours running time and moves into red when the power reserve is nearly discharged.
In very good overall condition, the case and dial present well and the movement is running strongly and keeping time. The watch winds by the rotor when the watch is shaken back and forth by wrist action (you can feel the bumper action). It can also be manually wound by turning the crown. It only takes a few seconds to manually wind it to a full 40 hour charge. The watch is signed in three places, on the dial, case and movement.
Case: stainless steel with a screw back cover, in good condition, measuring approximately 33 mm across, excluding the crown and 42 mm from lug to lug. The inside of the case is signed "LeCoultre Co Swiss". There are the expected signs of use over the years but no signs of abuse, dents or scratches of any significance that I could see to draw to your attention.
Dial: signed "LeCoultre Automatic", with an inner minutes track and hours marked by luminous Arabic numerals. The power reserve indicator is located just under the 12 o'clock position. The hands are in good shape and the crystal is clean and clear. The dial has been professionally restored within the last few years.
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 212 mm from buckle tip to last hole.