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February's Object - Jaeger-LeCoultre Wristwatch

Noel Poirier

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Jul 30, 2007
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Wristwatch, c. 1953, Jaeger-LeCoultre. Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatch of 18 K yellow gold, with a silvered dial. Open work ornamental cover with 5 full cut diamonds, having a total weight of approx 0.30 ct. Each lug is set with 4 full cut diamonds having a total weight of approximately 0.18 ct ( total 0.36). It has elaborate lugs in the shape of the Coronation crown, each with 4 diamonds. Round gold mesh band marked ”750, 14”, Gold. Back of case marked ”534088 A”. Back Wind & Set. From Jaeger-LeCoultre records: ”...we have no idea if it was the model presented to the Queen by the Swiss Government. Do you have any tangible information about this present? The model is absent from our archives but the hallmarks in the back of case seem correct. The 18 K gold case 534088A (which correspond with calibre 8NR = 469) isn't referenced nor dated in our archives. Calibre Jaeger-LeCoultre 469. Movement 686233 produced in 1950 (quantity unknown).”
 

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MartyR

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Dec 16, 2008
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It has elaborate lugs in the shape of the Coronation crown ....

From Jaeger-LeCoultre records: ”...we have no idea if it was the model presented to the Queen by the Swiss Government. Do you have any tangible information about this present? ”
Strictly speaking there is no such thing as "the coronation crown" in Britain. Each British monarch selects the crown from the Crown Jewels in which he/she wishes to be crowned, and that becomes the "coronation crown" for that monarch. Every crown in the Crown Jewels collection has been used for a coronation; I believe that St Edwards Crown was the most popular. Queen Elizabeth selected the Imperial State Crown (which was made for her father King George VI) and is shown (at the top right of the page) in this link.

Visually, the crown-shaped lugs on this watch bear little resemblance to this crown. Crucially, British crowns have only 4 arches whereas the lugs show a 6 or 7 arches, and this reminds me more of a Continental coronet than a British crown. I infer into the text that I have quoted above that the Museum has suggested that this watch may have been gifted to Queen Elizabeth by the Swiss government on the occasion of her coronation? This is entirely fanciful, I think, since apart from my comments on the crowns, it is unthinkable that such a gift would not incorporate the Royal Coat of Arms on the front cover rather than the entirely decorative cross shape, and even more surprising that it would not have an engraved presentation inscription.

Jaeger's reply quoted above does seem to imply that the Swiss government did present the Queen with a watch, but I cannot believe it was anything like this one.

Or is my inference completely wrong?

Incidentally, this is certainly a beautiful looking watch :)