LeCoultre? Minute Repeater

John Cote

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I picked this watch up just before it might have gone to melt. It seems to be a LeCoultre product but has no name and no serial number visible anywhere including under either hammer. It is jeweled through the hammers and has wolf's teeth on the winding wheels. In case you can't see it, the watch is nail set and with slide repeat activationThe box seems original and is from a known Rotterdam jeweler which would have been in business when the watch was made. I will get around to taking the dial off but would anybody dispute the LeCoultre genes?

Thanks

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John Cote

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John, LeCoultre or not it is one nice save. Odd, just the 18k mark on one part of case and no other numbers or description. Doug
It does have the number under the 18k mark but unless there is a serial number under the dial.... I have see a couple of LeCoultres in basically the same case. Who knows?
 

agemo

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Hi,
The movement perfectly resembles the LeCoultre caliber 30, available in 17, 18, 19, and 20 lines.
Very nice watch !

Amicalement GG
 

John Cote

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Hi,
The movement perfectly resembles the LeCoultre caliber 30, available in 17, 18, 19, and 20 lines.
Very nice watch !

Amicalement GG
Thanks very much. That's what I thought. I am always amazed to see these with nothing on the dial and movement but I guess that was a style in Europe. We Americans seem to have wanted at least a private label name.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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Agemo, I had always attributed the movement in my Charpentier quarter-hour repeater to Louis Audemars (it is very like the mens size repeater in Zantke at page 260, but the movement closely resembles John's movement, except that it is a gilt movement. Do you think the movement in my Charpentier is, like John's, based on a LeCoultre ebauche? If so, I doubt it is a Cal. 30 ebauche because you say that the smallest size it came in was 17 ligne. I don't know the diameter of the Charpentier movement, but the cased watch is 34mm in diameter, which is itself smaller than 17 ligne.

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John Cote

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Agemo, I had always attributed the movement in my Charpentier quarter-hour repeater to Louis Audemars (it is very like the mens size repeater in Zantke at page 260, but the movement closely resembles John's movement, except that it is a gilt movement. Do you think the movement in my Charpentier is, like John's, based on a LeCoultre ebauche? If so, I doubt it is a Cal. 30 ebauche because you say that the smallest size it came in was 17 ligne. I don't know the diameter of the Charpentier movement, but the cased watch is 34mm in diameter, which is itself smaller than 17 ligne.
Wowzers I love this watch Ethan
 

Philip Poniz

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The movement perfectly resembles the LeCoultre caliber 30, available in 17, 18, 19, and 20 lines.
Agemo,

Are you sure that it is calibre 30?

It is LeCoultre, the calibre below, which used to be called RPV. LeCoultre made it in three sizes; 13, 18, and 20 lignes [1 LIGNE = 2.255mm].
LeCoultre RPV.jpg


Here is its chronology:

It was born in 1862 as a 20 ligne, calibre 19/20 RPV with quarter repeating (it was still LeCoultre-Borgeaud).
1870 - It became available with one minute repeating.
1875 - 18 ligne calibre 17/18 RPV was launched with quarter repeating. Its production stopped a year later due to small demand.
In 1884 came a 13 ligne women's hunting-cased with quarter repeating calibre 12/13 RPS (RPS is hunting-case correspondent of RPV).
1893 - a five-minute repeating was launched in calibre 19/20 RPV.
1897 - a quarter repeating women's 13 ligne calibre 12/13 RPV was launched in open face watches.
1899 - the company added a chronograph to the 19/20 RPV. From 1903 it was called calibre 19/20 RPVC.

Many calibers at one point were re-named but not these.

Calibre 30 could be 30 INT or 30 A. Both are large movements of 30 lignes launched in 1923 and 1933, respectively. None is a repeater.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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John Cote

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It is LeCoultre, the calibre below, which was called RPV. LeCoultre made it in three sizes; 13, 18, and 20 lignes [1 LIGNE = 2.255mm].


Here is its chronology:

It was born in 1862 as 20 ligne, calibre 19/20 RPV with quarter repeating.
1870. It became available in one minute repeating.
1875. 18 ligne 17/18 RPV was launched with quarter repeating. Its production stopped a year later due to small demand.
In 1884 came 13 ligne women's hunting-cased, quarter repeating, 12/13 RPS (RPS is hunting-case correspondent of RPV).
1893 a five-minute repeating was launched in 19/20 RPV.
1897 a quarter striking women's 13 ligne 12/13 RPV was launched in open face watches.
1899 the company added a chronograph to the 19/20 RPV. From 1903 as 19/20 RPVC.

Many calibers at one point were re-named but not these.
Thanks again for this great response Philip. Since this jewelry store started operating after the turn of the century I thought perhaps this watch might be from around 1920. What do you think? I thought it a bit weird that it would be nail set in this time frame but what do I know?
 

Philip Poniz

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John, although, Caliber 19/20 RPV continued into the 20th c., I doubt that this watch was made after 1920. Besides the earlier style, if it were retailed by Ameling-Merkes and sold in their box, one would expect their signature engraved on the cuvette.
 
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John Cote

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John, although, Caliber 19/20 RPV continued into the 20th c., I doubt that this watch was made after 1920. Besides the earlier style, if it were retailed by Ameling-Merkes and sold in their box, one would expect their signature engraved on the cuvette.
Thanks Philip. I would have expected their signature somewhere too. There is no way to prove that the box is original but the watch allegedly came from the estate of the original owner family. I have also seen another RPV in the same box with another jeweler's name on the box but nothing at all on the watch. I find it weird that there isn't even a serial number visible. I will get the dial off someday and see what is there.
 

John Cote

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I need to make a correction and a couple of additions to this story. First, after cleaning and getting the repeat to work, the watch turns out to be a quarter repeater not a minute. While doing this we got some pictures under the dial and there is another mystery. There is a SN under the dial, 10862, with a matching number scribed on the back of the dial. Also there is a logo of LB & Co on the dial plate. What does the logo mean to the manufacture of the watch. It still appears to be a LeCoultre....I guess. Does the LB stand for Louis Brandt?
LeC-Repeater-UnderDial.jpg


LeC-Repeater-DialBack.jpg


LeC-Repeater-UnderDial-Logo.jpg
 
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eri231

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LeCoultre had amassed a considerable deficit so he requested the intervention of the Vaud State Council
1859: Antoine Le Coultre launches into a new association: the company in sponsor Le Coultre-Borgeaud et Cie, of which he is only a manager. The state of Vaud participated in the social capital in 1860.
1869: The two managers, Antoine Le Coultre and Auguste Borgeaud, bought all the shareholders. Le Coultre-Borgeaud and Cie are their own now. The three sons of Antoine, Elijah (1842-1917), Paul (1845-1912) and Benjamin (1847-1911) entered the association with their father.
1877: Auguste Borgeaud following a riding accident and health problems end of the association Le Coultre-Borgeaud. Auguste Borgeaud and Antoine Le Coultre retreat. The three sons of Antoine take over the company under the Le Coultre et Cie, a general partnership.
Regards enrico
 

John Cote

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1877: Auguste Borgeaud following a riding accident and health problems end of the association Le Coultre-Borgeaud. Auguste Borgeaud and Antoine Le Coultre retreat. The three sons of Antoine take over the company under the Le Coultre et Cie, a general partnership.
Enrico,

Thanks for this great information. If the partnership ended and the name changed in 1877, where/how do we date this watch?

According to Philip's time-line...
It (RPV) was born in 1862 as a 20 ligne, calibre 19/20 RPV with quarter repeating (it was still LeCoultre-Borgeaud).
1870 - It became available with one minute repeating.
1875 - 18 ligne calibre 17/18 RPV was launched with quarter repeating. Its production stopped a year later due to small demand.
In 1884 came a 13 ligne women's hunting-cased with quarter repeating calibre 12/13 RPS (RPS is hunting-case correspondent of RPV).
Does this mean that the watch was born before 1877? If so, I believe the box came to the watch much later:???:
 
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eri231

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The company with Auguste Borgeaud remained active even after Auguste's death. LeCoultre's sons took 4 years to liquidate Borgeaud's (heirs) credits. However, if there were plates left in the warehouse with the LB & Co brand, I don't think they threw them away.
Regards enrico
 
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John Cote

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....However, if there were plates left in the warehouse with the LB & Co brand, I don't think they threw them away.
I just found a picture online of a movement exactly like mine both back and under the dial and with the same logo but with a serial number almost exactly 10,000 higher than mine so I would imagine that mine is pretty early in the production.
 

Jeremy Lynn

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Here's my minute repeater.
It has no name anywhere on it, but it seems to be an exact match for a LeCoultre 42 calibre ebauche.

The final photo shows it undergoing service.
You can see the number 1066 on the plate and elsewhere too.
Does anyone know the significance of 1066 (other than the Battle of Hastings)?

The service was undertaken by James Harris of Harris Horology in West Norwood, London.
A young man of rare genius.
I'd previously posted pictures of this watch when I first acquired it. Then it had a very nasty habit of losing 15 minutes from the moment you set it running. James sorted that out, and cleaned out all the gunk that you can see in the second photo. Now it's keeping perfect time and chiming to perfection too.

As before, if anyone knows anything of the calendar work on the seconds dial, I'd be very interested to hear.

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