Need help identifying possible LeCoultre repeater watch

jabregana

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Feb 22, 2021
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Hi All,

Today I purchased this watch but still awaiting shipment. In the meantime I was hoping to get assistance from the folks here to better identify maker and date this watch. The seller believes its a LeCoultre watch, but the movement and dials are unsigned. To my untrained eye the movement looks to be a Caliber 43. I reference this site, Mikrolisk - The horological trade mark index, which I believe is maintained by a member of this forum. My hesitation is that the image referenced for Caliber 43 mostly matches the movement with a very slight difference in the way 3-finger bridges connects with the central bridge.

I'm hoping to directionally confirm that this is a LeCoultre movement. If so, is it normal to expect it unsigned? If not could this be another maker's movement.

Thanks,
Jerome

s-l1600 (1).jpg LeCoultre_movement_2.jpg LeCoultrePocket.jpg
 
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jabregana

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Feb 22, 2021
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Correct is a LeCoultre caliber
regards enrico
Thanks for the confirmation Enrico. Curious to understand if you know how rare/frequent of an occurrence it was for LeCoultre to not sign their movements. Maybe they have in this case, under a hammer or something, but I haven't confirmed. Any opinion on where this might date the creation of this watch?
 

eri231

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Jan 13, 2012
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Without doubt one of the best and finest repeaters ever seen. The caliber (43) is the basic caliber of the "cadrature" the mechanics behind the dial, for early LeCoultre calibres the number only indicates the basic design. They were made in varying layouts. Refined for the extensive use of jewels, rubies are rarely seen on the hammers and the presence of "chaton vissée". I also see the pin on the "tigeron" feature much used by Louis Audemars. The absence of signatures on the movement and dial, a custom of the time, is also normal, because the jewelers paid a premium for not having signatures on the watches.
On the pendant of the case I see a punch, not Swiss, perhaps French?.
I saw a Union Horlogére repeater similar to this one but lower level and the main spring bridge different. I believe the period is late 1880/90.
regards enrico
 

jabregana

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Feb 22, 2021
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Without doubt one of the best and finest repeaters ever seen. The caliber (43) is the basic caliber of the "cadrature" the mechanics behind the dial, for early LeCoultre calibres the number only indicates the basic design. They were made in varying layouts. Refined for the extensive use of jewels, rubies are rarely seen on the hammers and the presence of "chaton vissée". I also see the pin on the "tigeron" feature much used by Louis Audemars. The absence of signatures on the movement and dial, a custom of the time, is also normal, because the jewelers paid a premium for not having signatures on the watches.
On the pendant of the case I see a punch, not Swiss, perhaps French?.
I saw a Union Horlogére repeater similar to this one but lower level and the main spring bridge different. I believe the period is late 1880/90.
regards enrico
Thank you so much for the great insights Enrico, very much appreciated!
 

Dr. Jon

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The pointed center bridge suggest that the watch is the work of Henry Capt.

Capt did mostly finishing and bough many watches complet from contractors but controlled the design and this looks like one of theirs.

The shaping of this bridge was often used a "secret signature" and the watch has the very fine design balance I associate with this firm.

The small punch marks appear on the crown body and I suspect the case back. This is the was Swiss hallmarking was done.
 
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jabregana

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Feb 22, 2021
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The pointed center bridge suggest that the watch is the work of Henry Capt.

Capt did mostly finishing and bough many watches complet from contractors but controlled the design and this looks like one of theirs.

The shaping of this bridge was often used a "secret signature" and the watch has the very fine design balance I associate with this firm.

The small punch marks appear on the crown body and I suspect the case back. This is the was Swiss hallmarking was done.
Thank you Dr. Jon, this is interesting new bit of information. I'm unfamiliar with Henry Capt, but excited to research his work more closely today. Given his role as mostly finishing, would he not be more inclined to provide his name on the dial? I'm trying to understand in general the reasons why some watchmakers (case makes, movement manufactures, etc) would opt to not leave their mark. From the movement manufacturers I more clearly understand it as they provided essentially "white-label" parts that others branded. In the case of a someone who finishes these watches and buys from the watch from others, is there another set of folks that would want/request him to not leave a mark? Trying to wrap my newbie head around the dynamics of the marketplace at the time. Thank you!
 

Dr. Jon

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Names on watches were a class thing.

Upper class people often regarded display of names on items they wore or carried was vulgar. They might "let" a craftsman put their name on an item but the prevailing view was that what they wore was theirs and not to be an ad for a tradesman.

They regarded what they wore as identifying their staus and taste and they did not need or want a label.

They bought by order, "bespoke" and the item was not signed unless they permitted it.

They recognized that people who needed to proclaim their status by flaunting labels were, in fact, showing their insecurity to put it politely. It was a way old money could spot new money.

Similarly high end British goods were priced in guineas rather than pounds and listing a price in guineas meant haggling was unthinkable. (The amount to be paid was never in question although whether it was ever going to get paid was)

As you get into better and more complicated watches, obvious signatures become less common because the people who bough them had more money and were further up the social ladder. Those who bought them were only interested the opinions of social equals who could recognize their symbols without the label. It also led to higher end makers using secret signatures.

The picture Erico posted is virtually identical to the the Henry Capt example I found.
 

jabregana

NAWCC Member
Feb 22, 2021
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Names on watches were a class thing.

Upper class people often regarded display of names on items they wore or carried was vulgar. They might "let" a craftsman put their name on an item but the prevailing view was that what they wore was theirs and not to be an ad for a tradesman.

They regarded what they wore as identifying their staus and taste and they did not need or want a label.

They bought by order, "bespoke" and the item was not signed unless they permitted it.

They recognized that people who needed to proclaim their status by flaunting labels were, in fact, showing their insecurity to put it politely. It was a way old money could spot new money.

Similarly high end British goods were priced in guineas rather than pounds and listing a price in guineas meant haggling was unthinkable. (The amount to be paid was never in question although whether it was ever going to get paid was)

As you get into better and more complicated watches, obvious signatures become less common because the people who bough them had more money and were further up the social ladder. Those who bought them were only interested the opinions of social equals who could recognize their symbols without the label. It also led to higher end makers using secret signatures.

The picture Erico posted is virtually identical to the the Henry Capt example I found.
Wow, thank you for educating me on this very nuanced aspect of how folks at the time viewed these items. This was exactly the type of context I was seeking. It's most helpful to understand as I continue to educate myself in this arena.
 

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