Usually we discuss men’s watches here, but there are also plenty of gorgeous watches for the ladies to collect. As is indeed the case of the Jaeger-LeCoultre 101. Let’s set the record straight first; the 101 isn’t a model, but actually the number of a calibre on which Jaeger-LeCoultre has built a whole collection. What is so special about this Calibre 101? Well, it was introduced in 1929, is a manual wind movement with 98 parts and…..it weights 1 gram. Yes, indeed Calibre 101 is the smallest mechanical watch movement on the planet! Reason enough by itself to include it in any collection of ladies watches!
What is perhaps even more impressive is that this still reigning champion is actually a very dependable movement despite its small size. It is also in every sense a true Jaeger-LeCoultre movement, and that includes a top notch finish. For the caliber 101 you indeed need a loupe to see and enjoy it, but when you make the effort you will be surprised by the stunning details, like beautiful engravings on the bridges, and blued screws.
Another wonderful characteristic of Calibre 101 is that it gives the designers full artistic freedom. It shows in the wide variety of different models that have been introduced over the years: from classical to modern, and from simple elegance to Haute Joaillerie. Because of the extremely small size of the movement, it can even be incorporated into a piece of jewelry so that only the owner knows the secret of telling time. To the rest of the world it looks like she is seemingly only wearing a tennis bracelet.
With this wide variety of models and such a rich history it isn’t a surprise that this Jaeger-LeCoultre is also an auction-favorite. In May of this year Christie’s auctioned a beautiful pave-set version of the 101. With this model the dial is actually hidden, and a gentle gesture of the finger will revolve the middle part of the watch to reveal the dial. Basically a Reverso, cocktail-style! More straight forward is this limited edition of an Art Deco inspired Calibre 101. Here the dial is not hidden, but beautifully adorned by brilliant cut diamonds and finished with a satin strap. There are actually so many different watches in which Jaeger-LeCoultre uses Calibre 101 that a lady can have a whole collection of them and still not the same watch….
Men that feel left out after all these record breaking and stunning ladies watches could start a search for a pair of these rare cufflinks that house Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 104…but since this calibre is larger (about 1mm) than the 101, we might want to forget about it all together. Instead we can go for another champion from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collection, like the Memovox that Meehna suggested for Mike Ross, the charming lawyer (well, not exactly) on the hit show “Suits”.