The Jaeger-LeCoultre 125 Years Jubilé Collection, something I always return to… Why? Because, for me, this is right in the center of the “Golden ear” of vintage watches! From the mid 1940’s to the end of 1960’s we get to see some remarkable development and achievements in the field of watches.
Antimagnetic, manual and automatic chronometers, alarms, … Yes, the list goes on… Features and functions that might have existed earlier, but now perfectioned and produced in series making the watches available for the general public!
So, back to the Jaeger-LeCoultre 125 Years Jubilé Collection and the reference 2233. When ever someone mention the Jubilé Collection first thing on peoples minds is the E 168 Geophysic! The Rock star! The leader of the band… But there was also a backup singer… A hidden gem, the reference 2233!
Time only, not even running seconds. A thin classic, elegant dress watch. In today’s standards this one would almost be considered as “Ultrathin”. The watch measures 34 mm in diameter and including the doomed plexi is 7.5 mm thick.
The whole design is very spartan with four applied index and the rest just symbolised with lines. Thin straight hands and lugs, thin bezel and “hidden” crown.
As you can see, my pair is not really up to my normal standard of choice when it comes to condition, but due to it’s rarity, beggars can’t be chosers…
Some sources state a total production number of just under 3000 pieces of which 500 in yellow gold and only 125 pieces in rose gold. 125 to match the Jubilé!
Inside is the Calibre 480/C, movement bevelled on both the dial side and the movement side. 23.70 mm in diameter and only 3.65 mm thick.
On the back we see something odd, the two watches do not have the same case back profile! If this is due to different metals or if it’s due to that the rose gold is a French case I am not sure.
During several of our talks, me and Clavi, we discussed this – some of the watches during the end of 1950’s had different cases if origin on the French market. Same reference but with small differences like here, the case back profile. Another example is the Memovox Parking 3161 in rose gold. Normal version have straight lugs while the French version have lyre lugs.
A few observations on these French cases are: A) A different number series, normally around 1958 the case number starts with 74xxxx while these French cases are at the same time around 14xxxx. B) All gold cases have the eagle head gold stamp C) The tone of the rose gold cases are more pink that the normal rose gold cases which is more red in tone.
In the Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue from 1958 the 2233 is clearly a part of the Jubilé collection. While in many ads showing the Jubilé collection the 2233 is left out and instead the 3160 Memovox International is featured.
The strange part is that in the 1958 catalogue, the 3160 is not featured. Maybe Jaeger-LeCoultre hesitated which watches that should be included in the collection… But in the end, my conclusion is that both of them belongs!
To me the reference 2233 is the “underdog” of the Jubilé collection often forgotten among the Geophysic, the Memovox Parking and the Memovox International – making it a hidden gem!
Make a search here in my blog and you will find related Jubilé collection posts.