Today I like to focus on a watch the I only seen in photos and never in real… A watch I only saw twice in the past 20 years… And the only document I have is an ad from 1957…
Jaeger-LeCoultre and the U.S. market: Special watches – The LeCoultre World Wide Watch – long before the World Wide Web!
Here is the ad from 1957, the year before the 125 Years Jubilee.
At first glance it looks similar to the Memovox WorldTimer that was introduced the year after, 1958 as part of the 125 Years Jubilee collection – the reference 3160 Memovox International, minus the alarm.
Here the 3160, to the left in this photo. To the right is the Limited Edition Memovox International released in 2010. The only T.W.O Jaeger-LeCoultre wrist watches I ever saw with this type of WorldTimer function.
In the U.S. market, WorldTimers was much more popular. Guess back then travelling was more common in the U.S. than here in Europe.
Here is an example of a LeCoultre WorldTimer with alarm and date.
OK, now back to this World Wide Watch – I don’t even have the reference of this watch, if anyone knows, please contact me.
The examples I saw, one had a gold filled case and one stainless steel, both had white dials.
If you look closer on the ad you will find some differences on the World Wide Watch dial compared with the Memovox International dial version.
Several of the cities are different for the time zones, on the Word Wide Watch. Some of the names are not cities but countries or states! Like Iceland Alaska. Then there are also smaller changes like how Rio de Janeiro is written.
But the biggest difference is that this dial is made for the U.S. market with the U.S. cities/states located closest to the centre while on the European dial the European cities are on the inside. Notice the arrows between Manila-Tokyo and Santiago-Rio. The arrows mark the AM/PM switch.
But how does it work? On the Memovox, you are able to rotate the alarm disk to adjust and show corresponding time in all time zones…
It is actually stated in the ad – in the end: “all you have to do is rotate the crystal”… So easy, yet genius!
I never saw this watch labelled Jaeger-LeCoultre and I am convinced this is a specially made watch for the U.S. market!
To explain closer how it work – I will use a clock with the same functionality, the clock reference 64 which existed for both the European- and the U.S. market.
Here shown in a clock catalogue from 1960: same type of dial as the World Wide Watch.
Notice the ad says “unbreakable crystal”?
Here is my clock 64, do you see the crack in the crystal over Jenua and S. Francisco? Remember that crack’s position while we look at the function.
In this photo the home time is New York/Bangkok. As you can see, the time is 8:17. If the time is 8:17 AM in New York, follow the outer city names until you come to Dakar, there you follow the AM/PM arrows and switch to the inner city names.
Lets say you want to know the time in Geneva, the clock will tell you the time is 2:17 PM there.
Now if you are in Geneva, you just grab the bezel and turn until Geneva is aligned with the hour hand.
Remember the crack in the crystal? It is still over Jenua and S. Francisco but as you can see, now Geneva is aligned with the hour hand.
The bezel, crystal and the outer city dial is rotating to make it possible to see the time all over the world regardless of when or where you are – the LeCoultre World Wide Watch!
Considering the construction and the very few examples I have seen, my guess is that very few were ever produced and that even fewer are still alive.
Yes, there are several very interesting watches made by Jaeger-LeCoultre specially for the U.S. market.
Stay tuned as we will look closer on more of them!
If you missed any of the related reports on Jaeger-LeCoultre and the U.S. market:
Special watches – the Mercury 7 Quartermaster
Special watches – the Mercury 7 Followup Report