The Triple Date calendar is a classic complication which really came to life during the 1940’s.
Many competed in combining the pointer date with the day and month indicator. Most common is the use of windows for the Day and Month – many of the major brands still have this complication in their collection today.
The Triple Date, not to be confused with the Annual Calendar or the Perpetual Calendar which are able to keep track of number of days in the month and even leap-years if Perpetual.
No the Triple Date is a simpler version of the calendar complication which requires you to manually adjust the date depending on number of days in the month.
One of the major brands competing was of course Jaeger-LeCoultre – here, the Jaeger-LeCoultre reference 2904 Triple Date with Teardrop lugs in pink gold:
The Jaeger-LeCoultre round Triple Date calendar watches introduced in 1943 used three different Calibres. The first Calibre 451/A was in production for T.W.O years, 1943-1944 to replaced by the Calibre 464/A (1944-1945) which in turn got replaced by the Calibre 484/A in 1945.
In the mid 1940’s the Triple Date was one of the big poster boy’s of Jaeger-LeCoultre – here shown on the cover of the 1945 catalogue:
The reference 2904: the case – 36 mm in diameter case with Teardrop lugs which were made in three different metals, stainless steel, yellow gold and pink gold.
Also several different versions of hands and dials existed. Here is another mid/late 1940’s catalogue featuring the 2904:
Some say that the Triple Date watch was discontinued in 1949 – maybe the production was but I have found several document from the early 1950’s including the Triple Date…
Here is an example from 1952 – notice the references, the large size is now 2721 and the smaller version 2723 (34 mm in diameter):
The Moon Phases version is one I still miss… Very high up on my hunt list…
My guess on the reference change – reference 2904: Calibre 451/A and 464/A, reference 2721/2723: Calibre 484/A.
My pink gold 2904 is from 1945 based on the movement number and inside is Calibre 464/A.
Either way, even if production would have been stopped in 1949, there were still enough watches for sale to have them in the catalogue.
Here is another document from 1952 showing how to set the Triple Date with Moon Phases. 1), 2) and 3) are the same for the non-Moon Phases watch:
As mentioned, the Triple Date complication is a true classic of which many brands still have in their collection, I wrote earlier about the current Jaeger-LeCoultre version, Master Calendar.
But it is not only a classic – it’s another great example of “Jaeger-LeCoultre: the Watchmakers Watchmaker”, you can ready about one Aspray example here.
Not to forget Cartier who have a long history of watches with Jaeger-LeCoultre movements, including the Triple Date.
Interesting is that if discussing vintage calendar watches, Patek Philippe and Vacheron & Constantin are always mentioned, often before Jaeger-LeCoultre… (Yes, at this point in time, the “&” should be there. It was not removed until 1970)
I can’t say for Patek Philippe, but Vacheron & Constantin used Jaeger-LeCoultre movements!
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 484 is based on the Calibre 449. On the Vacheron & Constantin side, their Triple Date used VC Calibre 485 which is based on the VC Calibre 453 which in turn is based on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 449!
Looking at the movement specifications for the two base Calibres, this becomes very clear, even if the VC version have a different layout of the bridges:
Looking at the Triple Date Calibres, even more clear!
The Vacheron & Constantin Triple Date with Moon Phases also used Jaeger-LeCoultre movements (JLC 494 – VC 495):
Yes, the Triple Date a Jaeger-LeCoultre classic – also used by several other brands, Cartier and Vacheron & Constantin for sure, but I suspect even more brands did…
Not to forget the U.S. market of Jaeger-LeCoultre – of course there were several LeCoultre versions of the Triple Date, here are a couple of examples with the Moon Phases:
If you are interested in the U.S. side of Jaeger-LeCoultre, make sure to read my U.S. market series: Jaeger-LeCoultre and the U.S. market.
“Jaeger-LeCoultre: the Watchmakers Watchmaker”…
Stay tuned for more watchmaking history!