Jaeger-LeCoultre Patent No 280369: Up and Down Indicator

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As I wrote in my earlier report about automatic watches with the power reserve indicator, Jaeger-LeCoultre together with Zodiac were among the first to include this complication in a wrist watch.

The power reserve complication or the up and down indicator as it was called back in the 1940’s nothing new as such, the complication been included in pocket watches long before, but to include the complication in a wrist watch, that was something new!

On the 8th of March 1949 Zodiac S.A. and LeCoultre & Cie filed for patent of the Up and Down indicator in a wrist watch. The Patent No 280369 was published on the 16th of April 1952:

Zodiac S.A. and LeCoultre & Cie – Patent No 280369
Zodiac S.A. and LeCoultre & Cie – Patent No 280369
Zodiac S.A. and LeCoultre & Cie – Patent No 280369

In my report on the Jaeger-LeCoultre reference E 373 Powerwind I showed you the front page of this article, written by A. Fisher in 1949.

Even if you are not deep into the technical aspect of watches… There are some interesting points here!

“It is important to wind it at regular intervals” – Well, this doesn’t apply in the same way to a automatic movement, but to have the most even force at all time does.

By avoiding the power kept in the barrel to go over or under a certain level your watch will keep a more even pace.

Automatic movements are constructed so that you can’t over-wind and with the up and down indicator you are able to keep track when its time to move your are more or wind your watch manually…

T.W.O ways to display the the up and down indicator:

The Zodiac Autographic using a retrograde hand to display the 36 hours of power. 36 hours fully loaded is to the left and counting down clockwise to zero at the right. One screw on each side stopping the up and down indicator from go out of the scale.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Powerwind visualise the 40 hours of power through a window using a rotating disk for indication. The disk rotates clockwise when the power goes down.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre movement have the up and down complication integrated into the movement while the Zodiac construction is located on top of the movement adding to the thickness of the watch.

Reading the article I get the feeling that the Jaeger-LeCoultre version of the up and down indicator is technically more elegant.

Today the up and down indicator is more often a hand similar to the Zodiac Autographic which is probably easier and more practical to integrate when designing a watch, but I do find the window of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Powerwind very charming!

The second wrist watch of Jaeger-LeCoultre having the up and down indicator – do you know which one? I give you a hint SR-497.

Stay tuned for more!