Sweden 1957: Metallverken buys 1276 Jaeger-LeCoultre ref 2935

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Imagine today, if a company would order 1276 pieces of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control!

That is basically what happened here in Sweden back in 1957.

The Swedish metal industry company Svenska Metallverken, in celebration of the companies 50th anniversary, ordered 1276 gold watches as gift to employees that been with the company 25 years or more.

Here in Sweden there has been a tradition that the company gift a gold watch to their employees after 25 years of faithful services.

This tradition is still kept by some companies, but often the watch is no longer in solid gold, or even a watch…

On the other hand, most people today do not stay with the same company for as long as 25 years…

Back in 1957, this was such a big event that Jaeger-LeCoultre even used the event in their advertisement:

Jaeger-LeCoultre 1957 ad – Svenska Metallverken

Interesting is that according to some sources, this company had just over 2000 employees in 1957, of which 1276 been with the company for 25 years or more!

In the ad it is stated that Metallverken chose the reference 2953.

Some years ago a friend of mine showed me one of these watches: Jaeger-LeCoultre reference 2953 in 14K yellow gold.

Jaeger-LeCoultre reference 2953 – Metallverken version

The reference 2953 is a watch which was in the Jaeger-LeCoultre collection for many years. I do not know which year it was released, but it was in the collection already in 1945 and I have seen Metallverken 2953 watches engraved with 1961…

You may not recognise it from the photo above, but if you look at these catalogue scans – to the left, 1945 catalogue and to the right mid 1950’s catalogue:

Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue – left 1945, right mid 1950s

Here the 2953 is illustrated with a zone dial, painted numerals and hands without lume.

Looking at the Metallverken advertisement and the actual watch, the dial and hands are different but the case is the same, approximately 35.5 mm in diameter.

I have seen several of these watches, they popup every now and then at auctions, all of them have this kind of one tone dial, applied index and lume hands.

Metallverken must have ordered a special dial for their watches or at least a different dial than the standard.

This is confirmed by this Swedish shop display I found some years ago – “Ett specialkomponerat guldur, stötsäkert, antmagnetiskt och försett med centrumsekundvisare”.

Translated: “A special made gold watch, shockproof, antimagnetic and equipped with a central seconds hand”.

Jaeger-LeCoultre late 1950s – Metallverken shop display

A special watch for a special occasion – 25 years of service:

Jaeger-LeCoultre reference 2953 – Metallverken version

Here is another scan from the early 1950’s of the 2953, bottom left, with the standard dial.

Stated is that inside the 2953 is Calibre 12½”.

Jaeger-LeCoultre early 1950s catalogue – Calibre 12½” watches

Calibre 12 ½” refers to the Calibre 450 family – 450, 468, 470 and 478, all manual wound with central seconds and the same diameter, 28.80 mm in diameter.

From observations – the standard 2953 have the Calibre 450, while the Metallverken 2953 have the Calibre 478.

Both Calibres have the same size and belongs to the same family, so they could both fit into the same case.

Maybe the Calibre 478 was a part of the special made, or that by some reasons, Jaeger-LeCoultre changed the Calibre in later years.

This could explain the flatter dial of the Metallverken version.

LeCoultre Calibre 450 / 478 – movement specification

Now, most of these Metallverken watches I have seen are from 1957, but looking at this watch, one can see that the company held the tradition with the same watch for some more years, in this case 1959. I have seen “Metallverken” Jaeger-LeCoultre watches as late as 1966, but those watches are of a different reference, not the 2953.

What also is stated in the first ad is that all watches were engraved with the employee’s initials and “Metallverken”.

In 1959, the person “D.R.P.” had worked at the Metallverken for 25 years and received this watch as a symbol of long and faithful service:

Jaeger-LeCoultre reference 2953 – Metallverken engraving

Thank you to my friend who showed me this watch – a part of both the Swedish and Jaeger-LeCoultre history!

Stay tuned for more historical Jaeger-LeCoultre events.