We all know the famous Jaeger-LeCoultre E 168 Geophysic with the Calibre P 478/BWSbr…
Lesser known is the older sibling, the reference E 159 with the Calibre P 478…
The E 159 has its origin in the mid 1940’s, if my understanding is correct, the Calibre P 478 was introduced in 1945 which most likely align with the birth of the E 159.
The E 159 existed in several different versions and was in the Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue at least from 1945 and into the early 1950’s.
Early versions like shown in the 1945 Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue had diamond shaped hands and Arabic numerals, both applied with luminous material:
While later versions had stick hands and Roman numerals on the dial. Here shown in an early 1950’s Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue:
During this period Jaeger-LeCoultre had several different references with same or similar cases – like the E 109 and E 159, difference being the Calibre/Seconds: Calibre P 469/A – sub seconds vs. Calibre P 478 – central seconds.
Both movements are based on the Calibre 449:
449 => 469
449 => 450 => 478
Will return to the E 109 in a separate report.
The E 159 Calibre P 478 – “P” referring to the shock protection of the balance. Like this next door neighbour in Le Sentier:
The Calibre P 478 is undeniable a beautiful movement! Gilt, Geneva bar decoration, the carefully bevelled edges of the bridges…
When you see this, you wonder why Jaeger-LeCoultre chose to keep the more famous Calibre P 478/BWSbr with such basic decoration…
The E 159 is 33.5 mm in diameter – on the smaller side, but considering its origin, not very surprising.
Not only holds the E 159 a smaller size than today’s fashion… The box is even smaller compare to what you see these days!
The box is only 127 x 44 mm “small” and 17 mm high, made out of cardboard paper!
Perfect fit for the watch, nothing extra – just enough. Love these kind of boxes!
And how do I know this is the correct box for the E 159? Well, it is according to the sticker on the back:
The E 159 existed in stainless steel, 18K gold and E 159 B chromium with stainless steel back.
Even if the “E” in the reference refers to “Étanche”, waterproof – the 1945 pricelist refers to the model as “protected against humidity”:
Steel – 110 FR,18K gold – 470 FR and chromium – 100 FR.
On the wrist – priceless!
Stay tuned for more watches with movements based on the Calibre 449!