One type of movement which is often overlooked or forgotten when you talk about the Jaeger-LeCoultre history and heritage is the “Baguette” movement. The name is of course from the French bread and used because of the movements long and thin shape…
This type of movement have a very characteristic look, having the whole movement on display – letting you admire not only the oscillating balance wheel but the entire movement.
Some brands and models have in later years made similar movements for wrist watches – like the Ulysses Nardin “Freak” or the Corum “Golden Bridge”.
Some may say Girard-Perregaux “Three Golden Bridges”, but I would not include that movement type here as it do have a covering base plate.
As mentioned, the Baguette name comes from the French side, in English the name used were – “visible movement”, sometimes “visible and vertical movement”.
In documents, I have found the Baguette movement from the mid 1940’s and onwards.
Here a couple of early examples – left, advertisement from 1948 and right, Jaeger-LeCoultre catalogue from 1945:
The Calibre 210 is 8-days movement which beats at a rate of 18000 vph / 2.5 Hz. As you can see have everything is visible except for the mainspring which is hidden inside the barrel…
With all the wheels in one line it forms a “Baguette” – Calibre 219 movement specification:
From the 1940’s and all the way to the end of the 1960’s, Jaeger-LeCoultre made a lot of different clocks using the Calibre 210.
Some very imaginative like the 321 with flies and spiders web or more clean style like the 318…
Classic round like the 172 or celestial like the 258…
Some with frame like the 331 or mimicking an object like the 333 Lantern…
There even were models made to be lying on a table, like the 326 and 325…
Yes, there were a lot of different models – not sure how many but a lot of different versions with the same movement!
One of these models is Clock 354 – gilt metal frame and raised studs as hour markers. Front and back are made of plexiglass which creates an illusion of the Baguette movement floating in the air.
The frame is 150 x 150 mm not including the foot. The foot is 200 x 45 mm and 12 mm high.
Another name used in the U.S. market for the Calibre 210 is “Baton” movement.
As can be seen below, there were T.W.O different versions of the foot for the 354 – a wider flat foot like my clock 354 have and a more pointy foot like the one to the right.
Left, 1960 LeCoultre Clock pamphlet – right 1965 LeCoultre catalogue:
Not sure if more like a Baguette or a Baton, but it sure is a beautiful movement!
On the back of the 354 you can see how the movement and hour markers are screwed to the back plexiglass.
Below is a side view of the clock and zoom in on some details – lower right show the only T.W.O operators, one to wind the movement and one to set the time. Unfortunately the plexiglass has started to disintegrate due to age making it look like frost around the movement.
Upper right showing the balance wheel and the regulator for the speed of the movement. If your clock is too fast or too slow, you need to take it apart to be able to adjust the speed…
Last trace in documents I have found is in the 1969 LeCoultre catalogue. The reference 354 must have been a quite popular model as it was in the catalogue at least from 1960 to 1969!
I have no documents scanned with Baguette movement clock after 1969, but know there were some models still in production during the 1970’s and I think even later…
These later versions are often in silver metal while earlier versions pre-1970 are often in gilt metal.
One I really like but never managed to get is the one in the middle below, the reference 474:
For size reference, here with the wrist watch reference E 329, 35 mm in diameter.
All these different clocks really shows how playful and imaginative one can be without loosing track of beauty and technical knowhow!
Yes, there is a lot to discover in the Jaeger-LeCoultre universe! Stay tuned for more!