If one would say cushion or tonneau shaped case with a Chronometer certified automatic movement inside… Most people would not think of Jaeger-LeCoultre…
But indeed, Jaeger-LeCoultre had several!
The most well-known may be the Master Mariner Chronometer series reference 24000 – 24002 with the Calibre 906 inside (Date or Day-Date).
While the Master Mariner Chronometer series plays in the “Sport Chic, luxury steel sports watches” category which often are referred to as Gerald Genta design…
I never saw any indication that Gerald Genta would have designed the Master Mariner series, but there are some other watches that he designed for Jaeger-LeCoultre!
But before the Master Mariner Chronometer series, in 1970, Jager-LeCoultre released their very first tonneau shaped wristwatch Chronometer: the E 560 Geomatic Chronometer!
Inside is the Calibre K 883 which is based on the Calibre 881 with date (Calibre 880 no date), with hack seconds – like all other wrist watch chronometers from Jaeger-LeCoultre, to be able to set the time to the second.
The Calibre K 883 have the increased number of jewel, 23 (17) and Spirotor regulator. Another interesting detail is the “instant date change”.
For those of you who are familiar with other date calibers from Jaeger-LeCoultre know that normally you need to go back and forth over midnight approximately 3-4 hours to change the date, here it is more like 20-25 minutes to do the same.
Why most people haven’t heard about the E 560 is that it had a very short run. I found some contradicting traces…
Boiled down, it is safe to say that the E 560 is a very rare watch. It was in production for only one or T.W.O years: 1970 – 1971(?).
As stated on the catalogue card from the 11th of April 1970 –
“Geomatic” – Officially certified chronometer in 18 carat yellow gold
Stopping device for to-the second time setting
Dial – Gilt or Smoke
When the Geomatic was introduced in 1961/1962 it was promoted as a watch “for the man of action”… Almost as a sports watch. In 1970, the Geomatic was included in the “De Luxe” category rather than sports…
Some sources say 165 pieces, others say 200… So far I have been able to locate an extract listing a batch of 55 piece made in late 1970. My watch has a case number lower than the numbers mentioned in the extract, which indicate – A) there must have been a earlier batch of E 560 made in the beginning of 1970 B) more than 55 pieces must have been made.
Regardless, I saw less than 10 surface during the last 10 years…
My E 560 has the gilt dial version, yellow gold hands, dial and case, eve if a very monochrome appearance, the raised bezel, the applied index and shaped dial gives a depth to the watch which makes it very interesting to look at.
The catalogue card also mentioned “Smoked” dial – my friend @karminwatches agreed to let me share his watch here, absolutely stunning!
This one came up for sale, I blinked and it was gone… Luckily it ended up in a good home.
This taupe “Smoked” dial changes the character of the watch completely!
The E 560 is already very different from what we are used to see form Le Grande Maison, whit this “Smoked” dial even more so! One day I hope to make the pair…
The tonneau shaped case is 31 mm across and 38.8 mm lug to lug, 19 mm between the lugs. Including the raised plexi crystal, the arced case is 12 mm thick in the center.
Even with the ‘Chronometre Geomatic’ on the dial, at first glance you can’t help thinking, is this really a Geomatic?
But once you turn the watch over and look at the back, any doubts are gone… The gold medallion sphere on the back seals the deal, no mistake, this is a full blood Geomatic!
As you remember, the catalogue scan stated water resistant. The case back is held in place by four screws.
Yes, this is a very welcome addition to my Jaeger-LeCoultre Geomatic family – and even if up front it looks like a rather diverse family: E 560, E 398 and E 399
On the back, the DNA is unmistakable!
Still a lot to uncover of all the hidden treasures of Jaeger-LeCoultre!
Stay tuned for more.