Timeline Watch

LeCoultre Futurematic

Felix Wankel develops the rotary internal combustion engine

1956 leCoultre Futurematic ref. E 502 cal. 817.

This watch is also called Porthole due to these 2 very small windows which let appear the power reserve on the left and a turning arrow featuring the seconds, on the right part of the dial.

In 1951, the Manufacture released the Futurematic, the world’s first 100% automatic watch, one unique feature is a lock that holds the swinging weight in place when the mainspring is fully wound. It also features a special 6 hour power reserve, allowing the watch to immediately function when it is put on, rather than requiring it to be wound first.

The caliber 817 was used in the Jaeger leCoultre Futurematic and was a modification of the existing Calibre 497. Like that movement, it has a power reserve indicator at 9:00 and small seconds 3:00, but in Cal. 817 and Cal. 837 these are tiny round windows rather than being full sub-dials, the cal. 827 returned to the full sub-dial format.
The calibers 817, 827, and 837 were produced from 1956 through 1958, with just 3,500 movements made are very rare comparing to the cal. 497 witch approximately 52,500 examples were produced between 1951 and 1958.

It has been said that the whole project for the Futurematic almost made the company bankrupt, as they never fully recovered their investment from sales of the Futurematic series of watches.

Founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833, the brand has hundreds of inventions, over a thousand calibers to its name and some of the most important watches made in the 20 century, incliuding the Memovox, Reverso and Atmos. The company has been a fully owned subsidiary of the Swiss luxury group Richemont since 2000.