Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jaeger LeCoultre-FavreLueba Cal.885 Manual Wind Gents Wristwatch

Historically speaking, the two Jaeger and LeCoultre entities were consolidated in 1927 under a holding company called SAPIC (Société Anonyme de Participations Industrielles et Commerciales), HQ'd in Lausanne.

In 1934, SAPIC bought SH (Spécialités Horlogères, the distribution company that was selling the Jaeger and LeCoultre products since 1931 - the year of the REVERSO, SH being renamed 'Jaeger-LeCoultre' in 1938).

Therefore, as of 1934, SAPIC was a holding controlling both production and distribution subsidiaries of Jaeger LeCoultre watches.
HQ'd in Geneve at that time.

In 1938, SAPIC bought a significant shareholding in both Vacheron & Constantin and Audemars Piguet  (hence the massive use of JLC calibres in V&C and AP watches from that day onwards).
So, from 1938, SAPIC was JLC +share of V&C +share of AP   (6 years earlier, LeCoultre has had a go at buying a financially distressed PP - which ultimately was bought by the Sterns, so this 'group' logic was not something new).

in 1964, V&C exited the SAPIC group.

in 1969, Favre Leuba (Georges Favre) bought Jaeger LeCoultre / SAPIC, renaming it SAPHIR Group, HQ'd in Zoug  (Société Anonyme de Participations Horlogères et Industrielles Réunies). 
Georges Favre took the reins of the group. Therefore, in 1969, Jaeger LeCoultre and Favre Leuba actually became sister companies, owned by George Favre / Favre Leuba.

This is evidenced by shared distribution, as illustrated below on this store display:

and again in this brochure from 1973 showing both JLC and FL 'extreme' watches  (the Bathy 50 is afairly unique watch and a very rare bird indeed) 

This was also the time when Favre Leuba did use some of JLC trademark concepts (which it owned the rights to market obviously), such as the first recreation of the Reverso under the Favre Leuba name  (model name: sandow), years before the Reverso was actually reborn under its Jaeger LeCoultre name in the late 1980's:

or a true 70's memovox, dubbed Memoraider, housing an evolution of the JLC calibre 916  (exclusive to Favre Leuba: JLC 917):

in 1978, George Favre sold Jaeger LeCoultre to the VDO group, later becoming Mannesmann then Vodaphone-VDO, which in turn sold its horology division (then called LMH -Les Manufactures Horlogers) to Richemont in 2000.

And the rest is history....

So, as you can see, the history of Favre Leuba and Jaeger LeCOultre is very intricate from 1969 to at least 1978  (not mentioning also the 1930's when Favre Leuba was a retailer of the original reverso, especially in India where FL was a prominent distributor of horology and jewellery).

It is therefore not abnormal to see the 2 names associated with the servicing of this Polaris in the early 1970's (since the 2 brands shared a common structure for sales and after-sales)

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