Calibre 101 still remains one of the world’s most extraordinary technical accomplishments. Created in 1929 in the workshops of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre, this prodigious feat of micromechanical engineering has been a watchmaking icon for over 80 years. The momentously eventful period of 1920-1930s was distinguished by cultural and artistic effervescence, technical progress and social emancipation – especially for women. The watchmaking world was slowly but surely shifting from pocket-watches to wristwatches, while ladies’ watches were also taking off. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 1924 introduction of its famous Duoplan movement was doubly significant: from a technical standpoint, by proving that daintiness and precision are not incompatible; and aesthetically speaking, by freeing timepieces from their classic round shape.
Building on this feat, the Manufacture pursued its research into scaled-down mechanisms and succeeded in miniaturising the Duoplan movement without compromising its reliability. This led to the birth in 1929 of Calibre 101, which was to become firmly acknowledged as the smallest mechanical movement ever made. Entirely in tune with feminine eclecticism, it lent itself to all manner of daring approaches, offering the in-house designers boundless ways of giving free rein to their creative instincts. Its jewellery versions have since then adorned the daintiest and noblest wrists, including that of Queen Elizabeth II of England at her coronation in 1953.