The Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Line Makes a Triumphant Return

When I say Jaeger LeCoultre, you say Reverso! Or Memovox! Or maybe Polaris! Or something to that effect. The point is that Jaeger LeCoultre, JLC to the cool kids, has a few iconic models immediately associated with its vaunted Maison. But the archives run deeper and into stranger horological territories. At Watches & Wonders 2024, JLC refreshed a lesser-known and appreciated line of watches epitomizing its watchmaking chops: the Duometre.

First launched in 2007 with a chronograph, the Duometres presented a novel solution to an issue that concerns all watches with complications, that of the complications taking power out of the movement to function, thus decreasing the accuracy of the timekeeping and potentially power reserve. While a lesser issue in date complications, chronographs notoriously wreak havoc on a movement’s amplitude due to the power draw. But, JLC found a solution– to have separate barrels and gear trains for timekeeping and everything else, linked by the escapement. Hence, “duo.”

The resulting watches and calibers are dramatic, to say the least. The movements are massive and ornate, with pronounced barrels on one side. To wind the movement, you turn the crown one way and then the other, like a ratcheting system, winding both barrels. Dial side, the duo concept is further played out with the hour and minutes displayed on a decentralized smaller dial to one side of the larger dial and the complication on the other. The seconds, however, is displayed at the center with a smaller foudroyante 1/6th seconds display at six, emphasizing that the functions are still linked. As there are two independent barrels, independent power reserves are also located on the bottom half of the dial.


The movement concept was inspired by a 19th-century double-barreled pocket watch, also by JLC. As such, the original line of Duometre watches had fairly traditional designs characterized by 42mm rose gold cases with soldered lugs, straight brushed sides, and subtly textured, off-white dials with classical typography and indexes.

An older version vs the new

One particularly intriguing aspect of the original Duometres was that the movements were crafted from German silver, also known as nickel silver. While not silver, this gorgeous copper alloy features nickel and zinc and a beautiful warm luster. It also patinas, getting warmer with age. Famously, A. Lange & Sohne use German silver exclusively in the manufacturing of their movements. Whether or not the Duometres were created to compete with Lange, demonstrating that JLC had watchmaking chops at least on par with Glashütte’s rising star, is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t feel far-fetched either.

After launching a few versions with different complications throughout a few years, the Duometre took a back seat to JLCs better-known lines. A shame, to be honest, as they just predated the resurgence in watch collecting that followed. In fact, there are not many substantial articles on these remarkable timepieces, and their second-hand prices, while still reflective of being complicated precious metal watches by a luxury brand, are quite favorable compared to their original retail prices.

Thankfully, they have returned- modified from their origins, but still quite exceptional. For 2024, JLC has announced four new Duometre models featuring three movements— the Duometre Chronograph Moon, the Duometre Quantieme Lunar, and the Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual. While featuring very different movements, all reflect a new visual language for the line.

Whereas the original Duometres had a distinctly classical style, the new versions are inspired by “savonette” pocket watches, which take their name from small pieces of soap rounded to a disc-like shape (so French). The slab sides are gone, making way for soft-rounded walls and massive domed crystals immediately granting them a far more contemporary look. Beautifully finished lugs with recessed, satinized details that are presumably soldered add complexity and just a touch of decadence to the design.

Not a slab in sight

The dials follow suit, speaking much more clearly to the current JLC aesthetic that draws from mid-century timepieces while still maintaining some Neo-classical charm. The soft curvature of the cases flows into the dials, which follow the massive domed crystals. Sans-serif typography, including slightly severe monospaced applied hour numerals and harsher “alpha” hands vs the original’s leaf hands, speak to a more modern approach. They are nothing short of gorgeous.

The Duometre Chronograph Moon is an update to the first Duometre, featuring the new caliber 391, which now includes a moon phase in the chronograph display. The layout of these watches has always been exceptional in distinguishing time and chronograph functions, creating a highly complex, surprisingly balanced dial, that is quite easy to read.

On the left side is the hour and minute dial, featuring applied hour markers in 3, 6, 9, and 12 layout for a sector feel. The new movement also includes a day/night (24-hour) disk visible through an arcing window. Nothing obscures the time. On the right is a matching-sized sub-dial with a 12-hour counter and a 60-minute counter (rare and awesome). The moon phase sits within this dial as it is part of the complication side of the movement.

At the center are two seconds hands, almost appearing like a rattrapante. The time hand is always running, of course, and the chronograph hand runs when started via the single pusher at 2, as does the foudryante at 6. The two center seconds are color-coordinated with the chronograph in tempered blue. When stopped, the foudryante displays the elapsed time to 1/6th of a second precision.


Lastly, the mirrored power reserve indicators sit at either side of the foudryante within cutouts that show the movement below. The power reserves, which independently have 50-hour reserves, link to their side’s functionality. It’s a lot to take in at a glance, but the information is clearly displayed.

There are two versions of the Duometre Chronograph Moon, one in pink gold with an off-white opaline dial and a combination of gold and heat-blued hands. This version is closest in style to the original. The other is in 950 platinum and features a salmon/copper dial, with a combination of silver hands to match the case and heat-blued hands for contrast. This version is stunning, possibly taking my unofficial title of Most-Attractive-Watch at Watches & Wonders 2024. The watches are $70,000 in gold and $86,000 in platinum.

Next is the Duometre Quantieme Lunaire, featuring the caliber 381, which remains the same as the older generation of Duometre. In this model, hours and minutes are on the right, with a pusher-operated date and moon phase on the left. Seconds are still at center, and the foudryante at six runs all the time. This movement has a cool trick: The center seconds reset to zero when the crown is pulled out.

The dial of the Quantieme Lunaire is a solid, deep blue with a combination of eggshell texturing, metallic graining, and subtle shifts in depth. There are no cutouts like on the chronograph, and the case is steel, a first for a Duometre. The result is far more mid-century in appearance than the chronograph. Priced at $44,300, this watch is unlike any other luxury watch I’ve ever handled. It’s oddly fun and downplays that it’s such a high-end watch, even if the dial clearly speaks to a complex movement.

the dial was less green in person, but hey, booth lighting

Ok, there are a couple of things I’ve skipped over thus far. First is the size of these watches. They are 42.5mm, with the chronographs coming in at 14.2mm and the Quantieme Lunaire at 13.05mm thick. They are large watches with large movements; there’s no getting around it, but I will say that while they certainly didn’t magically feel much smaller than their numbers indicate, particularly in terms of thickness, they didn’t look or feel unwieldy on the wrist either, likely because of the fully rounded shape. At least in the short time we got to try them out. Also, large watches might be starting to make a comeback, but more on that some other time.

The dials are clearly very complex with each element needing enough space for legibility, as such, they make sense at a larger size. I’ve noticed this to be true with most watches with decentralized time displays, such as the 41mm Christopher Ward Bel Canto. Additionally, they are so different and attractive that their scale plays into how exotic they are. As they also cost an awful lot, the practicalities of wearing them are less of a concern, regardless.

The other big thing is that movements are no longer German Silver. I was surprised when I noticed it as they didn’t go out of their way to mention this is their press materials, but the JLC rep confirmed. Now, the calibers are rhodium-plated alloy, much like the rest of their movements. They are still ornately decorated; they just lack that distinctive warmth. My initial reaction to this was disappointment, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the correct decision. While the German Silver added some charm and decadence, when combined with the original style of the watches, they felt too much like an attempt at direct competition with Lange (whether or not that was the intention). Now, these look like JLCs through and through.

While neither the chronograph nor the date models lack complexity, the Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual is on a different level. Sadly, we didn’t see this one in person, but here are the highlights. Built on the Duometre concept, it features a three-axis tourbillon with titanium cages spinning on the left side within a large cutout, the profile of which displays the curvature of the dial. The rest of the dial features the hour and minutes and all of the indications needed for a perpetual calendar, including year, moon phase, and a grande date. Dual power reserves flank the dial, maintaining a beautifully symmetrical layout.

This is JLC working at their top level and has a price to match. Limited to 20 pieces, the Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual comes in at $438,000. So, yeah, best appreciated as a haute horological concept and a piece of kinetic sculpture. In fact, perhaps that is the best way to view all of the Duometres, as with a starting price of over $40k in steel, they aren’t likely to make it to many of our wish lists any time soon. With that said, the new design of the Chronograph Moon and Quantieme Lunaire comes off as stylish and remarkably unpretentious for such high-end pieces, making them shockingly wearable, which, well, does make them all the more desirable. Jaeger-LeCoultre

Images from this post:
Related Posts
Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw