A quick view on the 4 ATM Chronograph.

Jun 01, 2010,07:05 AM

The Vintage   Chronographs belong to this rare category of Vintage JLC watches  to not use an in house movement, but an Universal or a Valjoux.


These JLC Chronos are a real Family, as there were some dressy ones, coming with  different shapes of lugs, quite always round case ( with the noticeable exception of a very rare cushion shaped one ), and using different metals.


I will here focuse on the sporty Chronos, which can be divided in 2 categories, the Diving, and the " 4 ATM ", which were the natural competitors of the Rolex Daytonas.


At the very end of the sixties, JLC released the Diving Chronos, 120 meters water resistant, with a curious variety of bezels.


Here are some pics of these Diving Chronos ( branded Lecoultre or Jaeger Lecoultre ).


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Don't know who to credit for this pic...


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As you can see, the common points are tritium indexes and hands ( which is mandatory for a Diving watch ), a black dial, with silver sub dials, and a solid case back:


The particularity is that on these Diving Chronos, you have 3 different bezels...


One with minute indexes ( normal, once again, for a Diving Watch ), but also, strangely, a GMT and a World Time bezel!


I never saw in the flesh a Diving Chrono coming with the GMT bezel, so I don't know what to think about this combo, to say all...


The otther different detail between a 4 ATM and the Diving Chronograph is the shape of the lugs, flatter, and larger.


To be complete, the Diving Chronos came with a Lecoultre or Jaeger Lecoultre Dial, never with a Jaeger dial.


So the 4 ATM and the Diving Chronograph  have not to be confused, as they are really different.


 At the same period, came a non Diving Chrono, water resistant to 4 ATM ( 40 meters ), hence its name " 4 ATM "...


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( Here again, don't now who to credit for this superb pic )...


This version was reserved for the French Market, sometimes assembled in France ( hence the writing " Made in France  " on some of the dials ), and always signed " Jaeger " on the dial.


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 As you can see on the first pics I posted on the 4 ATM, there is a weird detail on the bezels.


The bezels indeed come with Hour or Minute indexes, but both are ...Retrograde...From 11 to 0, and not from 12 to 5, ( or 55 to 0, instead of the more logical 0 to 55 ).




I have to admit that I don't know!


I didn't find any pic of the black dialed version of this 4 ATM Chrono, which also existed with silver subdials, but the " white " looks more sporty with the blue counters.


Back to the White 4 ATM, this is an amazing watch.


The similarity with the Rolex Daytona is very close, even if the Jaeger is much bigger than the Rolex with a 41 mm diameter case, ( instead of 37 mm ).


Therefore, the bezel is also different, much larger on the  Jaeger than on the Rolex which bears a tachymeter scale on this last one ,while the tachymeter is all around the dial on the Jaeger.


2 comparison pics to show the similarities between these 2 Chronos, and the differences, too...


An Irakian Dayto ( don't now who to credit for this pic ):


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The 4 ATM:


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Surprising, isn't it?


There is something strong, but also smooth in this 70ies looking Chrono:


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An extraordinary presence, maybe due to the white dial, and the very big bezel:


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While examining the case, I was stunned by the fact that it is very close to the Polaris one, with the lugs shaped in a very similar way, and with only one milliter less than its presitigious contemporanean.


With its internal bezel, the Polaris is actually bigger, and thicker due to its very domed plexy.


But if you put these 2 watches back to back, it is less really amazing how the proportions look very close.


As we speak of the plexy, here is a side pic, showing its sexy  chimney shape, and the non screw in crowns:


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It gives, as always, a lot of warmth to the dial, which mixes a sunburst finish with a circular finish for the 3 blue subdials, as shown on these macros:


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Some uncommon writings, at the contact of the applied ( non ) luminous indexes, and of the blue subdials:




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Made in France :


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The case back doesn't show anything spectacular, except the fact that the name of this watch is engraved on it... " 4 ATM " Etanche ( for Water Resistant ), and the other words in English, this blend of French and English being another amazing detail, too.


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Another specificity of this watch is that   the case nor the movement are signed, at the contrary of the Lecoultre or Jaeger Lecoultre Diving watches.


As we speak of the movement, as I previously said, JLC used an outsourced one, the Valjoux 72, reliable and nicely finished, as you can see on the following pic  found on the bay ( on a Lecoultre Diving watch, but once again, this is the same movement ):


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To end with this quick view on the 4 ATM, let's see the mandatory wrist shot, which will show how present this watch is on the wrist, and how pleasant and nice it is!


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Less known or seen than the Daytona, it deserved a post, indeed, as another interesting Vintage JLC watch.


Hope you will enjoy this thread...




This message has been edited by amanico on 2010-06-01 07:13:19 This message has been edited by amanico on 2010-06-01 07:16:22 This message has been edited by amanico on 2010-06-01 07:18:19 This message has been edited by amanico on 2010-06-04 11:14:48

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I am loving all of the unusual details of this 4 ATM

 By: respo : June 1st, 2010-07:23
I thought those lugs looked familiar. The size at 41mm is also interesting. It is interestingt that JLC was making large watches back in the 60s and 70s -- far ahead of the large watch "trend" of today, right? This watch is more and more appealing as yoiu... 

The spirit of the moment, Respo?

 By: amanico : June 1st, 2010-07:34
The 70ies were crazy years, and watches followed that " state of mind "... When you have a look at the JLC production, you see some big Memovoxes, such as the Polaris II, the Snowdrop, and the " TV screen ", which were indeed big watches. The 4 ATM is a c... 

you're killing

 By: damien : June 1st, 2010-09:08
me Vlad. Splendid review despite the torture (there's no pleasure without pain?). Do you know the production figures for the 4 ATM by chance? The bezel markings may be for some sort of 12 hour event, maybe the LeMans but with 15 minute intervals for more ... 

I can confirm it...No pleasure without pain...:)

 By: amanico : June 1st, 2010-13:47
Sadly, I don't have the production figures on the 4 ATM. There were several kind of bezels, Damien. Here is one, but there was also a decimal one. One word about the difference of treatment, which is in fact a guess I will have to check. If I remember wel... 

Thanks for posting.....

 By: MiniCooper : June 1st, 2010-11:03
I am curious though, why did JLC use a "foreign" movement....... Cheers


 By: amanico : June 1st, 2010-13:49
Because at this moment, JLC didn't have an in house movement, and the Valjoux or the Universal were good ones! Best, Nicolas

Nicolas, my friend…

 By: blomman Mr Blue : June 1st, 2010-12:50
Your posts are really in a class of their own! Great work once again! A very interesting and informative post! The French market JAEGER with the blue sub-dials is very appealing! I must confess that all your posts about chronos have really made me start t... 

There are so many Vintage JLC Chronos, Blomman

 By: amanico : June 1st, 2010-13:28
That we could dedicate an entire thema of collection about them. 2 or 3 registers, round or cushion, gold, or stainless steel, class or sporty, small or big, there are so many variations! Though, I will not make this trip, as I have to end my Vintage JLC ... 

Beautiful watches Nicolas! Perhaps a warning about variations for collectors....

 By: GregB : June 1st, 2010-17:58
I've always been very cautious when approaching the purchase of Jaeger or JLC/LeCoultre chronos because there are so many convincing fakes in circulation. It can be very risky unless you know the genuine models and variations well. Perhaps a word of cauti...  

Yes, Greg, when it comes to JLC Chronos, we have to be very careful.

 By: amanico : June 1st, 2010-21:38
I personally saw some fakes, and some questionnable, and I speak more about the Shark than the 4 ATM... Thanks for the warning, and for the spectacular, but necesary warning. Best, Nicolas


 By: damien : June 2nd, 2010-04:56
Thanks for the headsup. It's amazing the level of fakes in the market now. There's a good post on the Hour Lounge about an Omega full calendar disguised as a Vacheron. Indeed it's caveat emptor more than ever for vintage pieces.

Thanks, Damien. I hadn't seen the post you mentioned

 By: GregB : June 2nd, 2010-17:32
Just looked at the post you mentioned on the Vacheron site. Wow. It is amazing the lengths that some of the fake manufacturers will now go to create one-off fakes of scarce or rare pieces. On the Vacheron/Omega fake you mentioned, they even added Geneva s...  

Thanks for the warning, Greg!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : June 2nd, 2010-21:46
It’s sad that this kind of warnings is needed, but I guess it’s too much money in it … … for dishonest people resist. This is one of the reasons I still haven’t gone deeper in my vintage hunt yet. I have a lot of studying to ... 

Vlad, will you ever stop? ;)

 By: blomman Mr Blue : June 2nd, 2010-21:54
“Only 4 or 5 more vintage JLC’s"? Nicolas, be honest now – will you ever be able to stop?! And if you do make it and stops - why?! Best, my friend Blomman

Because I only buy what I really love, Blomman.

 By: amanico : June 2nd, 2010-22:06
So, my journey into Vintage JLCs will end with my 30th piece. I try to get the most representative of JLC History, which is very subjective, as some will privilege other models than those I chose, but I also have to love these pieces. 30 pieces, that it d... 

Not crazy, Nicolas!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : June 3rd, 2010-14:09
That is true love and passion, my friend! It is good to put a limit, especially when it comes down to things that are controlled by the emotional part of the brain… But I still wonder – will you be able to stop at 30..? I mean, just look at yo... 

Great quickie! Thanks very much - the bezels...

 By: Nomer : June 1st, 2010-16:15
I imagine that the reverse bezels for some of the models were designed as counters to measure time "remaining" so as to complement the chronograph feature which measures time "elapsed" - perhaps useful if you know you have only a 30min dive and want to kn... 

Hi, Nomer...

 By: amanico : June 1st, 2010-22:31
The 4 ATM was all except a Diving Chrono, my friend. 4 Atmospheres ( 40 meters ) are not enough to provide a good water resistance when diving. My guess is that the decimal bezel or the hour indexes were used for some different activities. But it is only ... 

Not so sure...

 By: BDLJ : June 1st, 2010-17:24
I don't know about these, Nico. They seem to fall into the category of many Chronos of that era. So many brands were putting out these 'generic' style chronos, many with 72s inside, that the JLCness of them just doesn't seem to be there. Something is miss... 

Valuable points, Ben.

 By: amanico : June 1st, 2010-22:39
This case was used by Jaeger only, not LeCoultre nor Jaeger-Lecoultre, which used another case for their Diving Chrono, the " Shark ". Actually, this is not the only watch to use an outsourced case, the other most famous example being the ..Polaris, but i... 

very handsome 4 ATM chrono...

 By: Stefan : June 1st, 2010-23:15
got a question in mind, movement of these chronos was not made in housed, why JLC/LC did develope chrono calibres in the past and only made in housed calibre until very recently? by the way, very nice and tempted chronos. stefan

Excellent question, Stefan.

 By: amanico : June 2nd, 2010-07:21
My guess is that LeCoultre made very nice in house Chrono movements, at the end of the 19th Century and at the beginning of the 20th Century, for pocket watches. If you have a look at the Chrono movements for Wristwatches, at " La Grande Maison ", you wil... 

A True Manufacture JLC...

 By: Stefan : June 2nd, 2010-07:47
Nico, thanks a lot for possible answers... i tend to agree the Factor 1 to be possible answer! it was also happened to other brands which simply bought chrono movements from other company. Omega was one of the good examples I think! in any case, this is a... 

Rolex was in the same situation

 By: amanico : June 2nd, 2010-07:58
As they used the Valjoux 72 for their Dayto, then the Zenith, and we had to wait till 2001 if I' m not wrong to see Rolex housing their own in house Chrono Movement... PP did the same, until very recently. So, it is not exceptional at all. Yes, too many t... 

The uncredited picture

 By: stromer : June 2nd, 2010-11:15
Hi Nicolas, a pleasurable report again from you about a topic I would never think about on my own. Thanks a lot! This picture that you did not know whom to credit for was strangely familiar to me from the beginning: Now I got it: It is taken from the JLC ...  

I messed a bit with the Credit to pictures, obviously...

 By: amanico : June 2nd, 2010-11:25
Because I know by heart the Year Book One. No, my friend, no problems with the PMs, I'm still trying to arrange all the schedules. Best! Nicolas