• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1348

    Important Pocket Watches and Wristwatches

    12 November 2007, Geneva

  • Lot 169

    Jaeger-LeCoultre. A fine, rare and early chrome-plated Atmos clock


    Price Realised  


    Jaeger-LeCoultre. A fine, rare and early chrome-plated Atmos clock
    Signed Atmos, Brevets J. Reutter, No. 3319, circa 1930
    The movement wound by changes in the air pressure, the silvered matte dial with applied Arabic numerals, moon-style hands, the rectangular case with glazed sides and top, mirrored bottom, hinged doors to front and back, balance locking lever in the chrome base, with black wooden back panel and curved bottom section, set with a metal plaque inscribed Brevets J.L. Reutter S.G.D.G., movement signed Atmos and numbered
    175 mm. wide & 240 mm. high

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    In the late 1920s the young engineer Jean-Léon Reutter experimented with a clock which would not need direct mechanical or electrical intervention to keep it wound, a clock powered only by Perpetual Motion. For centuries, many scientists including Leonardo Da Vinci had experimented with the idea of Perpetual Motion - however, only Reutter eventually succeeded in transforming it into an actual working clock.

    His vision of a Perpetual Motion timepiece led him to produce a clock with a mechanism designed to consume the smallest possible amount of power to keep it running. His creation included a device powering the movement independently, using a substance which would react to the most sensitive changes in temperature and atmospheric conditions.

    The result was an ingenious new clock unlike any other, past or present, a timepiece that would run independently and continuously, so incredibly sensitive that it could be rewound by the slightest fluctuations in the atmosphere or by the slightest changes in temperature, hence the name: "Atmos Clock". The first models were called Reutter Atmos I.

    Reutter's system was patented in 1928 and improved by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Since 1935, the company has been producing these highly popular timepieces in different styles.