LeCoultre Quartermaster ? watch for connoisseurs (AWW 54)
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Thread: LeCoultre Quartermaster ? watch for connoisseurs (AWW 54)

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  1. #1
    Member Afka's Avatar
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    Sep 2011

    LeCoultre Quartermaster – watch for connoisseurs (AWW 54)


    Name: LeCoultre Quartermaster
    Movement: Manual movement, caliber K831/CW, 17 jewels, 18,000 bph, No. 1328245
    Time display: 24 hour, minute, seconds,
    Date: no date
    Case: all stainless steel with screw on back
    Size: 34 mm diameter without crown, 36 mm with crown, lug to lug 40 mm
    Height: 9 mm
    Face: matte silver dial with silver Arabic numeral and dagger hour-markers, 24 on top
    Hands: silver luminous baton hands, sweep seconds
    Text on dial: LeCoultre - QUARTERMASTER
    Water-resistance: waterproof
    Crown: main crown at 3
    Crystal: domed acrylic crystal
    Lugs: 18 mm
    Bracelet: leather strap with buckle

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    Most 24h watches are “middle class”, a niche models usually ignored by most of luxury watch brands. One of the few exceptions is LeCoultre Quartermaster.
    If you are interested in Jaeger-LeCoultre watches, then best source is JLC forum.

    As bromman wrote:
    To research and collect JLC is a treasure hunt! You never know what you will find around the next corner... Not sure if any other Manufacturer produced that many different watches like the one from Vallée de Joux!
    Another good sentence by bromman about Quartermaster watch:
    Despite the “military look”, you might say that this is a watch for a connoisseur.
    That’s right!


    Why only LeCoultre? JLC made some watches exclusively for American market under shorter brand name LeCoultre.

    One main source on JLC is www.classicwatch.com, run by Zaf Basha, containing also vintage JLC forum. A book by Zaf Basha, “Jaeger-LeCoultre: a guide for the collector”, is an excellent reference source.

    That is what Zaf Basha has to say about this watch:
    The LeCoultre Quartermaster is a wonderful example of a highly collectible U.S. market watch that has never sold in the European market. It is the only vintage LeCoultre product with a true 24 hour movement. The hands make only one rotation per day and the time is read in “military time”. All observed examples have been in stainless steel with either a white or black dial. The movement caliber K831/CW is unique to the watch and was made in only 2,500 examples between 1957 and 1958.
    Almost nothing is documented about LeCoultre Quartermaster.

    I see so many advsertising of any JLC models in the past so they must have a good marketing team. I'm wondering what might be the reason for no documentation or advertisement at all for this particular model, considering this just not a common type of watch. This is the only true 24 hour dial LeCoultre.
    Perhaps the following can be the reason of no Ads, no documentation, limited 2500 pcs, no original price tag known?
    Quartermaster is not a profession that has strong appeal for marketing purpose, compared to say Master Mariner (advertised with the ship's Master or the Captain pictures).
    LeCoultre Quartermaster was created as limited edition for limited group of people/professionals only (the QM's) and never offered to regular market by LeCoultre America.
    Or it's simply the 24 hour dial was not that interesting during that time, although it's a collector items nowadays.
    Note: In US Navy (Wikipedia):
    The quartermaster is the enlisted member in charge of the watch-to-watch navigation and the maintenance, correction, and preparation of nautical charts and navigation publications. He or she is also responsible for navigational instruments and clocks and the training of ship's lookouts and helmsmen. On U.S. Navy submarines, the job of a quartermaster is done by a qualified navigation electronics technician.
    Quartermaster arrived in 1957 together with other much more well-known LeCoultre watch Master Mariner. Here you see how similarly designed they are, same family.

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    Quite often you can see Quartermasters in sale. The price is almost always over 2000 EUR. But if you wait enough long time, even three digit price is possible, believe me. I got mine in January 2016.

    Quartermaster is small, 34 mm diameter, lug to lug 40 mm. My wrist is 18 cm (7”), so it is OK. I have a whole collection of vintage 24 watches, most of them in this size. They all wear well and look like a nice vintage utility watches. Quartermaster looks like a jewellery on your wrist. Remember, a watch for connoisseur. I can’t get in on the picture, the dial is shining and sparkling in sunshine, is showing class!

    I’m lucky and got my Quartermaster in a very good shape for a watch of this age. Not flawless, of course. There is a crack in crystal and usage marks on case back. I got it without box and papers. See my following post somewhere below with pictures of Quartermaster in full package.

    The dial of Quartermaster has absolutely unique design. When you see it once, you never mix it with some other watch.
    Legibility is absolutely fine. Hands are correctly sized and lumed. I have no idea when (if at all) the watch was serviced, but hands lumination still works and watch is keeping time!

    My watch has aftermarket leather strap, not signed. Case and movement are signed. Letters GF on the caseback is probably the previous owner.

    From design and technical standpoint everything is absolutely OK, nothing more to say. I like the watch and wear it quite often.


    One of the crown jewels of my collection. I wish you luck to find your own Quartermaster.

    What needs extra explanation is variability of Quartermaster exteriors. When I first started to follow Quartermaster offers it looked to me like every watch was unique, different from other Quartermasters. After collecting all known pictures in web of some dozen Quartermasters, I’m risking to present Quartermaster typology to you, to help distinguish original versions from refurbished and modified ones. Read my next post below.

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    Last edited by Afka; October 23rd, 2016 at 19:48.
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  2. #2
    Member Afka's Avatar
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    Re: LeCoultre Quartermaster – watch for connoisseurs (AWW 54)

    LeCoultre Quartermaster Typology

    Looking at all the pictures and as many movement numbers as available I came to conclusion, that 1957-1958 LeCoultre produced three main types or generations of Quartermaster. All 3 came with white or black dial, 6 main versions in total. My watch is type II white.

    Type I
    Case: original Quartermaster case, different from other LeCoultre models
    Dial: original outer minute track (see picture)
    Text: Quartermaster in italic
    Hands: original baton, typical for Quartermaster and Mariner, watches released in 1957
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    Note. Unfortunately I don't have better picture of type I black dial. Type I white dial is common and I have many pictures.

    Type II
    Case: original Quartermaster case, different from other LeCoultre models
    Dial: original outer minute track
    Text: Quartermaster in capital letters
    Hands: original baton, typical for Quartermaster and Mariner, watches released in 1957
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    Type III
    Case: other case, similar to other LeCoultre models like Master Mariner
    Dial: redesigned outer minute track
    Text: missing
    Hands: original baton, typical for Quartermaster and Mariner, watches released in 1957
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    Often you can see in auctions expensive and good looking Quartermasters. In most cases they are refurbished ones. What is almost always original, is movement. So, the watches offered are not totally fake, but somewhat modified. Very often hands are changed, dial is repainted, case is changed. My suggestion is -- always look at

    1. Hands. All 3 types of Quartermaster are always equipped with original, baton-shaped hands. Same hands appeared in 1957 in other LeCoultre models. Many expensive auction Quartermasters have other hands, sometimes LeCoultre hands, but not the right ones.
    2. Case. Only two case versions are OK. Type I and II both have the original Quartermaster case. Type III has other, LeCoultre case, but not the exclusive Quatermaster case. As a collector I personally prefer type I and II. They have a look like the original designer planned.
    3. Dial. I can validate three dial versions, types I, II, III. Very often dial is repainted. Sometimes badly, sometimes even very good. Especially hard for repainters is to write correctly LeCoultre.
      Look at the type III black one here above and compare to genuine white dial version. The dial is restored and clumsy LeCoultre logo is showing it. Other fault here is minutes track - repainted and too short diameter. The distance between dagger marks and minutes track is too short. As a result minutes hand is too long.

    I can not exclude, that some fourth Quartermaster type is legit too. For validation I need to see identical pictures of different watch examples. From all the watches described above I have identical pictures of different watch examples from type I – 7, type II – 10, type III - 7. Other QM pictures I’ve seen beside these three types are always unique, showing only one unique watch.

    I hope my humble typology can help you to pick up the right Qurtermaster for you.

    My previous and next post show several pictures of original case used by type I and II.

    Here you see type III caseback:

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    Finally, one nice picture more by a lucky owner from Germany, two type III Quartermasters next to each other:

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    Last edited by Afka; October 24th, 2016 at 15:21.
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  3. #3
    Member Afka's Avatar
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    Re: LeCoultre Quartermaster – watch for connoisseurs (AWW 54)

    Here I would like to share with you borrowed from fleabay pictures of type I Quartermaster - excellent condition with box and papers.

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  4. #4
    Member TOPAZ's Avatar
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    Re: LeCoultre Quartermaster – watch for connoisseurs (AWW 54)

    Great watch - noticed before, but never seen in this condition ...
    And so much additional informations and pics.
    Basics for any 24h compendium.
    And a new aim for another hunt ...

    Thanks, Michael

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