Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos - The Iconic 'Running on Air' Clock

Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos - The Iconic 'Running on Air' Clock

Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clocks are a marvel of engineering and precision. These unique timepieces have a fascinating history that dates back to the 1920s.

What is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock?

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clock is a mechanical clock that runs without needing to be wound manually. Instead, it operates on temperature and atmospheric pressure changes, making it incredibly accurate and reliable. The clock literally runs on air.

The Atmos was even environmentally friendly long before that was fashionable: Jaeger-LeCoultre is fond of pointing out that it would take 60 million Atmos clocks to equal the energy consumption of a single 15-watt electric lightbulb. The patent on the technology has long since expired, but Jaeger-LeCoultre is, to this day, the only watchmaking or clockmaking firm that utilizes it.

How was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock Invented?

The Atmos clock was invented by Jean-Léon Reutter, a Swiss engineer, in 1928. He partnered with Jaeger-LeCoultre to produce the clock on a larger scale. The secret to the clock's operation lies in a hermetically sealed capsule filled with gas that expands and contracts with temperature changes, powering the clock.

What Makes the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock Special?

The Atmos clock is known for its precision and longevity. Some models can run for over 600 years without needing any maintenance. It has become a symbol of luxury and craftsmanship, with collectors around the world seeking out these unique timepieces.

“The Atmos became known as the President’s Clock. When you see pictures of presidents in the Oval Office during that era, you can usually see an Atmos somewhere in the background. Whenever a President, a Pope, or a famous actor made an official visit to Switzerland, they would receive one because it was the symbol of Swiss clockmaking and savoir faire.”

The roster of VIPs who have received an Atmos reads like a Who’s Who of 20th century history: Jordan’s King Hussein, England’s Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill, France’s Charles de Gaulle, American presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, American actor Charlie Chaplin, and Pope John Paul II, to name a few. The Vatican most likely claims the largest collection of Atmos clocks in the world.

How has the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock Evolved?

Over the years, Jaeger-LeCoultre has continued to innovate and improve the Atmos clock. New materials and technologies have been incorporated to enhance its performance and durability. Despite these advancements, the basic principle of operation remains the same.

The Atmos clock is more than just an horological piece, it is a work of art. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s collaborations with talented designers to produce special editions of the Atmos are a tradition that goes back at least as far as the 1970s. German industrial designer Luigi Colani, who made his name designing cars for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, BMW and others, contributed the 1973 “Atmos Moderne” model, housing the Jaeger-LeCoultre 528/1 movement, with a squared dial and blackened hands inside a sleek steel cube, an industrial look that broke from the clear cases and conventional round dials of previous models.

Recent models have teamed Jaeger- LeCoultre’s seasoned design team with artists such as Apple Watch co-designer Marc Newson and have boasted collaborations with world-acclaimed luxury purveyors such as Hermès, Baccarat, and Alfred Dunhill.

Whether you are a clock enthusiast or simply appreciate fine craftsmanship, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos clock is a true work of art with a rich history. Its unique design and precision engineering make it a timeless piece that will continue to captivate for generations to come.

Explore our curated collection of Atmos clocks with 24Time Collectibles.

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