WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts
G

·
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
And the last one for tonight... I saw one similar to this on Ebay going for around $4000 but it was 14k.

Any idea on the year it was made? Is it rare? Nice? :thanks

Written on the Dial:
Le Coultre Futurematic
17 Jewels
Swiss


Written on the Movement:
Le Coultre Co
Unadjusted Swiss
SEVENTEEN 17 JEWELS
497
758058

Written on the inside of the Case:
Cased and Timed in USA by Le Coultre
W 10k gold filled
(sketched in by hand it seems) 25810
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,771 Posts
I'd say this one is interesting. LeCoultre Futurematic was made in the early 1950s and was one of the first automatic watches. This is probably calibre 817. If it's working OK it's a fairly collectible watch I'd say. Maybe the other experts can tell you more.
 

·
Zenith Forum Co-moderator
Joined
·
19,042 Posts
Since it has a "497" on the movement, it is probably a Cal. 497 rather than a 817.

Before you ask "What's the difference?!", let me own up and say that I don't know. I have pictures of watches with both movements, both from 1955 according to the author, and the 497 has a power reserve indication by hand whereas the 817 has that by a coloured rotating disc under the dial with a hole in the dial to show the colour. For all I know, that is the only difference between the movements - similar to the Zenith 4001 vs 4009 - the only difference being the precise mode of indication of the moon phase.

Futurematics date to around the mid- to late fifties (introduced in 1953).

Hartmut Richter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,654 Posts
Hi -

The Futurematics are pretty neat watches.

First of all, there is no crown. Or, more exactly, the crown has been relocated to the back of the watch, and really only needed to be used when resetting the watch, since it is, as Ray properly states, one of the early automatics.

The subdial on the right is the running seconds, while the subdial on the left is the power reserve. The watch you show, as Hartmut correctly points out, is a 497; the 817 used a dial hole to indicate the power reserves.

The movement is a bumper automatic, but one with a completely different keyless work for winding and time adjustment than normal, given the crown-on-the-back. You can read more about the movement here.

Basically, the design is strange, yet brilliant: rather than use two springs at the end of the movement arc (in this case 90°), it used two blade springs under the oscillating weight of the automatic part, arranged so that there is a long movement absorption period at the end of the swings, avoiding the "bumper knock" that is a decided downside of bumper movements (I have several, and it does tend to get annoying: you can feel the thunk at the end of the weights' movement, and yes, the springs were good: it's a design problem...).

Overwinding protection is totally bizarre, but logical: rather than use a clutch on the mainspring, JLC designed the movement such that when the watch was wound up to a certain point, a spring-driven hook engaged the weight and stopped the automatic winding mechanism cold; when power reserves declined, the spring was re-engaged and the weight released. Meant that rather than waste mechanical energy when the watch was wound, the automatic portion would run only when power was needed. Elegant, brilliant, totally insane because this made the watch's winding ability dependent on the proper operation of a single small spring, and if it failed, then the watch couldn't wind, and as far as I know only JLC pursued this path. On the upside, the watch never really wound all the way down: if not worn, it would stop with ca. 6 hours of power reserve, meaning that if you simply picked up the watch, it would start running again with a fairly decent power level, such that the watch's accuracy wouldn't be negatively affected by not winding it (automatics can be very erratic when they haven't been worn for a while until enough energy is stored to provide a smooth power curve: this is a design flaw of virtually all automatic calibres...).

Neat watches, with a strange and ultimately dead-end design that shows, perhaps, what happens when a watchmaker is allowed to live out their fantasies... :)


From what I understand, JLC never really made money on these, as market conditions did not permit them to sell it for what it really cost to make them (given the unusual characteristics of the movement, economies of scale were violated).

JohnF
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,771 Posts
Thanks Hartmut.Your eyes are definitely better than mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,970 Posts
The 817 and 497 calibers operated in exactly the same manner. There were just a few parts changed.



The 817 porthole versions are about 10 times rarer than the twin subdial versions. I have one of each version and they are both incredibly accurate movements.

Hope this helps,
gatorcpa
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
These are very nice, I have coveted them for some time.... maybe one day.... If you own the one in the pics, congratulations! If you don't and are considering buying, good luck. However I have read that these can be very expensive to source parts for, so if it's not yours yet, make sure that it is in good working order. Thanks for posting the pictures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Sorry, just read your earlier post. Congrats on owning such a desirable watch (IMO). And thanks again for the pics.
 
G

·
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks very much. You guys are a full of knowledge. I do love this watch, it might just be the crown jewel of all the watches I have. Anyone have any idea what it could be worth?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Very, very nice watch !!! and quite collectible. Congrats!!:-!

About your last query:

There is a sticky with two posts by Mr MacDonald in the begginning of the main page for this subforum called " Vintage watch valuations rules "

https://www.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?p=2113#poststop.
https://www.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?p=384087#poststop

I am not going to break the rules, but only to encourage you to do some research by yourself; for example you can quickly browse the Antiquorum main page and you´ll see several examples of Futurematics that have been or are been offered. Moreover, you could consult approximate prices in books like the Engle, Gilbert and Shugart that almost everyone knows.
Hope this works


Have a nice day

Salud;-)s
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top