We’ve spent a bit of time talking about dive watches this month, but now, we’re digging out something a little more quirky. The Jaeger LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm is easily one of the watches most affected by the vintage boom in recent years and it’s easy to see why. Let’s take a look at this impressive example and what makes it tick.
Introduced in 1959, the Jaeger LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm was one of the first dive watches with an alarm feature as well as a definite first for the brand. Throughout its production period, there were two main variants produced – one with “Jaeger LeCoultre” printed on the dial for the European market and the other with “LeCoultre” printed for the US market. Sadly, production spanned only a couple of years and it’s thought that there are less than a thousand in existence – many of which are in poor condition.
So, when we saw this example come up at a recent Phillips auction, we just knew we had to get up close and personal with it. This specific watch is actually from 1959 – the first year of production. With a 39mm case, unsigned dual crowns, tropic-style strap, and a lovely domed crystal, the watch serves as an endearing reminder of how dive watches used to be designed. It’s completely purpose-built. And while I’d be weary to have it near the spray of an ocean breeze, I’m sure the watch and its new owner have a few more chapters to write in this very special story.
Another interesting trait of this specific lot is the dial. Along the minute track, it has faded to a rich espresso brown color that matches perfectly with the (mostly intact) lume. The bezel itself is also among the best I’ve ever seen when it comes to these watches. It’s important to remember that back when these pieces were produced, many of them saw actual use out in the field – and the sea is unforgiving. As a result, clean examples are hard to come by, so it’s a real treat to see this one come along.
Because of its undeniable influence, Jaeger LeCoultre has also produced various modern pieces that take a page from the Deep Sea Alarm’s book, many of which reside in the Master Extreme collection. With so much history packed into a watch that is in this kind of condition, it’s no surprise that it has recently found a new home. The hammer price? CHF 50,000. It’s an amazing thing to witness while realizing that at one point, not long ago, these watches sold for around $1,000 to $2,000.