Jaeger-LeCoultre has a legitimacy in photography, being the only watch brand to have actually manufactured a high-end camera. In two special exhibitions, the brand proves its photography chops with classic images.
Back in 1937, the brand worked with Noel Pemberton Billing, an English businessman and pilot, to design and produce the Compass camera.
It all started with a bet. Billing invented a number of things during his life, including the plane that would eventually become the Spitfire, and one evening in the late 1920s, he bet his friends that he could create a camera of the highest quality small enough to fit inside a cigarette packet.
Billing, to make good on his wager, sought out the miniaturization skills of Jaeger-LeCoultre, and after three years of development, the Compass, made up of 290 components, was born.
The camera was an immediate success, because of its design and its long list of functions, including an exposure meter, range finder, telescopic lens shade, inbuilt filters, extinction meter, EV indicator, angle viewfinder, a device for panoramic and stereoscopic views, as well as an ultra-light tripod specially designed to accompany it.