Only a few years ago I saw my first Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos, you must know that I frequently visit a local antiques dealer that is specialised in antique clocks, and there it was. This mechanical marvel packed in metal and glass.
What makes it so unique is a mechanism that is so well designed and so ground breaking that it becomes almost magical. A normal clock works on winding a spring, or a hanging weight. The Atmos however appears to not be powered at all, it works on temperature change. A gas cilinder expands and contracts to temperature change and because the design of the clock is on absolute conservation of energy and so it can actually run two days on a temperature variation of one single degree Celcius. The hanging balance wheel goes back in forth in one minute, which is extremely slow, a modern watch beats with 28.800 times in a hour, to only 60 for this clock. It is actually very soothing to look at the balance wheel go back and forth. A freshly serviced Atmos clock is so well built that you could put it on your mantle and have it run continuously for 40 years. I would call that mechanical magic.
The funny thing is that clock lovers don’t really like the Atmos, because it is relatively new (1930’s). However it has somewhat of a broader appeal. When I saw my first one I instantly fell in love with it, and I have bought and sold a few. What I have here is a Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos from the 1980’s that even includes the original manual.