Living on Air
Perpetual motion is a concept experimented by many scienctists for centuries, but it was only in the late 1928 that Jean-Leon Reutter, a young Paris engineer, successfully incorporated the novel idea into a working clock. Perpetual motion simply means that the clock required no direct mechanical or electrical intervention to keep it wound. In short, a clock that runs by itself. It gets the energy it needs to run from temperature and atmospheric pressure changes in the environment, and can run for years without human intervention. This mechanism, by itself, intrigues me to no ends.
Due to the lack of enthusiasm from manufacturers in the early days, the Reutters Atmos were only produced in small numbers. But after a chance encounter between a fascinated LeCoultre and Reutter, allowed the partnership to happen, with the LeCoultre Watch Company eventually owning the license and the patent. After their merger with their competitor, Ed Jaeger of Paris, to what is now known to us as Jaeger-LeCoultre. They still sell a number of Atmos models today and they usually become a collectors’ item if the model goes out of production.