Pierre LeCoultre fled to Geneva from France to escape religious persecution in 1558. His family settled and by 1833 Antoine LeCoultre founded a small watchmaking company after inventing a machine to cut watch pinions from steel. By 1844 he invented the world's most precise measuring instrument at the time, the Millionomètre, and in 1847 he created a keyless system to rewind and set watches. Then in 1866 Antoine and his son Elie decided to create the first full fledged manufacture of watches from stratch hence naming the company LeCoultre & Cie. In 1870 they developed the first partially mechanized production processes for complicated movements and employed over 500 people. By 1900 they had created 350 different calibers many with chronographs as well as repeaters. In 1899 Edmond Jaeger, who made watches for the French navy, challenged Swiss manufacturers to develop and produce the ultra-thin movements similar to the ones he invented and sold and Antoine's grandson, Jacques helped create a collection of ultra thin watches. Edmond had also closed a contract with Cartier to produce all of their movements which he collaborated with LeCoultre to produce. Edmond also invented the Atmosphere clock which he patented and thus licenses to LeCoultre as well at the same time. Their working relationship continued to grow and in 1937 they officially renamed the company Jaeger-LeCoultre which is how it stood with the exception of watches produced for the United States (these watches were cased in the US in collaboration with Vacheron) until today .