The Memovox in both hand-wound and automatic formats proved to be a very popular watch for JLC also it remains in the catalogue today; there were hiatuses in manufacturing but complete, for the last 66 years it’s generally been accessible. The latter is becoming very expensive (a inexpensive way to pick up one is to pay $5.99 for a single concealed in a basket of broken quartz watches at a Goodwill, like this man) but in general, vintage Memovoxes are still fairly cheap, and fun, to collect.On vintage models it is often possible to see the purpose on the caseback where a pin’s been relegated to the interior of the case; the pin carries vibrations from the alert to the caseback, amplifying the sound.The Memovox since it exists in the current catalogue is part of the Master series (Master as in Master Control) and is offered in a single model, which can be quite dressier than not, and comes from either steel, for $10,300, or pink stone, for $22,000. It’s a fine view but as is normally the case with Jaeger-LeCoultre there’s a veritable treasure trove of layouts in the history of this Memovox (JLC has nothing if not an embarrassment of riches history to draw from, both visually and technically) and for its dial layout, JLC’s return into the famous and rather infrequent (only about 2,000 left) “Snowdrop” Memovox, by the 1970s. The Snowdrop is a somewhat rare version of the Memovox as we noted when we found one in Bring A Loupe long ago. As Louis Westphalen wrote in that story, the Snowdrop utilized the grade 916, which was a full-rotor automated movement, unlike earlier versions of the Memovox. The very first automated Memovox movement was the grade 815, which has been a bumper-wind automatic. (Such motions have rotors which don’t swing through a full circle; rather, at each extreme limit of an arc, the rotor bounces off a bumper spring.) The Master Memovox Boutique Edition also occupies a pretty strong resemblance to a different blue-dialed model from 1970, with the same automatic caliber 916 that’s found in the Snowdrop.
The Master Memovox Boutique Edition is a very handsome watch and a lot more versatile than the present catalogue-model Master Memovox (that is also a very handsome watch but it will come at you with a certain amount of book, which the Boutique Edition does not). The Boutique Edition is 40mm in diameter, and a bit on the other side at 14mm; that is due to the alarm complication and using a self-winding movement. Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 956, which is a direct descendant of the first automatic Memovox grade 815, is 7.45mm thick. As an example, the grade 825, which is the caliber 815 together with the addition of a date window, is a 31.60millimeter x 7.50mm movement.Operation of this Memovox, such as that of pretty much every Memovox for the past 66 decades, is quite straightforward. The upper of these two crowns winds the separate spring barrel for the alert in the first place. In the next position, it sets the alert when turned clockwise, and the date when turned counterclockwise. The lower overhead winds the mainspring in the first position, and sets the time at the second place. You simply make sure the alarm is fully wound, place it with the upper crown, and push the crown back in; yanking the upper crown out will switch off the alarm. The only potential gotcha is that if you are hasty or just forgetful, you might end up re-setting the date instead of setting the alarm, which can be at most, a mild annoyance.This is a really well-made watch with a useful and enjoyable complication. Alarm watches generally are a refreshing change from other more commonly encountered complications (for all that the automatic chronograph is an wonderful technical accomplishment one occasionally feels one can’t swing a stick without hitting one) along with the Memovox, of course, is a thoroughbred amongst them.
Operating the Master Memovox is quite easy, but pulling out the two crowns is somewhat difficult. Their grooved flanks come very close to the rim of this case, therefore fingernails are required to coax each crown off from the rim. The motion is a normal Jaeger-LeCoultre production: it’s modern, functional, cleverly designed and appealingly decorated. Among other contemporary features, we noticed the equilibrium’s frequency of four hertz, the freely swinging balance spring, and the weight screws across the balance’s rim. The highlight of the movement’s construction is its positioning of these sounding elements: the gong wraps once around the interior of the exact heavy caseback. The alarm hammer strikes a pin that extends from the middle of the back to the depths of this motion. The bearing for the winding rotor has an aperture through which the pin has been inserted, making sure that the rotor doesn’t interfere with the link between the pin and the hammer.The ornaments on the motion, while appealing, fall short of the lavish standards set by other Jaeger-LeCoultre movements, possibly because they’re hidden behind the massive, strong caseback — that maximizes the sound of the alarm — instead of on display in a sapphire window. The rotor attributes Geneva waves, gold-filled engravings and quite a heavy oscillating weight made from rose gold decorated with a sunburst design. Blued screws comparison with Geneva waves at the bridge of this automatic winding mechanism: all here is crafted, as are the diverse patterns that are abraded onto the underlying components. On the other hand, the lower degrees are only bead-blasted and without further adornments, and the borders are neither beveled nor polished.
Operating the Master Memovox is quite easy, but pulling out the two crowns is somewhat difficult. Their grooved flanks come very close to the rim of the case, so fingernails are required to coax every crown away from the rim. The motion is a normal Jaeger-LeCoultre creation: it is modern, functional, cleverly designed and appealingly decorated. Among other contemporary features, we noted the equilibrium’s frequency of four hertz, the publicly swinging balance spring, and also the weight screws across the balance’s border. The highlight of this motion’s structure is its placement of the sounding components: the gong wraps once around the inside of the exact heavy caseback. The alarm hammer strikes a trap that extends from the center of the trunk into the depths of this movement. The posture for the winding rotor has an aperture through which the pin has been inserted, so making sure that the rotor doesn’t interfere with the connection between the pin and the hammer.The ornaments on the movement, while appealing, fall short of the luxurious standards set by other Jaeger-LeCoultre moves, possibly as they are hidden behind the enormous, solid caseback — which maximizes the sound of this alarm — instead of onscreen in a sapphire window. The rotor attributes Geneva waves, gold-filled engravings and a very heavy oscillating weight made of rose gold decorated with a sunburst design. Blued screws comparison with Geneva waves in the bridge of this automatic winding mechanism: all here is crafted, as are the varied patterns that are abraded onto the underlying elements. However, the lower degrees are merely bead-blasted and without additional adornments, and the borders are neither beveled nor polished.
489 was replaced with the Calibre 815, which makes the Memovox the very first automatically wound alert wristwatch. The alert operate on these cal. 815 Memovox is still wound independently from the rest of the movement. Because there is no on/off switch for the alarm, it’s always set if it’s wound, so automatic winding would mean the alarm was constantly place within 12 hours when the watch was still running. This could be problematic for apparent reasons.Finally, we end up with the most iconic Memovox movement, the Calibre 825, which can be a cal. 815 with the inclusion of a date module. Modular motions can be either professionally constructed or clumsily cobbled together, and the grade 825 is definitely the former. Both defining characteristics of the cal. You may actually feel both going back and forth while the watch is still on your wrist, however that is charming instead of annoying.Jaeger-LeCoultre did not stop there, eventually making a full-rotor wound Memovox, modernizing the alarm clock, and creating a number of watches that are related. The movements, nevertheless, were all but the exact same, whatever the appearance.In 2010, after more than two decades of dormancy, Jaeger-LeCoultre brought the Memovox back in the kind of the Master Memovox. It is powered by a standard 956 movement and pays homage to the cal. It is extremely wearable, speaks aesthetically to a very special era in horological history, and contains a complication it is possible to acquire practical use out of. There is a whole lot to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox at a well-conceived package that is at once easy to comprehend and intriguing whenever you strap it on the wrist.
To place the Memovox, you simply finish the crown at 2 o’clock and turn it to set the alert via the inner dial disc. You do have to remember that you’ve set it if your plans change so it’s possible to release the alarm. To do so, simply set it to the current period and push the crown back in. Easy because that.The Memovox does not lack in the looks department either. The dial is two-tone, with a creamier outer portion and a grained, silvery disk for setting the alert. Applied baton markers capture just a tiny mild along with an implemented minutes track stays on the edge of the middle disk for more exact reading. The dial is curved and the seconds and minutes hands curve combined with it. This is actually handsome and something that you can spend a lot of time just ogling up near. The date window is straightforward and different and the whole package simply screams early 1960s. Coming in at 37mm in diameter, the Memovox sits at a size sweet-spot. By today’s standards this is still modest, but it doesn’t look obviously small about the wrist at all. The curved lugs grip it well to the wrist, even with the bulbous back — that helps resonance and can be a common feature on almost all alert watches with any significant noise output.Little touches like double “JL”-signed tiles along with an applied “JL” above the printed “Jaeger-LeCoultre” in 12 o’clock end things off. It’s obvious just looking at this watch the founders appreciated attention to detail and need this to come away as a quietly-superlative watch in every manner. The greatly domed acrylic crystal is just another attribute that vintage collectors go mad for, though true originals are usually scratched and scarred unless you are very blessed.
The Memovox in both hand-wound and automatic formats proved to be a remarkably popular watch for JLC also it remains in the catalog today; there were hiatuses in production but overall, for the past 66 years it’s generally been accessible. It has been made in a quite vast array of layouts, from exquisite, quite thin hand-wound models to the renowned Le Coultre Deep Sea Alarm (a Memovox in all but name). The latter is becoming really expensive (a cheap way to pick up one would be to pay $5.99 for one hidden in a basket of broken quartz watches in a Goodwill, such as this guy) but generally speaking, classic Memovoxes are still pretty affordable, and enjoyable, to collect.On classic models it’s often possible to see that the point on the caseback in which a pin’s been soldered to the inside of the situation; the pin carries vibrations in the alert to the caseback, amplifying the sound.The Memovox as it exists in the current catalogue is part of this Master series (Master as in Master Control) and can be available in a single model, which is quite dressier than not, also comes in either steel, for $10,300, or pink gold, for $22,000. It is a handsome watch but as is normally true with Jaeger-LeCoultre there is a veritable treasure trove of designs in the history of this Memovox (JLC has nothing if not an embarrassment of riches in history to draw from, both visually and technically) and for the dial design, JLC’s gone back into the famous and somewhat infrequent (only about 2,000 made) “Snowdrop” Memovox, from the 1970s. The Snowdrop is a somewhat rare version of this Memovox as we noted when we discovered one in Bring A Loupe long past. Since Louis Westphalen wrote in that story, the Snowdrop utilized the caliber 916, which was a full-rotor automatic motion, unlike earlier versions of this Memovox. The very first automatic Memovox movement was the grade 815, which was a bumper-wind automatic. (Such motions have rotors which don’t swing through a complete circle; rather, at each extreme limit of an arc, the Cable pops off a bumper spring.) The Master Memovox Boutique Edition also occupies a pretty strong similarity to another blue-dialed model from 1970, using the same automatic caliber 916 that’s found in the Snowdrop.
To set the Memovox, you just finish the crown at 2 o’clock and turn it to set the alert via the inner dial disk. You do need to remember that you’ve put it in case your plans change so you can release the alarm. To do so, just set it to the present time and push the crown in. Easy because that.The Memovox does not lack in the looks department. The dial is two-tone, using a creamier outer part and a grained, silvery disc for setting the alert. Applied baton markers catch just a little mild along with an applied minutes track sits on the border of the center disc for much more exact reading. The dial is curved along with the minutes and seconds hands curve combined with it. This is really handsome and something which you can spend a lot of time just ogling up close. The date window is straightforward and discrete and the entire package simply screams early 1960s. Coming in at 37mm in diameter, the Memovox sits at a size sweet-spot. By today’s standards this is still small, but it does not look clearly small about the wrist in any way. The curved lugs hold it nicely to the wrist, in spite of the bulbous back — that helps resonance and can be a common feature on almost all alert watches with any substantial sound output.Little touches such as dual “JL”-authorized crowns and an applied “JL” over the printed “Jaeger-LeCoultre” in 12 o’clock finish things off. It is clear just looking at this view that the creators valued attention to detail and need it to come off as a quietly-superlative watch in every manner. The greatly domed acrylic crystal is just another attribute that classic collectors go crazy for, though authentic originals are often scratched and scarred unless you are very blessed.
Occasionally these are even replaced with overall components rather than Jaeger-LeCoultre service components. Service components are clearly much less desirable as original parts, but these totally foreign components can kill the value of the watch altogether.There are two Memovox configurations that are almost always fakes, and all these will be the worldtime and parking meter Memovoxes. The worldtime dial includes a center disk which allows you create the watch that a worldtimer when you are not using the alert along with also the parking meter dial lets you set the alert specifically for timing a parking meter, using a blue “P” emblem and graduated markers around two hours. These were both created by Jaeger-LeCoultre however, the vast majority out there now are fake dials Intended to increase the worth of an otherwise fundamental watch.There is also the matter of “LeCoultre” vs.
What you’re getting from the Master Memovox isn’t all that different from what you get in the classic Memovox, just the cost is much greater. That said, it is worth noting that this doesn’t hold true for watches throughout the board. The Reverso is the perfect case; a vintage Reverso can run you upwards of $10,000 for a wristwatch which is quite small, very fragile, and rather tough to find, while the modern Grand Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 gives you a superior watch in a wearable size and using a smaller cost tag.For a more fair comparison, we could look to the vintage versions of the modern contest: Vulcain Crickets from the 1950s and 1960s and early Tudor Advisors. As these are marginally more market watches and they were made in relatively abundant quantities, you may often find them for very good rates. Crickets tended to be produced from gold, and that means you can expect to pay a bit more for them, though we are still talking under $3,000 here.If you do decide to find a vintage Memovox on your own, there are a few items to look for. As with any vintage watch, you want to be careful in regards to replacement components. Specifically, the centre dial disc, the hands, and the crowns are often later additions.
|Price||4,200 € (= $5,013)|
|Case diameter||39 mm|
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Jaeger-Le Coultre Master Control Memovox Reveil Ref. 141.8.97, watch alarm function with mechanic movement self winding. Sapphire glass case, in steel diameter 39 mm, leather bracelet with deployant.
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