The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox was developed to keep time on the wrist and twice as an alarm clock on the nightstand. In this test attribute from our archives, writer Alexander Krupp sees the way the modern variant of the watch plays both tasks.If you adore elegant watches, you are sure to be attracted to the outward appearance of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Memovox, which surfaced in January 2010. Its immaculately made, rose-gold case harmonizes using a silver-colored dial and a dark brown alligator-skin strap, which is secured to the wrist by a flat, double-folding grip that enriches the sleek classicism of the full outfit. The dial’s outstanding craftsmanship is evident in its brushed surface, paper-thin printed decoration and faceted hour indices. The main contributors to the case’s impressive appearance are a stepped bezel, which four screws hold in place from below, a perfectly polished middle piece with faceted lugs and an elaborately engraved back. We couldn’t help noticing that the engravings on the caseback, which surround the raised-relief emblem, are positioned irregularly so one third of its periphery remains clean.It’s really what’s inside the Master Memovox that makes it special. Underneath the massive caseback ticks among those more than 1,000 mechanical calibers that Jaeger-LeCoultre has grown in the course of its own 177-year history — and one of approximately 40 that are still being used. Automatic Caliber 956 was introduced in 2008 to power the Memovox Polaris alert wristwatch for sailors. This movement was used inside the first Memovox, which has been introduced in the Basel watch fair in 1951. That watch’s special feature was its own alarm, which rang significantly louder as it was lying flat on a difficult surface, like the wooden top of a table, than when it was on the wearer’s wrist. This meant the watch can be used as an effective replacement for a tabletop alarm clock. Jaeger-LeCoultre has elegant this useful feature, which many other wristwatch alarms lacked, through the years, and the watch has also evolved, with the present model being the latest.
489 was replaced with the Calibre 815, which makes the Memovox the first mechanically wound alert wristwatch. The alarm operate on these cal. 815 Memovox is still wound independently from the remainder of the motion. Since there is no on/off switch for the alarm clock, it’s always set if it’s wound, therefore automatic winding would mean the alarm was always place within 12 hours when the watch was still running. This might be problematic for apparent reasons.Finally, we end up with the very iconic Memovox motion, the Calibre 825, that is a cal. Modular movements can be expertly built or clumsily cobbled together, and the caliber 825 is definitely the former. Both defining features of the cal. You can really feel both moving back and forth while the watch is in your wrist, but this is charming rather than annoying.Jaeger-LeCoultre didn’t stop there, eventually making a full-rotor wound Memovox, modernizing the alert clock, and generating lots of related watches. These include the famed Deep Sea Alarm, Polaris, and Amvox collection, but all of these are considerably different from the Memovox we are discussing today from a situation and build standpoint. The movements, however, were the exact same, whatever the appearance.In 2010, after more than two years of dormancy, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the Memovox back into the kind of the Master Memovox. It’s powered by a caliber 956 motion and pays homage to the cal. 825 Memovox we’ve got here, but in the context of the modern Master collection.This is a enjoyable watch to wear. It is very wearable, speaks aesthetically to a very particular era in horological history, also contains a drawback you can acquire practical use from. There’s a lot to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox in a well-conceived package that’s at the same time simple to understand and intriguing every time you strap it on the wrist.
The level of embellishment is sufficient for a strong caliber built for efficiency, but we’re somewhat disappointed by the irregular speed results of this movement compared to people of other Jaeger-LeCoultre watches we have tested in the past. Our Witschi timing system determined that the greatest connection between two places is a mediocre 8 seconds, and some of the individual values strayed to the minus column: the analyzed version lost an average of 2.3 seconds per day. This value was confirmed in our wrist test. In terms of wearing comfort, even though the watch’s enormous, gold instance contributes to its hefty weight of 140 grams, it fits snugly around the wrist. You may experience minor problems when putting it on and taking it off since the gold, double-folding clasp has a couple of sharp edges and doesn’t have push-pieces to start it. However, the dearth of the push-pieces leads to the grip’s slim, elegant look.The different parts of the clasp are milled from solid gold and are, expectedly, very sturdy, though they might have been a bit thicker in the joints so the pins could have had a bigger diameter. The hooks snapped in a simulated test under the weight of a thick book that was put on top of the opened clasp. Of course, if the proprietor of this luxury watch treats it he shouldn’t encounter any problems.Nonetheless, a pronged buckle could have been a much better choice for this alarm watch. After all, it should be placed flat on a bedside table at the evening so that it could ring at full volume the morning after. It rings considerably more quietly if it is lying on its side, as is usual for a timepiece with a folding clasp. Few can be expected to go to the trouble, before drifting off to sleep, of removing the grip’s stirrup and pulling out the leather strap. And should the golden version, at $20,350*, is too costly, there is also a steel version for $9,600*.
Conservatism doesn’t necessarily imply timidity, and many smart businesses understand well that providing your customers a direct, concrete connection with the past is a fantastic way to build a feeling of emotional connection to the current (as a matter of fact, Rolex has built an whole business model on the notion of, or even a intentionally glacial product development cycle, at a keen sense of if something is not broken, and, therefore, not needing fixing). Watches like the Speedmaster Moonwatch along with the Zenith El Primero are in need of no fiddling, and both of those particular watches show just how much longevity a fantastic movement in a great design can have. In precisely the same class is another, slightly-less-often discussed wristwatch: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox.The Memovox of course wasn’t the first alert wristwatch — that honor goes to Eterna, who revived the earliest known alarm wristwatch in 1908, also through time, other companies tried to enter the game with varying degrees of success, before at last Vulcain started making the Cricket at 1947, which can be quite loud and readily capable of awakening a solid sleeper. (Breguet got round the problem of making a mobile alarm sufficiently loud having an alarm ring-watch, number 4952, that was bought by Comte Charles de L’Espine of France in 1830; this ring-watch worked by pricking the owner’s finger with a tiny needle in the appointed moment, which sounds both effective and anxiety-provoking; the idea, for obvious reasons, has not yet been imitated.) The first Memovox, with a hand-wound movement, appeared in 1950 and while it does not make a particularly loud sound on the wrist, placed off the wrist, it is pretty darned loud.
|Location||United Kingdom, London|
|Price||£5,250 (= $7,150)|
|Case diameter||41.5 mm|
|Water resistance||10 ATM|
|Dial numerals||Arabic numerals|
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|This Jaeger-LeCoultre has undergone a thorough inspection of water resistance, accuracy, functionality and condition to determine the level of reconditioning required to meet our strict standards. It has also been referenced against technical documents and manufacturer records where available to ensure authenticity and a clean history. This is a pre-owned Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Memovox 1708170. It has a 41.5mm Steel case, a Black Quarter Arabic dial, a Steel bracelet, and is powered by an Automatic movement. The paperwork is dated 17 April 2004, making it 14 years. It originated in Singapore, and comes complete with box. It is also supplied with a comprehensive 12 month Watchfinder warranty.|