One of those watches every watch fan has probably heard about is the Memovox from Jaeger-LeCoultre. That brand with it’s hard to pronounce name is the home of some great and iconic watches. And the Memovox is definitely one of them which has been around for almost 70 years now.
Following the creation of alarm watches created by other brands, Jaeger-LeCoultre created the Memovox line back in 1950. Equipped with a mechanical alarm it was advertised as the watch that reminds, notifies, and wakes up. And although the volume of the alarm may not be that loud on the wrist, it sure is enough to notify you at the right time and moment. And when it comes to waking you up the is an easy trick to crack up the volume. When placing your Memovox on a table top it helps to strengthen the sound by resonance.
Ever since the first Memovox these watches came in several configurations using different case materials and dial designs. However the characteristic dual crown design has always been part of the Memovox. Where the traditional crown for the setting and winding the watch movement is located on the lower side of the case at 4 o’clock. The crown which is used to operate the alarm function is located at 2 0’clock.
Celebrity fact: In 1953 famous artist, actor, film director and comedian Charlie Chaplin received a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox from the Swiss authorities of the Canton of Vaud where the Jaeger‑LeCoultre Manufacture is located. They were honoured that Chaplin moved to their region that year.
Celebrating their 125th anniversary in 1958, Jaeger-LeCoultre presented two new models of the Memovox. Introducing the Memovox Worldtime which allows you to see the time across the globe at one sight. The other one was specifically designed to make sure your parking meter doesn’t expire, thus saving you a costly fine. On the Memovox Parking there is an added scale on the alarm disc which allows you to set it for short intervals.
Probably one of the most collectible watches in the Memovox line is the Memovox Deep Sea which was sold in limited numbers from 1959 onwards. It was the worlds first dive watch with an alarm function. Sold in the US with ‘LeCoultre” only on the dial while it sold with the full Jaeger-LeCoultre name in the rest of the world. Production numbers of around 950 pieces in total make it a rare and wanted watch for collectors. This watch featured the first automatic Memovox movement.
A few years later Jaeger made it’s next diving watch even better. The Memovox Polaris now had a triple caseback construction to make the alarm more audible under water.
For the ultimate complicated alarm watch created by Jaeger-LeCoultre we look at 1989 when they presented the Master Grand Réveil. This is where their matchmaking skills really come together. Apart from the alarm this watch features a perpetual calendar as well as a moon phase.
Almost 70 years later the Memovox is still in Jaeger’s collection today. The modern version is available in pink gold or in stainless steel with a striking blue dial as a boutique-only limited edition.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox comes with a very useful and unique complication that can only be found on a small selection of watches. Although a watch with a mechanical alarm might be a bit old-fashioned, you have to admit that it has its charm. Especially in the digital era it should give you a great smile when you get notified for an occasion or simply get woken up by your mechanical wrist watch.