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Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer

Jaeger-LeCoultre has updated their Memovox with the new limited edition Master Control Memovox Timer and Master Control Memovox. These promise a new generation of alarm watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre.


The Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox was one of the most evocative watches of the 1950s and one which perfectly captured the ‘Mad Men’ businessman lifestyle. It was a watch which, though superlatively elegant, was a tool prepared to haul you out of bed or to your next meeting on time.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer
Photo: Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA

In recent memory, the Memovox has been a function rather than a collection. For example, it was offered as the Polaris Memovox in 2018 for the 50th anniversary of this original Memovox-based dive watch. However, the main body of recent Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox models have in the Master Control collection — a collection which has just received a stunning update.

Consequently, in its 70th year of existence, Jaeger-LeCoultre has released two new models which at once unify their collection and introduce a new complications: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Timer.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox: The Origins

Despite being one of the earliest, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox wasn’t the first alarm watch. That title has to go to the 1947 Vulcain Cricket: the watch which changed the meaning of a chiming watch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox vintage
Photo: Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA

Previously, alarms were stationary items conceived to rouse one from deep sleep or, in the form of a pocket watch, to remind one of a task. However, for the first four decades of its existence, the wristwatch was not seen as needing such a complication. This was, after all, already a timepiece always under your sight. What possible functionality could an alarm add?

Well, in a post-war time of business, industry and rampant capitalism, the idea of an elegant, sophisticated dress watch which could keep you on time was a superb proposition. It was, therefore, in 1950 that Jaeger-LeCoultre chose to join the party with their Memovox — the ‘voice of memory’.

Since then, there have been plenty of Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox and, latterly, Master Control Memovox models including the bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful blue boutique edition from 2016. However, with their new collection, a new chapter is opened.

New Calibre 956

Jaeger-LeCoultre 956
Photo: Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA

Introduced back in 2008, the calibre 956 at the heart of the new Master Control Memovox is a superb alarm movement with dual crowns and automatic winding. With a 45-hour power reserve and 23 jewels, it remains a conservative choice but has seen some improvements since inception.

Aside from the beautiful gold rotor, this movement is notable in that it doesn’t require a solid case back to amplify the alarm’s sound. This is largely due to the attachment of the gong to the inside of the case rather than the case back itself thus allowing an exhibition case back to provide a stunning view.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox
Photo: Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA

The most traditional of the pair of new watches is the Master Control Memovox — a showcase for the foundation of the new collection. Being a Master Control — a member of a collection updated with a very pure and elegant design earlier in the year — this watch has a rather beautiful stainless steel case with polished and brushed elements.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox
Photo: Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA

The diameter selected is a universally-enjoyed 40mm with a surprisingly slender profile of 12.39mm. Of course, the Memovox is intended to be an elegant but regularly usable dress watch and so the diameter of 40mm should balance comfort with legibility. Legibility is an interesting point for this Memovox as Jaeger-LeCoultre have included the modest luminescence of other Master Control models.

Of course, the heart of the Memovox is the dial and, with a silvered base and applied Arabic numerals at 12, 6 and 9, the design chosen in undeniably elegant. No doubt, this design will come as no surprise as the Memovox is, in essence, simply built on the existing Master Control. Even so, details stand out in, for instance, the dauphine hands and their line of brushing on the left-hand side.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer
Photo: Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA

The really exciting release isn’t, however, the standard watch but the 250-piece limited edition which is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer. Also powered by the calibre 956 (although in modified form), this watch adds a further complication in the form of the countdown timer function within the dial’s internal rotating disc. In the context of a watch designed for a busy businessman, the idea of being able to time a meeting in this way is undeniably appealing.

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer
Photo: Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre SA

Aside from this unique and no-doubt interesting complication, the appearance of this watch also radically changes the watch’s demeanour. Gone is the understated silver dial and in its place we are given intense sunburst blue accented by a series of lighter concentric bands. Most striking are the raised and matted Memovox logo and countdown ring.

Altogether, this is a stunning option of you liked the blue ‘Boutique Edition’ from 2016 but you desire a more advanced movement in a much rarer watch. Inevitably, it doesn’t come cheap, but you can be sure that the level of watchmaking and the possibility to enjoy it through the exhibition caseback.

A Noteworthy Release?

When Jaeger-LeCoultre updated the Master Control earlier in the year it was perhaps an inevitability that a new Memovox would make its appearance soon enough. Even so, I doubt that anybody would have predicted such a speedy release as well as the introduction of an altogether new combination of complications.

Whilst the price has risen somewhat, these are more refined watches than their predecessors and the new movements certainly show an advance. In this context, they make a very compelling case for themselves within the Jaeger-LeCoultre range.


Availability: Memovox: £10,300 / Memovox Timer: £13,900


Specifications

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

  • Dimensions: 40mm x 12.39mm
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Display: Brushed & polished dauphine hands with blue second hand / Applied metal hour markers / Silvered dial with rotating alarm disc / Luminous application on the hands and dial
  • Water Resistance: 50m / 165ft / 5 ATM
  • Movement: Cal. 956: Hours, minutes, seconds, date & alarm / Automatic & manual winding / 45-hour power reserve / 23 jewels / 28,800 vph, 4Hz, 8 ticks-per-second

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer

  • Dimensions: 40mm x 12.39mm
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Display: Brushed & polished dauphine hands and red-tipped JLC logo timer hand / Applied metal hour markers, timer inlay & Memovox logo / Sunburst blue dial with rotating alarm disc and light blue rings / Luminous application on the hands and dial
  • Water Resistance: 50m / 165ft / 5 ATM
  • Movement: Cal. 956: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, alarm & countdown timer / Automatic & manual winding / 45-hour power reserve / 23 jewels / 28,800 vph, 4Hz, 8 ticks-per-second

Take a look at our other articles about Jaeger-LeCoultre or head over to the JLC website for more

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