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Jaeger-LeCoultre - Horological Awakening

Jaeger-LeCoultre Horological Awakening

The alarm complication makes a welcome return in two new versions of the beloved Memovox from Jaeger-LeCoultre

We talk about rare complications, such as sonneries and ultra-accurate calendars, or automata watches that illustrate complex scenes on their dials. Surprisingly, one of the least commonly seen (the textbook definition of rarity, by the way) complications out there — the alarm function — is also one of the most practical. In terms of the horological hierarchy, it’s not even considered that prestigious. I can’t explain it. Is it because prestige must always be associated with a low quantum of practical utility? That’s just incredibly snobbish. Let’s instigate a movement — to start seeing the alarm function for the accomplished and relevant mechanism that it is. It shouldn’t be difficult; elevated appreciation is a natural response to something as beautiful as the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Master Control Memovox Timer © Jaeger-LeCoultre

The Memovox was first released by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1950, a manually-wound timepiece with two crowns to control the time-telling and alarm functions separately. Just six years later, they created the automatic cal. 815, greatly increasing the practical value of a complication conceived for everyday use. At this time, Jaeger-LeCoultre already had significant expertise and experience with sonnerie movements, having made chiming watches since 1870. Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre is the only watch manufacture that can count over 200 chiming watch calibres as part of its in-house watchmaking patrimony. In other words, if you’re looking for a company that knows what it’s doing when it comes to watches that make sound, look no further than Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Master Control Memovox Timer © Jaeger-LeCoultre

In 2020, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduces two new models of the Memovox as part of the Master Control collection. The Memovox Timer brings additional functionality to the alarm watch by instituting a countdown period — the alarm time can be set to a particular time, as in previous models, but now there is also the option to have the alarm go off after a certain number of hours. The Memovox Timer comes with a dial in shades of contrasting blue, reminiscent of popular vintage models such as the fan-favourite 1970s Memovox “Snowdrop” and Polaris II.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Master Control Memovox © Jaeger-LeCoultre

Paying homage to the original Memovox presented in 1950 at Basel, Jaeger-LeCoultre have reintroduced the Master Control Memovox model with a classic silver sunray dial, the alarm time indicated via the inner rotating dial. Both new models come in a diameter of 40mm, and an extremely versatile and comfortable case thickness of 12.39mm.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Calibre 956 © Jaeger-LeCoultre

Mechanically speaking, the most noteworthy aspect of the new Memovox models is their open casebacks. Previously, the alarm mechanism utilised a gong and resonator, which were fixed to the caseback for optimal sound transmission. As a result, the vast majority of Memovox timepieces incorporated a closed caseback. (The previous generation of alarm movements at Jaeger-LeCoultre included the manual-winding cal. 914, which was showcased in a Memovox with a sapphire caseback, but this was a rare exception.) For the first time, with the Master Control Memovox and the Master Control Memovox Timer, a Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic alarm movement is being paired with a transparent caseback. This necessitated a re-engineering the gong and striking mechanism, positioning the gong to the periphery of the movement and the striking direction of the hammer.

If your eyes were closed to the mechanical artistry of an alarm complication before, the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox models are telling you now — it’s time to wake up.

 

 

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Ever since the brand was established in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been enchanting lovers of beautiful objects. Its craftsmen and craftswomen, the guardians of the inventive spirit of company founder Antoine LeCoultre, pool their expertise to create collections that are as surprising as they are sophisticated: Reverso, Master, Rendez-Vous, Duomètre, Geophysic® and Atmos. This great brand continues to be inspired by its rich heritage and...

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