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The Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox, released in 1950, was the first wrist alarm that the manufacture ever released. With a name signifying “the voice of memory” (Latin memo, for memory, and vox, for voice), the Memovox heralded a new era, and its innovative case design revolutionized the watch industry. But the name also hearkened back to two centuries of history—and memories—that made the maison what it was… and still is.
When Antoine LeCoultre opened his shop in Le Sentier in 1833, the LeCoultres had been in that sleepy village in the Vallée de Joux for over two centuries. Over time, the LeCoultres had become integral to the community that sprung up around them. In fact, the rhythm of village life in Le Sentier was set by the tolling of the bells in the church that Antoine LeCoultre’s ancestors had built.
The maison that LeCoultre and his son, Elie, established soon drew hundreds of skilled workers to ply their crafts under one roof. At a time when the watch industry was fragmented, with production of various watch parts taking place in separate manufactures, the LeCoultres’ methods were nothing short of revolutionary. When the 20th century dawned, the maison was able to produce over 350 calibres, including many for Patek Philippe.
In 1903, the maison entered into a relationship with a Parisian watchmaker named Edmond Jaeger, with whom LeCoultre would be inexorably linked. Early joint efforts included the thinnest pocket watch in the world, which used the LeCoultre calibre 145. The partnership would continue to bear fruit throughout the 1920s and 1930s, with watches like the Duoplan and the Reverso solidifying the manufacture’s reputation throughout the world.
Ultimately, in 1937 the manufacture would become known as Jaeger-LeCoultre. However, due to restrictions in the U.S. under the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act, the watches that the manufacture imported into the U.S. were not known by that name. Watches were sent in pieces from Le Sentier to the U.S., where they were cased and sold under the name LeCoultre by a company called Vacheron-LeCoultre—in turn itself a subsidiary of Longines-Wittnauer, which also distributed Vacheron Constantin watches.
Which brings us to this Memovox. Jaeger-LeCoultre first began selling Memovoxes on the American market in 1951, as the presence of LeCoultre on the dial attests. Most of these watches were cased in steel or plated with gold, and were offered in a dizzying array of dial colors. While we’ve seen everything from your basic steel case and white dial, to this gold-plated case and rich oxblood dial, there’s undoubtedly something mesmerizing of the interplay of black and gold on this Memovox.
Moreover, the “HPG” on the dial stands for High Precision Guaranteed, indicating that this watch is powered by a high-beat Calibre 916 movement.
Coupling handsome looks with technical precision and an unimpeachable lineage, this Memovox is worthy of the name LeCoultre.
Gold case is approximately 36mm (excluding crowns). Calibre 916 Self-Winding Alarm Movement.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear consistent with age. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and some signs of age. Signed crowns.
Includes one 19mm black leather strap.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options