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The first time you hear a mechanical alarm will stick with you. For the generation that has only ever known the annoying buzz of an electric clock, the mechanical alarm seems wholly other-worldly - a lost sound of a lost era.
The Memovox was introduced in 1950 by Jaeger Lecoultre, and while these early models were entirely manually wound (the upper crown wound the spring for the alarm function while the lower crown wound the timekeeping mainspring), automatic models, released in 1959, quickly became the norm. The Memovox was the perfect mixture of innovation and style and by the early 1960s, the watch had become a mainstay in JLC's lineup. And while the mechanical alarm was used by scads of brands in an array of designs and executions, the Memovox from JLC is generally considered the benchmark of the model.
Operation of the alarm function is controlled through the top crown. Winding it (as you would a manual movement), charges a spring and holds it in tension until the alarm goes off. Pulling the same crown out allows you to rotate the inner dial, and align the triangle on the inner ring with the time at which you desire the alarm to activate. Once activated, simply pulling the top crown out will silence the alarm, allowing the user to set a new time (think: snooze).
JLC offered the Memovox in many expressions, many of which were small (34mm) gold-plated or solid gold options. While these offer an interesting twist on a typical dress watch, the rarer steel variants that weighed in at roughly 37mm are the most sought after today. These 'jumbo' Memovoxes are truly stunning and eternally wearable on the modern wrist.
This particular example features the desirable Cal. 825 automatic unit, offering the added complication of a date window at 3:00. Additionally, it comes with its original box, guarantee booklet and card with matching serial numbers showing a date of sale of March 4th, 1971.
It's not often that we come across jumbo Memovoxes. Even rarer are the days of finding them with their original box and papers. Combining equal parts wearability and collectibility, this vintage Memovox is one you won't want to miss.
For more information on vintage Memovoxes, check out Hodinkee's "Week On The Wrist" Feature HERE.
Stainless Steel Case is approximately 37mm (excluding crowns). Jaeger LeCoultre Caliber 825 Automatic Mechanical Alarm Movement. Circa 1970.
Overall Condition: The watch is in very good condition over all, with light wear marks consistent with age and use. The steel case shows no signs of polishing with case back numerals very crisp. Some light tool marks visible on the case back. Genuine JLC silver dial has taken on a lovely even patina with no spotting or staining. Inner alarm disc shows light patina but is in excellent matching condition. Silver baton handset is in equally beautiful condition with a light, even patina to the luminous material. Date disk printing is clear and crisp. 'JL'-signed crowns and case back.
Includes one 18mm Milanese bracelet with adjustable clasp.
Also includes original box, guarantee booklet and guarantee card with matching serial numbers showing a date of sale of March 4th, 1971.