Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Speedbeat
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Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Speedbeat

In making the Memovox, Jaeger-LeCoultre truly outdid itself. True, alarm wristwatches had been made before, by Vulcain most prominently. But it’s the Memovox that has gone down as a classic of post-war watchmaking.

It was the perfect mixture of innovation and style. The round case with its twin crowns—one to set the movement and the other to wind the alarm—was distinctive. And it was with the dial that JLC experimented the most.

We’ve seen your standard silver or black, even silver with funky striations like a demented Easter egg. We’ve even seen a deep oxblood like the color of your favorite patent leather Oxfords. But never before have we ever seen… purple.

True, this might have been just the result of time and light and age. What must have originally been blue—as evinced by the outer chapter ring, a deep sapphire barely touched by the years—has, in the center, mellowed to a purple that Prince would have loved. On a purple strap, it’s just about the funkiest Memovox we’ve ever had in our shop.

But lest you think that this beauty only runs skin deep, the inside of the watch is just about as beautiful as the outside.

The calibre 916, contained in this watch, was introduced in 1969 and boasted a beat rate of 28,800. It was also the very first alarm watch to depart from the usual bumper with a free-rotating rotor. Like with the earlier alarm calibers, the alarm in the Calibre 916 was sounded by a hammer striking against a post on the case back. Unlike the previous calibers, the calibre 916 featured a hole in the center of the rotor that secured the post. The Calibre 916 improved an already-innovative model and was so successful that Girard-Perregaux used it in their Gyromatic alarm (ref. GP 080). 

Distinctive, well-constructed, innovative, this Memovox is a must-have for the collector who desires an alarm watch that differs from the norm. 

Details

SKU: AS02551

Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown). Reference E875. Calibre 916. Circa late 1960s/early 1970s.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with signs of moderate use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with patina throughout, and some light discoloration between 11:00 and 12:00. Signed crowns. Case back has some signs of use and wear but is in otherwise very good condition.

Includes one 18mm embossed purple strap.

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