Jaeger-LeCoultre’s legendary mechanical alarm watch, the Master Memovox, and its groundbreaking movement, Caliber 815, turn 60 years old in 2016. Marking the anniversary is a new, limited-edition timepiece available exclusively in Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques worldwide, the Master Memovox Boutique Edition.
The original Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox, the first alarm watch with a self-winding movement, debuted in 1956 and set the style for the many versions to follow: a double crown — one to wind the watch and set the time, the other to set the alarm — and a mobile alarm-time disk with a triangular indicator. The Master Memovox Boutique Edition, which is limited to 500 pieces, is a contemporary interpretation of one of that watch’s descendants, the 1970s-era Memovox Snowdrop. Its movement is the in-house automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 956, which has a 45-hour power reserve, a 28,800-vph frequency, and 23 jewels, and traces its lineage to its 1950s forebear, Caliber 815.
Its brushed and polished stainless steel case measures 40 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick. Like its 1970s predecessor, it is equipped with two crowns. The bottom crown is used to set the hour and minute hands and wind the watch’s mainspring. The top crown serves to quickly and easily set the watch’s alarm: set the crown to its neutral position, then turn it counterclockwise until the triangle indicator is pointing to the desired “wake-up” or “reminder” time on the movable inner disk. Turning this crown clockwise also sets the date, which is displayed in an aperture at 3 o’clock.
The retro-look dial has a grayish blue hue that hearkens back to that of the Snowdrop model. (Blue — a popular color option for many modern models — has long been a color associated with the Memovox collection.) The baton hands, another callback to the Snowdrop, are filled with luminescent coating and sweep around the railtrack minute circle on the rim of the sunray brushed inner disk, which also hosts the glow-in-the-dark triangle pointer for the alarm function. Another gray-blue railtrack minute circle surrounds the main dial, whose triple-faceted applied hour indices are also treated with luminescent material. The 12 o’clock hour is represented by an applied Jaeger-LeCoultre logo.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition has a solid, engraved caseback touting the watch as a limited edition and also bearing the “Master Control” designation in its center, which certifies that the watch has successfully undergone Jaeger-LeCoultre’s heralded 1,000-hour gauntlet of rigorous testing for functionality and reliability. The strap is made of a deep blue braided cotton called “Trieste,” with a black calfskin lining and light blue topstitching. Available in November at Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques worldwide, the watch retails for $11,700.