RES­O­NANT RE­MINDER

When Jaeger-lecoul­tre cre­ated the Me­movox with built-in alarm in 1950, it gave birth to a watch that went on to be­come a clas­sic. Now there’s a new edi­tion of this his­tor­i­cal model.

WatchTime - - Ta­ble of Con­tents - By Jens Koch

| When Jaeger-lecoul­tre cre­ated the Me­movox with built-in alarm in 1950, it gave birth to a watch that went on to be­come a clas­sic. Now there’s a new edi­tion of this his­tor­i­cal model.

— RRRRRRRR-RING! e Me­movox’s alarm sounds like the ring­ing of an old tele­phone. e vol­ume isn’t ear­split­ting on the wrist, where it un­ob­tru­sively re­minds its wearer of an up­com­ing ap­point­ment. But when this watch is placed on a bed­side ta­ble, the table­top be­comes an ad­di­tional res­onat­ing body and the alarm rings loudly enough to sum­mon even the most som­no­lent sleepy­head from dream­land. An alarm ranks among the most prac­ti­cal horo­log­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions. And the Jaeger-lecoul­tre Me­movox, along with the Vul­cain Cricket, is one of the best-known mod­els with this au­di­ble fea­ture.

With a name that can be trans­lated as “the voice of mem­ory,” the Me­movox first rang in 1950. e col­lec­tion has un­der­gone nu­mer­ous ex­pan­sions over the years. For ex­am­ple, a model with time zones printed on its dial de­buted in 1958, fol­lowed by a vari­a­tion that re­minded its owner to grab a few quar­ters and run out to feed the park­ing me­ter.

e Me­movox’s suc­cess came quickly. Its wear­ers have in­cluded such celebri­ties as ac­tor and film direc­tor Char­lie Chap­lin. And the Me­movox Deep Sea made his­tory in 1959, when it pre­miered as both Jaeger-lecoul­tre’s first divers’ watch and the world’s first divers’ watch with a built-in alarm. e watch had an au­to­matic move­ment, which re­placed the for­merly hand-wound cal­iber. And its alarm re­minded a diver un­der­wa­ter that the time had come to be­gin as­cend­ing to­ward the sur­face.

For its next divers’ watch, which de­buted as the Po­laris Me­movox in 1965, Jaeger-lecoul­tre de­vel­oped a three­fold case­back to make the alarm more clearly heard un­der­wa­ter.

The Me­movox cel­e­brated the Swing­ing Six­ties with cases in a va­ri­ety of imag­i­na­tive shapes. e most com­pli­cated model with alarm pre­miered as the Mas­ter Grande Me­movox with per­pet­ual cal­en­dar and moon-phase dis­play in the year 2000. e com­pany un­veiled the Mas­ter Com­pres­sor Ex­treme W-alarm with world-time dis­play and an alarm that could be set to the near­est minute in 2007.

The clas­sic Me­movox is cur­rently avail­able in steel and in rose gold. Tri­an­gu­lar in­dexes and dauphine hands re­call their coun­ter­parts on the orig­i­nal ver­sion. A blue Me­movox is the new­est model, al­though its color, in­dexes and hands were in­spired by a ver­sion from the 1970s. is ver­sion is man­u­fac­tured in a lim­ited edi­tion of 500 watches, which can be pur­chased only in Jaeger-lecoul­tre’s bou­tiques and on the brand’s web­site.

Man­u­fac­ture Cal­iber 956 is re­spon­si­ble for the time dis­play, the date in­di­ca­tor and the alarm func­tion. e po­si­tion­ing of the au­di­ble com­po­nents is a high­light in this con­struc­tion. e au­to­matic-wind­ing ro­tor and the gong are es­sen­tially in each other’s way, but Jaeger-lecoul­tre solves this prob­lem by al­low­ing the gong to run along the in­side of the case­back. e alarm’s ham­mer strikes against a pin, which ex­tends from the cen­ter of the back, through the bear­ing of the wind­ing ro­tor and into the move­ment. e clever trick: e pin passes through a re­cess in the bear­ing of the wind­ing ro­tor on its way to­ward its ren­dezvous with the ham­mer. anks to the gong and the case­back as a res­onat­ing body, the Me­movox emits a ring­ing sound that’s both un­usu­ally mel­low and un­com­monly loud for a wrist­watch: RRRRRRRR-RING!

Above right: The Me­movox Deep Sea, which ar­rived in 1959, au­di­bly re­minded its wearer when it was time to be­gin as­cend­ing to­ward the wa­ter’s sur­face.

Above: Ver­sions with time zones on the dial fol­lowed in 1958.

Above left: The first Jaeger-lecoul­tre Me­movox pre­miered in 1950.

The man­u­fac­ture’s own au­to­matic Cal­iber 956 pow­ers the Me­movox.

The new­est ver­sion of the Mas­ter Me­movox with blue dial is avail­able as a Bou­tique Edi­tion in stain­less steel for $10,800.

The new Me­movox with blue dial was in­spired by this ver­sion from the 1970s.

Ac­tor and film direc­tor Char­lie Chap­lin, who moved to Switzer­land in 1952, owned this Me­movox.

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