E855 Jaeger-Lecoultre Memovox Jumbo
The first Memovox (generally speaking, not counting the cal 489 …you consummate nerds) is one which tugs at the heartstrings more than most. You may have taken note, I have a fascination with mechanical alarms. But the Memovox (shorthand contraction of ‘the voice of memory’) is so much more. Although this pure white dial may not be quite as rare as the lapis lazuli or royal blue I’ve featured, I find it more beautiful. There’s an extremely elegance in this vintage dress alarm. One that I’m fighting myself hard not to buy.
The Memovox first debuted (yes) with the cal 489, a manually wound dress piece with similar dual crowns to what we see here. A few years later, the cal 815 was introduced. This new caliber made the Memovox the first automatically-wound alarm wristwatch. That said, it was a bumper-auto, not rotor-based. This is the caliber and generation of watch we see here. These earlier models often had two-tone dials, making this pure white a slightly (not definitely not very) rare find. The rest is familiar with dauphine hands and an empty triangle alarm arrow. This 37mm was called the jumbo in its era, today it’s what we call just right. The hands are slightly pointed down at their tips to follow the curvature of the outer dial track, one detail which I adore. The Memovox is no more and no less than a minimalist dress alarm, executed beautifully and appreciated by those who truly know watches. Moreover, it’s still a value.
This example sports case with full proportions. It even comes on its original Gay Frères bracelet. The dial is clean, sporting light patina commensurate with its age. The 815 movement is said to be running well, including alarm. Its tritium plots and handset have begun to degrade slightly, but the look is just right to my eye. I love a bit of honest lume. It comes as a naked watch from a well-regarded small retailer.
Find this E855 here from The Time Curator for 5900 USD.