Finds Vintage

Value Prop: Early Manual-Wind Jaeger-Lecoultre Memovox


There is something undeniably charming about a watch with a voice. Of all complications, a simple alarm is often most practical. Sure, your iphone times things. But when your watch can do it too, you will find yourself setting a reminder on your wrist for sheer novelty. JLC’s Memovox is a model with such depth and breadth that it covers the entire gamut: from auction-darling E857 Deep Sea Alarm to the more charming and lesser collected early iterations like this calibre 814.


The Memovox was introduced with the calibre 489 in small quantities. After just a year of production, it was updated to this also manually-wound, more robust, and easy to manufacture calibre 814 with manual alarm which would stay in production nearly a decade. A variety of dial and case styles have been observed in this era. This example sports a 35mm steel affair with a champagne dial. Quite unique, this dial sports pink gold arrow indices with an elongated dauphine handset, a very classic look.

Collectability varies hugely with each style of production, and many are not yet catalogued. This era of Memovox is a dream for its relative accessibility, beauty, and mild complication. For whatever reason (likely just the relatively large volumes which were produced), this beautiful watch from la grande maison is not yet what the kids call ‘hyped’. Let’s hope it stays that way for the sake of those who just love great watches.


This example sports a full case with lugs that have an uncommon gentle twist. The dial was likely silver originally, but sports a deep champagne tone. Print applications are all still visible, and the tiny tritium (radium?) pips are all present. It comes as a naked watch from a well-regarded Japanese retailer.

Find this calibre 814 Memovox here from Special Dial for ~2800 USD.

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