This season, we have seen an influx in beautiful new timepieces from luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre, including relaunching their iconic Master Control collection. One of our favourite pieces of their new launches, and one in which we will highlight within this article is the Master Control Memovox.
Driven by a passion for innovation, together with deep respect for its watchmaking heritage, Jaeger-LeCoultre reinterprets the chiming complications that have been a defining part of its long history: the minute repeater and the Memovox alarm.
Despite being one of the most useful (and charming) of all complications, the alarm remains surprisingly rare in horology. In the 70 years since Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the first Memovox, it has become the reference in wristwatch alarms, appearing in timepieces designed for both urban lifestyles and underwater sports. The Memovox story dates back to the late 1940s.
As the post-war economy recovered, the world experienced a great burst of energy and inventiveness: technology gave rise to entire new industries, cities expanded, and the businessman-on-the-move personified the mood of optimism and confidence. Against this backdrop, Jaeger-LeCoultre harnessed its mastery of chiming mechanisms to develop an alarm watch – an immensely practical timepiece that seemed perfectly suited to the times.
While an alarm mechanism draws its inspiration from minute repeaters, its particular challenge is that the hammer must strike the gong multiple times at very high speed. A new generation with a transparent sapphire case-back. This year, to launch the new-generation Master Control Memovox, Jaeger-LeCoultre has taken inspiration from the first Memovox watches of the 1950s, giving it a contemporary style, while retaining the spirit of utility and charm that defined the originals.
The Master Control Memovox, brings clean-lined contemporary style to the classic alarm-plus-date model. There is a silvery sunray-brushed dial, and the applied indexes add refinement with their elongated triangular shape – a signature of mid-century Memovox models – is echoed by the Dauphine hands, and a blue seconds hand adds a subtle pop of colour to animate the silvery-white palette.
For this new generation of alarm watches, the Manufacture’s engineers have comprehensively revised the self-winding calibre 956. Previously, Memovox watches had a closed case-back, to which the gong was attached; however, the new Master Control case has a transparent sapphire back, allowing the wearer to enjoy watching the hammer in action. This demanded a complete redesign of the striking mechanism, with the gong now attached to the case side.
A new, open-worked pink gold rotor, decorated with Côtes de Genève to match the fine finishing on the movement plates, ensures an unobstructed view of the strike-works. One important element remains unchanged, however: the signature “school bell” sound of the alarm, which lends such charm to the Memovox.
You can find this beautiful piece, amongst others, at the newly redesigned Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique at the Watches Of Switzerland 155 Regent Street showroom. It is the first of its kind with its new look and feel, and includes an extensive range of timepieces as well as glimpses into the heritage of the brand. You can book in for a fully immersive experience with one of the boutiques experts through Watches of Switzerland.