In 1950 the first Memovox model started Jaeger-LeCoultres history of mechanical watches equipped with an alarm. The Memovox Polaris model from 1968 has now inspired the Grande Maison for its Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris collection, which is derived from the looks of its predecessor in a variety of watches and functions.
During the years of economic recovery following the Second World War, the Memovox – also called the Voice of Memory– was designed to help businessmen remember their meetings through its chiming function.
The watch was known for its classic lines and an additional crown to control the alarm function. In 1953 this watch was chosen as a gift for Charlie Chaplin by the Swiss authorities of the Canton of Vaud, where the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture is located.
In 1956, Jaeger-LeCoultre developed the first automatic watch in the collection that incorporated an alarm function. Ever since then, many other models followed. Three years after its development, Jaeger-LeCoultre expanded its target group of the ‘Memovox’. The Grande Maison found out, that the business watch with automatic movement would also attract adventurers and sportspersons.
Memovox Worldtime and Memovox Parking
In 1958, to celebrate its 125th anniversary, the Grande Maison created two new models. The Memovox Worldtime shows the time across the world. The Memovox Parking monitors the parking meter and informs when the meter is out.
Memovox Deep Sea
In 1959, Jaeger-LeCoultre revealed its Memovox Deep Sea, equipped with the automatic Caliber 815. It was the world’s first diving watch that was equipped with an alarm. On this watch the alarm‘s purpose was to ensure the safety of divers.
Nine years later, the Memovox Polaris appeared, fitted with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 825. The idea for the Memovox Polaris came up in 1962, during deep sea exploration. At the time, the world was fascinated with all kinds of exploration, whether it was space, the sea, or the poles.
In 1963, a pre-series of 50 pieces was launched. The new case had a 42 mm diameter, quite sizable for the era, which made it easier to read the time.
Another development concerned the striking mechanism. The creators of the Memovox Polaris found a system that made it possible for the alarm to ring loudly under water. To prevent the chime from being muffled by the fact that the watch could be in contact with a diver’s wetsuit, a triple case-back was developed. A first case-back, in bronze, made the alarm resonate. A water-resistant case-back protected the mechanism from contact with water. Finally, a third case-back with 16 openings made it possible for the sound of the alarm to be heard properly under water.
Water-resistant to 200 meters, this Memovox was resistant to both shocks and magnetism. It was also equipped with a rotating bezel that was internal, controlled by a third crown.
In 1968, Jaeger-LeCoultre designed a new, more sporty dial for this watch. Its numerals and hour markers were transferred and coated with Tritium and redesigned in a trapezoid shape. The small triangle indicating the time of the alarm was also coated with Tritium. The hands were baton-shaped and also covered with luminescent material.
In 2018, fifty years on, this design has inspired the artisans of the Grande Maison in the creation of a new collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre MemovoxPolaris.
Memovox Polaris II
In 1971, a new version appeared: the Memovox Polaris II. Its Caliber 916 is part of the generation of high-frequency automatic movements developed by Jaeger-LeCoultre starting in 1970. It has a balance wheel beating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The winding system had a weight capable of turning freely in either direction around its axis to wind the barrel. This caliber, due to its efficieny, inspired the current Caliber 956 that powers the Master Compressor Memovox.
Master Control Memovox and Master Grande Memovox
In 1998, the Master Control Memovox was introduced. Driven by Caliber 914, this watch‘s performance and reliability were certified by one thousand hours of testing. Two years later came the Master Grande Memovox Caliber 909-440/2, equipped with a perpetual calendar, moon phase display, and a hanging gong replacing the customary resonance case-back of the classic ‘Memovox’ models.
Master Compressor Memovox
In 2002 the Master Compressor Memovox was launched, which counts as one of the most succesful ‘Memovox’ models.
Memovox Tribute to Polaris
In tribute to the history of the Memovox Polaris, Jaeger-LeCoultre presented two Memovox Tribute to Polaris limited series in 2008: the 1965 and the 1968 models.
These Memovox Tribute to Polaris watches remained loyal to the spirit and the aesthetic of their forerunners, but were also endowed with the latest Jaeger-LeCoultre technical innovations. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 956 houses a mechanism composed of a gong suspended from the case-back. Its oscillating weight is equipped with ceramic ball bearings requiring no lubrication and no maintenance.
The case is fitted with a water-resistant case-back maintaining its role as a resonance chamber. The external case-back features 16 round openings and keeps up with original aesthetic.
Master Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea
In 2011, the manufacture paid tribute to the first underwater watch with alarm function from 1959 (Memovox Deep Sea) with a limited series re-edition. Like the original, it comes in European and US versions. The European version is equipped with a 40.5 mm diameter steel case and powered by the automatic Memovox Caliber 956. It comes in a series of 959 pieces and its dial is black. The American version in a series of 359 pieces features a black gray dial bearing the LeCoultre signature.
Master Memovox Boutique Edition
In 2016, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its alarm watch with an automatic movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre marked the occasion with an exclusive limited edition model. Drawing inspiration from the 1970s Memovox Snowdrop model, this blue, vintage-style watch is presented with a very contemporary case and finishes while housing the Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 956.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox
In 2018, the Grande Maison launched its new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris line. Its design was inspired by the Memovox Polaris from 1968.
In this collection, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox adopts the look and alarm function of the original model, with a redesigned case. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1968 model and was available in a limited series of 1,000 pieces.