Sound is the theme for Jaeger-LeCoultre this year, and what better way to express that than through the definitive striking alarm watch? The Memovox, which also turns 70 this year, is back as part of the retro-elegant Master Control collection, with a couple of new twists as in the 250-piece limited Master Control Memovox Timer (RM66,000).
Presented in the new 40 mm stainless steel Master Control case, the Memovox Timer is a seamless part of the contemporary Jaeger-LeCoultre aesthetic – a dial of sunray-brushed, cool blues offset by sharp dauphine hands and triangular markers, a bordered date window, and an Art Deco-invoking central indicator for the new countdown timer function. This new complication is elegant in its simplicity: the arrow pointer sets the alarm to go off at a specific time, and the entire disc in the middle turns with it. At the same time, the reverse end of the hour hand doubles as a red indicator that denotes the time left before the alarm goes off. The two methods of setting – by time and by countdown – thus work together, allowing the user to choose either or both with which to set the alarm.
Calibre 956 within is a revised version that is deployed across the maison’s line-up of alarm watches. For the first time, the Memovox now has a display caseback – allowing the viewing of the striking mechanism in action, as well as the new openworked pink gold rotor – as the gong is now anchored to the side of the case instead. The vintage, ‘school-bell’ tone of the mechanism has, however, been quite deliberately preserved.
This new timepiece may exude an effortless, relaxed refinement that is firmly 21st century, but it does not feel like that much has changed in the decades since its first release – and that is a good thing.