Perhaps the most interesting and adventurous of all the major high-end watchmakers, founded in 1833 Jaeger-LeCoultre has had an incredibly inventive history, developing over 1,249 mechanical calibres, registering over 400 Patents and playing a tremendous role in the development of the industry as a whole. Whether it is the keyless watch, calibre 101, the iconic Reverso or the Memovox alarm, it would be difficult to imagine a historical account of watchmaking without the mention of Jaeger-LeCoultre. The company has always been a true ‘Manufacturer’ of the finest quality watch movements. This is unusual because more often than not, high-end brands such as Rolex, Patek Phillippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin would often buy in movements for particular needs. For example, in 1967 when Patek Phillippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin needed an ultra-thin automatic movement, it was to Jaeger-LeCoultre they turned, to produce one for them. Furthermore, the exquisite Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 920, is still in production and in use today by both Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.
The name Memovox is composed of the two Latin words ‘memo’ and ‘vox’ which respectively mean ‘remember’ and ‘voice’. By most accounts, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox came to the market 1950 with the hand wound Calibre 489 movement. The Calibre 489 was quite successful, but the company quickly began work on a successor which led to the introduction of the Calibre 814 in 1953 which was much improved for servicing and reliability. Jaeger-LeCoultre also introduced shock protection to these movements, resulting in the Parahoc-equipped Calibre P489 and the Parachoc or Kif-equipped P814 and K814.
This is a simply perfect, rare example of the 18ct Pink Gold vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox from 1963. This is a European model with straight teardrop lugs and with a JLC Calibre K814, 17 Jewel movement. At 35mm, excluding the two correct JLC signed winding crowns, this is one of the larger Memovox watches available at the time. This watch has its original dial which has been professionally cleaned, without any further restoration, to bring it back to the almost perfect condition you see here. Following some light restoration of the case and a full overhaul of the movement, this watch is now in extraordinarily good condition and running and functioning perfectly.
The Watch Case
18ct Pink Gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox are exceedingly rare as most were made in gold plate, or steel, with the rest yellow gold. The example you see here is absolutely beautiful, complete with its original matching pink gold, JL signed crowns, and attractive straight teardrop lugs.
The case has been very well cared for and has simply required some gentle and careful hand-polishing to bring it back to its almost ‘as new’ condition. It is in immaculate condition with no dings or scratches visible to the naked eye.
This is a high quality JLC Swiss made two-piece watch case. The press-fit case-back has never been engraved and is of full thickness. It is tight fitting and clicks back with a very satisfyingly firm ‘pop’. The inside of the case back carries Swiss 18ct hallmarks and the outside of the case-back is signed Memovox, with the case serial number 551633A.
Please note, as ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
This watch carries its original Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre K814, 17 Jewels hand-wound movement which is running and functioning perfectly. The alarm is wound and set with the crown at 2 o’clock. When the alarm sounds, it is perfectly loud enough to hear, without being too loud. One can also feel the alarm gently vibrating on the wrist. It will sound for 20 seconds, unless you wish to silence it immediately, by pulling the same crown at 2 o’clock. This is very convenient since the alarm has its own alarm spring, which takes quite a bit of winding from its fully unwound state. Of course, if you only want the alarm to sound for around 5 seconds and for it not to be so loud, then simply wind the alarm crown to a quarter of its fully wound state.
The K814 movement superseded the original K489 Memovox movement on which this is based. The K stands for the ‘Kif’ shock protection which was the system Jaeger used in this movement.
The watch movement has been fully overhauled and serviced by our vintage JLC specialist watchmaker and after having been on test on our electronic time-grapher, it is running within 15 seconds per day. This is excellent for any watch of this age. The movement also has a power reserve of 54 hours when fully wound. This movement has been very well maintained and cared for and is in sparkling condition. We therefore have no hesitation in offering our 12 month warranty on the movement of this watch*.
The movement is signed Jaeger-LeCoultre, Swiss, and carries the calibre number K814 and the serial number 155990, dating the watch to 1963.
*Please note, our 12 month warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The Watch Dial
The silver dial carries yellow gold ‘dagger’ hour indices matched by original ‘Dauphine’ hands. From certain angles, the centre disc appears slightly darker than the main dial, but this is simply the way it catches the light, giving the appearance of a two-tone dial. Jaeger has done an excellent job of keeping the dial very simple, considering the extra alarm function of the watch. We also think this elegant design in silver with simple gold hour indices works wonderfully against the pink gold case, elevating this Memovox to something quite special.
This is the original dial which has been professionally cleaned and is otherwise unrestored.
The Strap & Buckle
The watch has been fitted with a high quality Brown ‘Croc’ strap with a gold plated buckle. We think this contrasts very nicely with the pink gold case and the dial. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown and black in stock, in plain padded leather, crocodile skin or lizard skin and can obtain most types and colours of strap from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs. Please take a look at their huge range of 17mm straps if you wish, here.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1963. Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months Warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value will also be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
The hardwood presentation box as shown in the photographs is included in the sale.
This is a very special Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox in tip-top condition and even though it is over 50 years old, it is still completely fresh, reliable and practical to wear regularly or even as your everyday watch. However you may wish to look at it, this timepiece will make an excellent investment and heirloom piece, as well as be something to treasure and enjoy. As each year goes by and the world market for vintage gold watches grows ever larger, limited supply allied to high demand means prices will inevitably climb higher and higher!
A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very best quality watches we can find, before restoring these to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept Paypal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you choose to pay by UK bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Please contact us to reserve the watch and request our bank details.
Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note we welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will be happy to Service, Repair, or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions, please call our landline 020 7727 7095 or mobile 07515 949 250 or if calling from overseas our landline number is +44 207 727 7095 or mobile +44 7515 949 250.
We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting, we will also be very happy to hear from you. We await your call!
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine Vintage Gold Watches!