Cartier Memovox Cal.489 Alarm, 18ct, 1955


100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Restored, Serviced & Guaranteed

A Lightly Used And Well Cared For Example

Immaculate Cartier 18ct Solid Yellow Gold Case

Large Size 35mm Case, Excluding the JL Signed Crowns

Very High Grade JLC K489/1 Hand-Wound Memovox Movement

All In Absolute Top Grade, Original & Simply Stunning Condition

High-Quality Hardwood Presentation Box Included, as Shown

New Black Calf Skin Strap with Gold Plated Buckle

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

Sold 25th May '20
VGW Reference: C865
Price £5,950 Sold


Out of stock

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Cartier was founded in 1847 in Paris by the jeweller Louis-François Cartier, who later in 1899 handed it on to his three sons. They would establish the company internationally, not least by making the Cartier name a favourite among the crowned heads of Europe. Named “King of Jewellers, Jeweller of Kings”, the brand was quick to turn its attention to watches. Many have become modern-day icons, such as the Santos, first created in 1904.

In 1907, Cartier made a 15-year contract with Edmond Jaeger, later of Jaeger-LeCoultre, giving the firm exclusive rights to his output. Jaeger soon moved into Cartier’s premises so he could manufacture mechanisms for Cartier’s personalized watches. The early men’s wristwatches were all hand-made in France, with movements by Jaeger, Cartier Paris and the European Watch and Clock Co., all of whom manufactured complicated movements such as chronographs, minute repeaters, and digital wristwatches.

More famous classic Cartier wristwatch designs followed, such as the Tortue (1912) and the Tank (1919). These were followed by more noteworthy creations, including the Pasha, the Santos 100, the Ballon Bleu and the Calibre de Cartier. The Cartier family retained ownership of the firm until 1964. It is now part of the Richemont Group.

During the early twentieth century, any man wearing a wristwatch made a very daring statement as the classic pocket watch was considered the only timepiece a gentleman should carry. Cartier were a major influence in persuading the Parisian aristocracy to accept the idea of wristwatches for men. The Santos was promoted to show that the adventurous gentleman was wearing a wristwatch in all elements of his life. The “Tank” wristwatch, introduced in 1917 during the First World War, was Cartier’s most famous model. Louis Cartier was inspired by the tough new war machine the Americans introduced to the fighting in Europe – the tank – to design a rugged, yet beautiful watch that became a classic.


A rare and beautiful 18ct classic vintage Cartier gentleman’s alarm watch. As mentioned in the introduction above, Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre have always held very close ties and during the 1950s, it presented to the market its own take on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox alarm. Such is the example we see here with a Cartier designed watch case and black dial and with an otherwise standard Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre K489/1 movement.

At 35mm, excluding the JL signed crowns, this a large-sized watch for the period. The watch is in beautiful, fully restored condition having just completed a full restoration by our team.

Cartier watches are, of course, very highly regarded for their design, elegance and sophistication making this the perfect watch for evening wear, any special occasion or with care, everyday use.

The Watch Dial

Simply stunning. Elegant and understated in black with gold ‘arrowhead’ hour indices matched by the original, restored ‘Dauphine’ hands.

The centre rotating disc carries the pointer for setting the alarm function which is set and wound using the upper crown, whereas the time is set and the watch is wound using the lower crown.

The dial is signed ‘Cartier’ with ‘Swiss’ at the very bottom of the dial.

A new original correct lens has been fitted as part of the watch restoration.

This is the original dial which has been restored to the very highest standards by the UK’s foremost dial restorers.

The Movement

Jaeger-LeCoultre has always been a major provider of movements to Cartier and indeed, as mentioned above, there was a time when Cartier held exclusive rights for all of Edmond Jaeger’s output.

This watch carries its original Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre K489/1, 17 Jewel hand-wound movement which is running perfectly. The alarm function is also working perfectly with quite a loud buzz which lasts for 15 seconds and which can also be felt on the wrist.

This watch has been fully overhauled and serviced by our vintage JLC specialist watchmaker and having had it on test on our electronic timegrapher to check the timing, it is running within +7 seconds per day when fully wound. This is outstanding for any watch of this age. The movement also has a power reserve of 40 hours when fully wound. It has been very well maintained and cared for, evidenced by the movement which is in sparkling condition.

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 and 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 out 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 it may be wound to around a quarter of its fully wound state. The movement on this watch is running and functioning perfectly. We therefore have no hesitation in offering this watch with 12 months’ warranty on the movement*.

The movement is signed ‘Jaeger-LeCoultre’, ‘Swiss’, and carries the calibre number K489/1 and the serial number 1,083,108 which dates this watch to 1955.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.

The Watch Case

The heavy, 18ct yellow gold watch case measures 35mm, excluding the correct twin JL signed crowns. The case was designed by Cartier and carries the Cartier serial number 12760 on one of the lugs. It was produced for Cartier in Switzerland by LeCoultre and carries Geneva Swiss 18ct hallmarks, along with the external case serial number 674257A. The design of the case is beautiful with a highly unusual reverse radius integral bezel and attractive sweeping elongated lugs.

The case is of a sturdy two-piece construction with a heavy case-back secured by a separate screw-down locating ring. The unusual bezel, along with the black dial makes this watch truly impressive on the wrist. It is perhaps the most ‘classy’ Memovox release from inception until the present day. The swept-back lugs and taper case-back, lift the watch slightly on the wrist, to help make the alarm a little louder. The screw-down case-back has never been engraved and is of full-thickness.

This watch has been extremely well cared for and after cleaning and close inspection 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.

Please note – although this watch was specified as waterproof when new, and even though the rubber seals have been replaced on the crowns and case-back, this has not been tested and it is not guaranteed. As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Strap & Buckle

The watch has been fitted with a black calf skin strap and gold plated buckle. We think this matches very nicely with the yellow 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 we can obtain most types and colours from our partners at ‘Watch Obsession’ within 48hrs.

The Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with this watch, all the numbers and markings on the watch are correct, dating the watch to 1955.

Our detailed Particulars document will be included in the sale, along with our detailed receipt and 12 months warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale, along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If at any time, 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 high quality hardwood presentation box shown in the photographs is included in the sale.

In Conclusion

A rare Cartier Alarm with a superb Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox movement, in mint condition. This is a completely reliable and practical watch to wear as your everyday watch and it will make an excellent investment and heirloom piece, as well as be something to use, 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 would like to pay by UK cheque or by UK bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or 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 us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.

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!