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Nowadays we have our alarm on our phones. But how cool is to use the alarm of this Memovox watch as a timekeeper during a business meeting? Check out this attractive Jaeger-LeCoultre Speedbeat with its high beat movement and very nice much wanted JL Speedbeat caseback.
This is a great opportunity, for any and all vintage watch collectors, to step up to one of Jaeger LeCoultre's most iconic watches, the Memovox "Speed Beat" automatic from the Seventies, reference number E875.42, original in every detail, made of stainless steel, with untouched dial, and "JL" signed logo crowns!
The Jaeger LeCoultre Memovox E875.42, with automatic caliber 916 "Speedbeat", deserves its status as a vintage wristwatch icon. The "Speed Beat" had a great influence on the luxury watch market of its era, and was just as desirable half a century ago as it remains today, with only 7731 pieces ever.
This automatic gentleman’s Jaeger LeCoultre Memovox Alarm watch, with calendar function and famed in-house full-rotor automatic caliber 916, is very evocative of its era and an item that is extremely in vogue at the present time.
The Memovox "Speed Beat" were built between 1970-1981 in only 7731 pieces and are just irresistible in all their variety of watch cases: the E870 oval case with a rotating bezel, the E871 with a wide, rectangular case, the E872 with a rectangular case, the E873 with an oval case, the E874 and the E875 with a classic round case, the E876 with a pillow-shaped case and the Memovox Snowdrop E877 in a round monocoque build.
JLC Memovox watches from the 1960s come up quite often but it is difficult to get your hands on such nice condition. Produced in stainless steel, gold plated, 18K yellow gold, 18K pink gold cases, mostly with silvered dials, the model came with a large number of combinations.
This watch is exceptional beautiful, the 916 calibre movement looks original and is running beautifully, the case is stainless steel and its has a very nice siklver dial with lovely patina.
The brand Jaeger-LeCoultre
Find out what the mystique is all about... Jaeger-LeCoultre is the watchmaker of the watchmakers. But they produced a couple of iconic pieces such as the Reverso and the Memovox.
As you might know, Jaeger-LeCoultre is also known as The Watchmaker Of Watchmakers. In 1833, Mr LeCoultre was the very first to establish a factory in the Vallée de Joux, founded before many other high end watch brands like Patek (1839) and Audemars (1875). JLC ignited the Valley’s specialty for particularly high-end, complicated horology, and it wasn’t long before the valley became the epicenter of innovative Swiss watchmaking – the Silicon Valley of its day. Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are all neighbours, but Jaeger-LeCoultre remains the ultimate “Watch Valley” brand; the Watchmaker of Watchmakers.
Nowadays a lot of the Swiss watch companies pride themselves as being a Manufacture. So what actually is a Manufacture d'horlogerie (meaning "watchmaking manufacturer")?
It is a French language term of horology that has also been adopted in English language as a loanword. In horology, the term is usually encountered in its abbreviated form manufacture. This term is used when describing a wrist watch movement or watchworks fabricator which makes all or most of the parts required for its products in its own production facilities, as opposed to simply assembling watches using parts purchased from other firms.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is certainly one of the world’s most desirable watch brands, with current models being offered at phenomenal cost and its vintage output sought after worldwide by an army of fanatical devotees. Jaeger-LeCoultre movements are arguably the finest produced by any luxury Swiss manufacturer and are manufactured entirely “in house” at the company’s factory in the Vallee de Joux. Only a tiny handful of true “manufactures” exist ( this term being the correct one used to describe a brand that is capable of making every individual component part in its movements) and these firms are enormously revered within the industry. Even the majority of the most famous Swiss luxury marques do not actually build their own calibers from scratch, instead purchasing raw movements from one of the major Swiss “ebauche” suppliers and adding their own, in house, complication modules as required.
JLC has supplied calibers and components to all the brands. Mentioned above, and in the days when the snow still meant lockdown, the great and the good of Geneva’s ateliers, just 60km down the other side of the slopes, would have to pray they’d stocked up enough LeCoultre components to last the long winter.
While the company’s sense of aesthetic design was strong, the most compelling reason for anyone to buy a Jaeger LeCoultre has always been the beautiful “manufacture” movement inside it. This term is the correct one used within the Swiss watch industry to describe a movement that has been created entirely by the concern whose name it carries.
To the uninitiated, this may not seem worthy of comment, but in fact, it most certainly is. Very few of even the most famous of the prestigious horological houses were ever capable of completely autonomous movement production, and those that were, and are, inevitably have enormous credibility with purist enthusiasts.
When one buys a vintage Jaeger LeCoultre, every component in its movement has been manufactured by the company itself. There will be no outsourced parts inside it, and consequently, the quality control exerted over its construction and finishing will be second to none. In the eyes of many experienced collectors, Jaeger LeCoultre is very much the “watchmaker’s watch”.
History of the Memovox
The first alarm watch was actually designed and brought to market by the American watch company Vulcain. It was called the Cricket. When the Le Locle manufacture Vulcain invented the first distinctly audible wristalarm in 1947 and brought it to market, it excited attention with this world premiere. Back then the manufacture movement Cricket (Calibre Vulcain 120) used the natural resonance technique of the cricket: By installing a second caseback a resonance membrane was created, which for the first time mechanically generated a very loud and long lasting alarm sound. This led to the name of the watch: "Cricket".
The Vulcain Cricket was also known as "The President's Watch", because it was worn by many US Presidents - including Truman, Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Nixon - who appreciated it because of its useful additional complication.
In 1952, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced their first watch with a built in mechanical alarm function (they called these watches the “Wrist Alarm”., calibre 489). Jaeger LeCoultre was the first to offer this complication in a very luxurious, high cost package. Shortly thereafter, the company introduced the "Memovox" (a combination of the Latin "memo," or memory, and "vox," or voice) brand, and this has continued since then. The Memovox had an very interesting combination of innovation and design. As a collector one can start only collecting Jaeger-leCoultre Memovox watches. Since there are so many different variations in cases and dials as well as movements. You can choose such a lot cool watches. In stainless steel or in precious metals but also the dials are really nice. You have silver dials but also tuxedo dials and blueish dial and many other beautiful options you can choose.
From the innovation perspective Jaeger-LeCoultre choose for the Memovox to separate the power reserve for the timekeeping and alarm functions. The Memovox movements have always had a separate mainspring for the alarm. In hand-wound Memovox models, the alarm spring is wound using the upper (2:00) crown, which also sets the 12-hour alarm disc and activates the alarm.
In 1956, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced Calibre 815, an automatic alarm movement, in the world's first automatic alarm watch. Due to the fact that the alarm hammer hit a protuberance from the case back, these first movements were bumper type, only swinging about 110°. Like manual Memovox movements, a second barrel was used for the alarm function.
And in 1959, the Memovox Automatic (model E855) received a date display with the automatic caliber K825. This calibre was built in a quantity of about 45,000 over the course of ten years. This mechanical movement has 14 lines, is self-winding, manufactured and decorated by hand, beats 18’000 ticks per hour. It has 241 parts, 17 jewels, shock-absorbers, and approximately 50 hours power reserve, masse à buttes, unidirectional winding. The K825 was used in the models of the E855, the E859 (also referred to as Polaris, in two versions of 1965 and 1968), and the E861.
This specific Memovox contains the calibre 916, which was introduced in 1969 and boasted a beat rate of 28,800. JLC calibre 916, branded "Speed beat", is the same calibre used inside the Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris II, the AMVOX1, and today in the Master Compressor Memovox!
It was also the very first alarm watch to depart from the usual bumper with a free-rotating rotor. Like with the earlier alarm calibers, the alarm in the cal. 916 was sounded by a hammer striking against a post on the case back. Unlike the previous calibers, the calibre 916 featured a hole in the center of the rotor that secured the post. The cal. 916 improved an already-innovative model and was so successful that Girard-Perregaux used it in their Gyromatic alarm (ref. GP 080). JLC calibre 916, branded "Speed beat", is the same calibre used inside the Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris II, the AMVOX1, and today in the Master Compressor Memovox!
A huge milestone for Jaeger LeCoultre is the development of the fully bi-directional winding Memovox, resulting in the release of caliber 916. The 916 was a date version movement, branded "Speed beat", developed entirely in-house, which required a redesign of the alarm mechanism to allow the rotor to swing freely through 360 degrees. Released in 1969, in the eyes of many fans, the 916 is the most refined alarm movement ever produced by Jaeger LeCoultre and the ultimate development of the Memovox concept!
Calibres 916 replaced Calibres 815 and 825 in the Jaeger LeCoultre Memovox range and went out of production in 1978 with a total of only 7.731 watches produced with this calibre. It combined the classical theme of the 1950s Jaeger LeCoultre alarm movements, but modernised them in a technologically cutting edge package. It ran at 28,800 beats per hour, compared to the 18,000 beats of all previous calibers and is often called the "Speedbeat", for obvious reasons. This iconic movement developed into caliber 919, then caliber 918 —which was still used up to 2005 in the Master Compressor series.
Earlier automatic Memovox movements always housed a bumper mechanism due to the alarm hammer mechanism which, when activated hits a pin protruding from the inside of the back case cover. The bumper rotor swings back and forth without hitting the pin whereas a fully rotating rotor would hit it. This problem was ingeniously overcome with the 916 by the alarm pin located in the centre of the case cover passing through a hole in the centre of the rotor. Friction was reduced by mounting the rotor on ball bearings and it is very noticeable how the tiniest change of elevation will cause the rotor to spin on its central axis.
This Jumbo Memovox is a reminder that once upon a time, we may have used written agendas, recorded memoranda with a Dictaphone, written with fountain pens and sent messages overseas by cablegram, but there is a leisurely deliberateness about setting an alarm by hand, and waking up to its mechanical stridulations, that makes the Memovox E916 a more elegant alarm, for a more civilized age.
While Jaeger LeCoultre calibre 916 is inherently very robust, it will become troublesome if starved of lubrication and allowed to wear prematurely. The quality standard to which these vintage Jaeger LeCoultre movements were made was so high that provided they receive replacement lubrication every three or four years and are kept away from water, they have the potential to run almost infinitely.
All Memovox series movements operate in exactly the same way. The upper crown winds and sets the alarm function, entirely independently of the standard timekeeping aspect of the watch, which is controlled by the lower crown. Though expensive to create, this separation had the great benefit of increased accuracy. On many previous alarm watches, by various concerns, when the alarm rung out, it immediately placed an excessive load on the power supply to the rest of the movement, causing its beat rate to fractionally slow.
This particular Jaeger-LeCoultre has been checked by our watch maker. This Jaeger LeCoultre Memovox watch with refrence E875.42, and with high frequency "Speed Beat" automatic calibre 916, has been fully inspected and serviced in-house this month. The watch is running and keeping good time. All watches are checked by our certified watchmaker, this ensures they are serviced and timed with the utmost care and attention to detail. We also run a strict history and authenticity check of every watch we put for sale.
This watch winds and sets smoothly and the alarm gives a nice and loud and gives crisp sound. The movement is inlaid in gold to make it more legible, the signature “Jaeger LeCoultre Co, SWISS” is stated on the rotor, with the calibre number 916 stamped next to the regulator. There is also the individual serial number 2,160,791, this clearly identifies this unit as having been manufactured in 1970. No part of this movement has been changed since new and in every respect it is entirely original
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase. Please check our website to have a look at the high resolution pictures on a macro level. You will see every detail at its best.