LE COULTRE ‘POLARIS’ DIAL MEMOVOX
Within the name-sensitive collecting fraternity, the names, ‘Memovox’, and ‘Polaris’ is up at the top. It conjures up all the best of 1970s retro-cool. Today, every major collection has to have an example of the ‘Memovox’, and ideally they want the so-called ‘Polaris’ dial.
The idea of watches with alarms, wasn’t new, but Le Coultre took their designs further than others. With cutting edge 1970s designs, and spectacular dial variants, these watches have become a magnet for collectors.
Item description: A beautiful automatic Le Coultre ‘Memovox’ timepiece, dating from the 1970s. This using the scarce and sought after 916 movement. This distinctive timepiece features a very pleasing case design with a vertical ellipse window for the dial. Complementing the brushed stainless steel case, is a so-called ‘Polaris’ dial. The amazing dial in graduating dark blue through to lighter blue, nd then the same on the central alarm disc. The inside of the case-back with Le Coultre name, along with serial numbers. The watch has a pleasant stitched black leather strap, along with a non-branded stainless steel finished buckle.
Size: 42mm x 37mm
Condition report: Case in overall excellent condition with a nice polished finish remaining (free from major scratches or other damage). Dial original and with a beautiful aged patination. Movement clean and in functioning condition. The strap and buckle remaining in excellent condition. The timepiece has been opened, so it should not be used near moisture or water without being checked by a qualified watchmaker.
Background to Jaeger Le Coultre: Jaeger-LeCoultre was founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833, setting up a workshop in the village of Le Sentier. LeCoultre invented a machine to cut watch pinions from steel in 1833, and ten years later invented the world’s most precise measuring instrument of the time, the Millionometer. In 1847, LeCoultre had created a keyless system to rewind and set watches, and four years later was awarded a gold medal for his work on Timepiece Precision and Mechanization at the first Universal Exhibition in London.
By 1870, LeCoultre employed 500 people and was known as the “Grande Maison of the Vallée de Joux”, and by 1900, it had created over 350 different calibres, of which 128 were equipped with chronograph functions and 99 with repeater mechanisms. From 1902 and for the next 30 years, LeCoultre & Cie. produced most of the movement blanks for Patek Philippe of Geneva.
The company are particularly remembered for their Reverso watch, where the case is hinged allowing the dial to be hinged to the inside of the outer case, thus protecting it. The Reverso was liked by many sports personalities, and had a following in the world of Polo. Le Coultre are also remembered for their famous Atmos Clock, with its virtually perpetual movement.
Special notes: Jaeger Le Coultre developed the power reserve system for watches in 1948, bringing out their calibre 481 with PR in that same year. The watch was an instant success and was sold throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Put simply, the wearer could power up the watch by winding it, and at the same time could see how much power they had put into the watch via the small power reserve indicator set just below the 12.0 position. When the watch had no power left in it, the indicator would show red, thus showing the wearer the watch need winding. The launch of the Futurematic in 1951 was another world’s first. A watch without crown to wind the main spring. The so-called back-wind system was licensed out to various manufacturers. Even the elite firm, Patek Philippe, brought out their own version of Jaeger Le Coultre’s back-wind system.
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