For one thing, you can’t set the alarm to a precise minute – and that could have been one added feature. Second, it is way too easy to accidentally adjust the date when setting the alarm by simply turning the crown in the wrong direction. Third, there could be a power reserve or “fully wound” indicator for the alarm’s spring on the dial that allows you to know when it’s fully wound. Otherwise, you don’t know and just compulsively keep winding it. It would have also been nice to make a system that allows you to more comfortably wind the alarm and set it while the watch is on your wrist.

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A few years ago, the Jaeger-LeCoultre I know would have done all of this and more making the new Master Memovox a baby version of the Extreme Lab 2. Of course, all of this engineering might have increased the cost, but I think for the right product it would have been worth it, and it isn’t as though the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox is bargain-priced. It isn’t that the Master Memovox is anything but a really nice timepiece, but its mechanism and operation are primitive compared to what I know a company like Jaeger-LeCoultre can easily achieve with their in-house engineering muscle. This is the company that still makes Gyrotourbillons, mind you – a modern mechanical alarm movement should be a piece of cake.

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As such, the in-house caliber 956 automatic movement operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a power reserve of 45 hours. The time-telling part of the movement is likely distinct from the alarm system which is probably modular in form.

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Visually, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox is exactly what it claims to be, a refined and elegant retro-style sports watch with a clean, sober dial that has just the right amount of shine and gleam to it. The original Memovox design was a bit ahead of its time, so the dial design here has elements which continued to be popular into the 1970s. I think given the sports watch theme most people will like the angular applied hour markers and relatively matching hands (they could have been just a tad bit thicker to match the size of the hour markers). Note the tips of the seconds and minute hands which are bent down toward the dial – a nice, also retro-inspired touch.

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Attached to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox watch is a “calfskin in Trieste” strap which has the visual look of canvas or fabric. It wears rather comfortably (if not stiffly at first) and is attached to a matching steel deployant clasp.

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Sheer aesthetic and nostalgic appeal will help Jaeger-LeCoultre sell enough of its new Master Memovox watches. I further understand that in this unstable market it might have not been worth Jaeger-LeCoultre’s investment of time and resources to re-invent the Memovox with a fancy new movement. However, if the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox is at least somewhat successful, I do hope that they recognize the relatively large hole in the market for a modern alarm-equipped sports watch that needs the type of engineering and design refinement very few other brands can apply. It’s a genuinely useful complication that, if made convenient enough, would find more than enough utility as a reminder function in the daily lives of many people. Really, that’s the goal – to include functionality into traditional mechanical watches that people still want to use on a daily basis.


The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition is the reference Q141848J and is part of a limited edition of 500 pieces. Price is US$11,700. jaeger-lecoultre.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: Jaeger-LeCoultre
>Model: Master Memovox Boutique Edition
>Price: US$11,700
>Size: 40mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Fan of the original Memovox design and functionality who cannot or will not purchase a vintage one.
>Best characteristic of watch: A genuinely “pretty” vintage-style men’s watch with a useful complication that functions very much (perhaps too much) like the original Memovox watches from the past. Alarm sounds pleasant – all things considered – and the fit is comfortable.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Feels like a major missed opportunity for Jaeger-LeCoultre to demonstrate its ability to innovate mechanically and improve upon its own past.

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