60th Anniversary

2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox. Reason to celebrate with the Master Memovox Boutique Edition, limited to 500 pieces only. These 500 pieces have a blue ‘rich’ dial with beautiful thick applied hour markers, inspired by their 1970s Memovox watches.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition

Jeager-LeCoultre Caliber 815

In 1956, JLC used the self-winding caliber 815 to power the Memovox watches of that time. This new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition is equipped with JLC caliber 956, a direct descendent of the original caliber 815. This movement requires two crows, as you can see. One to set and correct time, the other crown to wind the spring that powers the alarm function, and of course to set the alarm (in the second position). Turn the crown the other way, and you will be able to set the date, located at 3 o’clock. JLC caliber 956 movement is decorated by hand, yet invisible for the wearer. The caseback of the watch is stainless steel and has beautiful engravings, but it doesn’t reveal the movement. The movement consists of 268 parts, has a power reserve of 45 hours and ticks at 28,800 vph.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Edition

Jeager-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition

As written above, the Master Memovox Boutique Edition is limited to 500 pieces only. Which doesn’t seem to be much, so it will be an exclusive Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. As the name suggests, the Boutique Edition will be only available in one of their approximately 90 Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques world wide. I would even say it is a bit of a pity that it is limited to 500 pieces only, or limited to boutiques only. It is a very attractive version of the Memovox, that will probably attract a younger clientele than the regular version of the watch.

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition

Blue Sunburst Dial

I was able to try the regular Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox reference 1418430 for a while (more soon), and the main difference is the dial. Where the normal version (click here), has a silvered Sunray brushed dial and silver colored dauphin hands, this boutique edition has a beautiful blue dial. Inspired by the 1970s Snowdrop model, as pictured below.

jaegerlecoultremastermemovoxblue-01385

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition has the same dial lay-out. Two tones of blue, with an outer minute ring and centre ‘Memovox’ dial in the same light blue color, and a dark blue tone with the applied hour markers, date aperture and Jaeger-LeCoultre logo. Instead of the dauphin hands of the regular version, Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to go with the wide 1970s set of hands, as used on the original Snowdrop model.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition

One of the other things that it is different about this Boutique Edition compared to the regular version, is the strap. This blue dialed version comes with a calfskin strap in Trieste black with blue topstitching. A very comfortable and sporty strap, compared to the somewhat stiff alligator strap of the normal reference, as I experience it.

Some Thoughts, Price And Availability

This 40mm Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition is by no means a small watch. Not due to the diameter, but mainly due to the thick case (14.06mm). Personally, I find the case to be a bit too thick. Not as refined as it could have been done. As I was told, the case is not necessarily this thick due to the alarm function, but merely by design.

Commercially, it is probably very wise to create a limited edition (of 500 pieces). These watches aren’t numbered though, but – like many Richemont watches seem to use – it only mentions it is limited to 500 pieces. I’ve been told that this is done to prevent people from being turned away because their favorite number wasn’t available. In the worst case scenario, it is done to create more (but probably) less editions of a watch. But let’s assume that it is done to prevent people from being disappointed.

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Price

The retail price of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Memovox Boutique Edition is €10.900 ,-, including taxes. The regular version is €9.600,-, with an alligator strap. The difference of €1300,- is something that can mainly be allocated to the dial. I am not exactly sure, where this €1300,- comes from. It seems a bit too much for the difference in dials alone, but perhaps it is the premium that needs to be paid for a limited edition. Fact is that I do like this Boutique Edition quite a lot, I prefer it over the regular version to be honest. The dial makes this watch a bit more versatile and also suited for more ‘casual’ wear.

More information via Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • EdipisReks

    I would love this, if it weren’t so thick.

  • Clavi

    While the result looks nice, there is absolutely no logic in creating a tribute to a 1956 no date / dress watch with a 1970s inspired dial from a sporty watch with a date.
    Total nonsense for a watch afficionado (but they probably aren’t the target market).
    I see this as poor creativity, easy marketing route (take whatever case / movement are available at the time, stick a vintage inspired dial from an unrelated era, and you are done with a ‘limited edition’).
    Again, the watch will certainly sell well, and there hasn’t been much on the memovox front lately, but this is very disappointing and a disrespect to the memovox history IMHO

  • Clavi

    My fears were right. They took the 1970s snowdrop unique looking dial and pasted it into a classic looking case (and made it blue…)

    While the result seems nice, the logic of it is very wrong IMHO.

    As a manufacture designer, you either do a reedition (/ tribute if you want to update minor things), or be creative and design something new.

    Mix-matching elements from different watches from different eras just looks poor creativity / easy new product, while it ruins the chances for a potential reedition in the future.

    The watch will probably sell well, because inherently both the case and the dial look nice, and work together. But the approach is rather poor.

    (and a color change is not what I call creativity)

    Also, celebrating 60 years of the automatic memovox movement cal 815 (born 1956, without a date, in the reference E853), with a 1970s inspired watch with a date (cal 916, in ref E877) does not make any sense.

    And while we are at it, I think it is very ironic that the manufacture forgot the important anniversaries of the memovox (1999 for the 50th birthday ‘jubilee’ of the memovox : did you see it mentionned anywhere ? or a minor 60th anniversary in 2009-2010: did you see anything again?) while they will now release a watch for the 60th anniversary of the second generation movement cal 815… (again, with a watch totally unrelated).

    For a tribute to have made any sense for this 60th birthday of the calibre 815, a no-date classic memovox would have been the logical choice for a boutique edition (there hasn’t been any no-date classic memovox for quite a while if you omit the TT DSA which isn’t a dress watch).

    It seems that JLC is alternating between good tributes to its past (Polaris, DSA, Reverso 1931), and less inspired onesones (Geophysic, Memovox international, and now this….)

    Why the need to change or mismatch visual elements when you want to pay hommage to a great watch from the past ??