What do you get when you cross a legend with a healthy dose of blue-sky imagination? If you're "La Grande Maison" of Le Sentier, you get the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Memovox dive watch with mechanical alarm.
The 1959 Memovox Deepsea, 1965 Polaris, and 1968 Polaris dive watches are icons of Jaeger-LeCoultre, and the Master Compressor Memovox draws heavily on the last to inform its distinctive style.
Lead designer Magalie Metrailler, then in her early 30s, was asked to re-establish the dormant Jaeger-LeCoultre sports watch line at the turn of the 21st century. Having co-existed with sports watch specialists IWC in German firm VDO's watchmaking division, Jaeger had been forced out of the active lifestyle timepiece market since the late 1970s.
Metrailler consulted the company's golden-era dive models to revive the JLC sports watch and set the template for the Master Compressor Memovox. But the new submersible alarm watch was far more than the many insipid "tributes" that merely recapitulate past models. With the Polaris' numeral and index arrangement as its foundation, the Master Compressor adds robust lugs, an asymmetrical alarm-setting sundial, a crown at 10 o'clock for the internal rotating dive bezel, and broad "trapeze" hands with ample lume.
Moreover, the Master "Compressor" Memovox added a new innovation to Jaeger-LeCoultre's massive catalog of originals: the "Compressor" crowns. Each of the winged crowns features a toroidal (donut-shaped) seal that is secured and released by a half-twist of the winged portion of the crown.
As a result, instant access to the time, date, winding, alarm-setting, and alarm-winding is possible without the fumbling and wrangling often required buy screw-down crowns. For good measure, the Compressor crown system reduces wear on the crown seals when compared to a screw-down unit, and it imparts a look that is totally unique.
Naturally, the heart and soul of every Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox is the alarm, and the caliber 918 automatic alarm movement in this model is electrifying. Introduced during the early 1980s and improved throughout the 1990s, the cal 918 features a ring that is bright, resonant, loud, and sustains for approximately 20 seconds when fully wound.
After experiencing the purity and volume of this Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox, all rival brands' alarm watches (including those costing tens of thousands more) seem to "rattle" rather than "ring."
With a water resistance rating of 100 meters when "locked tight," this Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Memovox is the ideal companion for staying on schedule during summer vacation months. And with an alarm that sounds like that cherished final school bell before summer vacation, you'll always have a reminder of good "times" on your wrist.
See this future classic Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Memovox in high-resolution images on www.thewatchbox.com Video and content by Tim Mosso