Icon is a term that is increasingly overused these days, often being thrown around haphazardly in reference to models which have little or no history and are certainly in no way iconic. There are some special exceptions though, those rare pieces that become the stuff of legend and transcend the realms of everyday watch-making. Often these collections and the brands they belong too are steeped in rich history going back decades, sometimes even in centuries.
The Memovox collection by Jaeger-LeCoultre is just such a member of this exclusive group, and really, it’s not hard to see why. Timeless good looks coupled with technical excellence well ahead of their time saw the Memovox series become an instant classic and the staple of many serious watch collections.
Those of you not familiar with the Memovox may not appreciate the significance of its technical achievements. You see, when it was first released back in 1950 it was powered by the first automatic movement in watchmaking history to be equipped with an alarm function: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 815.
Just take a moment to think about the mechanics involved in achieving that technical feat, especially at that time with the technology available. This is a very cool watch. Period.
Over the years JLC has continued to produce this legendary movement, with the Atelier’s engineers and watchmakers working tirelessly to improve and enhance it in order to meet the latest technological demands.
Aesthetically, the Memovox has been re-interpreted over the years through a number of different versions tailored to the trends of successive eras, in turn classic or sporty. Despite the modifications the model has always stayed true to its core design cues, thus contributing further to its ‘icon’ status.
This year Jaeger-LeCoultre is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the release of the first Memovox and in honour of this special occasion the brand has partnered with a major collector to offer fans a once in a lifetime chance to get up close and personal with some of the rarest and most highly sought after pieces from the last sixty years.
The exhibition will take place at Artcurial Auction House in Paris from November 24th to 28th, 2010 and feature a fabulous collection of 40 Memovox watches from the 1950s to the 1970s which have been acquired by said French collector over several years. Together, they will undoubtedly form the most complete collection ever presented to the public according to Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Special stand outs not to be missed at the exhibition include the first 1950 Memovox watch with “roller”-type lugs, the Memovox Parking (1958) and the famous Memovox Deep Sea (1959) and Polaris (1968). The public will also have the opportunity to admire several extremely rare models, such as the Memovox Snow Drop featuring a blue dial (197), Memovox models produced in extremely small series (up to 100), as well as a stunning 1967 model with a brown and red dial.
This exhibition will also give all collectors the chance to come and present their Jaeger-LeCoultre watches and clocks during the appraisal days held in preparation for the “Jaeger-LeCoultre Unique Auction” to be organised by Artcurial in Paris at the end of 2011.
The Final Word
For any serious collector or enthusiast able to get themselves to Paris at the end of November this is certainly not an exhibition to be missed. Not only will you have the chance to discover the rich history of this exceptionally unique collection, but also the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who share you special passion for beautiful timepieces.
For more information be sure to check out the official Jaeger-LeCoultre website: www.jaeger-lecoultre.com