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Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox E855 Vintage Luxury Watch Review

http://www.thewatchbox.com The Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Reference E855 is the player that built the JLC alarm watch franchise. Today, collectors covet the European market 18-K gold models (U.S. was 14-k and under), and dials co-signed by an upscale retailer peg the meter of desirability. Check and check: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox seen here embodies the best of the best. While the first caliber 489 "Wrist Alarm" of 1950 was a worthy response to alarm watch rival Vulcain, and the 1954 arrival of the automatic-winding caliber K814 was a breakthrough, it was the auto-winding and date-bearing caliber K825 of 1959 that appealed to legions practical consumers. And in the E855 model, the K825 found a face that won the *hearts* of watch buyers. At 37mm in 18-karat gold, this caliber K825 Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox is one that can hold its own with modern dress watches. If there was any obvious trend in evidence at SIHH and Baselworld 2015, it was the acceleration of the industry-wide retreat from outlandishly oversized dress models. While sports watches appear to be super-sized for good, new formal watches have gravitated back to the 37-39mm range, and not a moment too soon. But this 37mm Memovox never left the party. Its classic lines and elegant proportions are a picture of Kennedy-era sophistication. Like JFK himself, this JLC exudes quiet confidence and an air of refinement that commands admiration on visual impact along. With nary a line misplaced, this JLC Memovox could be the Platonic form of the "men's watch." And full Jaeger-LeCoultre signed models are comparatively rare. This European market Memovox features the high-sought "Jaeger-LeCoultre" signed dial, corresponding Euro-standard 18K gold purity, and matching "Jaeger-LeCoultre" signed K825 bumper automatic movement. From the 1930s until the late 1970s, U.S. import tariffs effectively prevented mid-priced watches such as the Memovox series from being sold as complete Swiss-made products in U.S. markets. In order to skirt ruinous surcharges, Jaeger-LeCoultre and many other Swiss watchmakers shipped complete movements, dials, and hands to U.S. subsidiaries as "knockdown kits." These assemblies of parts were installed in U.S.-manufactured cases built from 14-karat, 7-karat, "rolled" of "filled" gold, and gold-plated base metal. 18-karat (75% pure) gold was nearly unknown stateside. Moreover, U.S.-market JLCs were signed with the company's U.S. trademark, "LeCoultre." Not only is this not the "case" with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox E855 available from thewatchbox.com, but our example features a coveted piece of built-in provenance: a dial co-signed at six o'clock by the upscale Continental clock, watch, and jewelry vendor, Turler. Inside the case, Jaeger-LeCoultre's K825 keeps a charming 18,000 VpH beat. While anachronistic in its pace (the seconds hand visibly chugs around he dial), the K825 also boasts outstanding accuracy, and this example remains a stunning testament to the quality and precision of early 60s craft quality in Le Sentier. The K825 alarm caliber was produced from 1959 to 1969, and it is the exact same movement utilized in the legendary Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris dive watch. See this Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox reference E855 in outstanding condition via high-resolution images on www.thewatchbox.com Video and content by Tim Mosso.