Vintage Ads: The Series 2.0 "the Comeback" – 1960s LeCoultre Memovoxes

Aug 01, 2016,01:19 AM



Some of you may remember my series of posts a few years ago around different topics in old vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre ads…

For you who doesn’t or joined us later: in my collection of “watch accessories” I have more than 500 Jaeger-LeCoultre vintage ads, catalogues, booklets, pamphlets, etc. in original physical paper prints.

What I do is to select a topic to write about and gather documents that are relevant for the topic.

This summer I received back one of my very few LeCoultre Memovox from my watchmaker.

I had it for years but never showed it here since it needed some maintenance before it could go on the wrist.

Now it is back to its former glory!


Yes, you notice it’s a WorldTime dial with the cities written in a circle and not as rays from the centre.

Picked this one up in frustration over not finding the JLC ref 3160…


So for this “comeback” the topic is: 1960s LeCoultre Memovoxes!


One thing to know about the LeCoultre Memovox is that in the North America it when under a lot of different names.

Memovox, Memovox Alarm, Memodate, Beau Brummel, Beau Brummel Alarm, Wrist-alarm

There were even a Master Mariner Memovox version!

Another thing is the fact that in the North America, LeCoultre was sold as a division of Longines-Wittnauer.

Together with Vacheron & Constantin.

While they in Europe were promoted as Jaeger-LeCoultre and all the other brands were promoted by themselves, in America they all teamed up under one umbrella.


1961: Memovox Alarm, LeCoultre a division of Longines-Wittnauer.

Price $75 - $180.

The watch in the ad looks very similar to the ref 3041.

Most of the LeCoultre Memovox had manual movements.

Often Calibre 910 (no date) or Calibre 911 (with date).

Or like the ref 3041 housing Calibre 814.

Notice the “VXN” on the balance wheel arm? The importer stamp for the North America.

Two other details here to notice is 1) 17 Jewels. You often see 17 Jewels in Swiss watches sold in the US. Due to import laws, higher number of Jewels got higher tax. Same goes for the “Unadjusted”.

Manufactures did indeed adjust their movements before shipping them overseas, but if declared as unadjusted, taxes were lower.

This is why Chronometers at this point is much more expensive in the US than in Europe.

Next photo tells us another detail that most of the LeCoultre Memovox (and other Swiss watches for that matter have in common).

Cased and Times in U.S.A

Again due to import laws, it was cheaper for the Manufactures to only send the movements and once in America, case them in local manufactured cases.

This is one of the reasons Jaeger-LeCoultre and LeCoultre Memovoxes differ so much in appearance in the 1960s.

And yes, solid gold is not that common, most of the time cases are Gold filled, 9K, 10K, 14K…


OK, next ad… Or actually three versions of the same.


1962: Master Mariner Automatic Calendar Wrist-Alarm, Vacheron & Constantin – LeCoultre a division of Longines-Wittnauer.

Price $110. “The only alarm watch of its kind in the world”…

Not sure if they refer to alarm + date because other alarm watches existed in 1962…

The Vulcain Cricket among others.


1962: Another version of the same. Without calendar $10 dollar cheaper.

I don’t know how many different LeCoultre Memovox versions ever existed, but often you would find that each model existed with or without date.

Here is the third version of the same ad.


1963: Beau Brummel Alarm, LeCoultre, but in the bottom it is again Vacheron & Constantin – LeCoultre a division of Longines-Wittnauer.

Price $79.50 - $165.

Notice “the most complicated watch in the world”?

Minute repeater, chronograph, perpetual calendar, moon phase indicator. Price $10.000.

That must have been a fortune back then!

Never saw one from the 1960s… Can’t be that many around.


1965: Memovox and Memodate, LeCoultre. Not sure if LeCoultre now is separated from the other brands. Price $135 - $140

For these, there is a solid gold option, but only 14K.

“The Most Exceptional Watches and Clocks in All the World” – always so modest…!



1965: Memovox Alarm and Memodate, LeCoultre. Price $95 - $115

Here we even have a pocket watch version of the Memodate.


1969: Memovox, LeCoultre.

“His Engagement Ring”!

“… uncanny, fanatically dependable …”

“… Studiously observant of masculine ways …” (Hm, look at the left and in the middle…)

“… Bold, simple and without ostentation. Superiority. Dependability. Impressiveness …”

“… What more can you want when it comes to a man? …”

Yupp, they really knew how to boost a watch back then!


But in all this sales talk, there is one detail of interest: “over 45 LeCoultre Memovox models”.

Well, I know some about LeCoultre and Memovox, but I could not name half of all LeCoultre Memovox versions out there!


1969: Beau Brummel, LeCoultre.

Three versions of the “Beau Brummel”, notice the WorldTime.

But this one have the date at six o’clock.

Interesting to see similarities from different brands. Over time they all follow each other closer than we think.

Anybody else get a “DateJust” feeling of the one in the middle?


There were also pocket watches with the WorldTime dial.


And even letter knifes!


Some with integrated solid gold bracelet, Memovox Deluxe!


But as mentioned, most of them with gold filled cases.



OK, time for a one last ad.


1969: World-Time feature, LeCoultre.

Here the alarm is not even mentioned!

Don’t know if you noticed, but another detail that differs between JLC and LC Memovoxes is that on the alarm disk by the alarm arrow you have the word “Memovox” printed on the disk.

Only a few of all JLC Memovox have that written on the alarm disk (E 861, E 870, E 873 and E 874 that I know from the top of my head).

Or like in this case “Memodate”.

Now this WorldTime Memovox is a bit like the European E 855, more delicate.

Yes, the gold adds to that feeling but also the measurements.

With a diameter 35 mm it is 2 mm smaller and as you can see, thinner bezel and smaller crowns.

Lugs a bit more rounded and of course the World-Time feature on the alarm disk.

Inside this LeCoultre is the Calibre 911 and from the serial number I estimate that it is approximately from 1966-1967.

I think the best comparison would be towards the 3160, which also have a manual movement and the World-Time feature.

Do you see the detail which helps you see the difference between a JLC and LC WorldTime?

The alarm arrow on the LeCoultre is always on New York/Bangkok while the European is between London and Geneva.


Hope you enjoyed this Vintage Ads 2.0 post!

If time allows I will continue putting these Vintage Ads posts together.

Still have several hundred ads I haven’t shared here…




*** Disclaimer ***

I have excluded the LeCoultre Polaris due to its iconic status it deserves a separate post.


Here are some links to previous Vintage Ads posts:

Jaeger-LeCoultre: Historical Review. Where the unusual is commonplace – revisited

Sweden’s biggest order of JLC watches through history?!

Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #12 The Polaris / Concord ad – 1969 Class Reunion

Vintage Ads: The Series – Part #10 Early Memovox

From here you will find the rest…

More posts: 911DatejustMemovoxMemovox E 855Porsche

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Comments: view entire thread


Another cornerstone vintage article!

 By: crown comfort : August 1st, 2016-01:54
The Memovox International in steel...hmmmmmmmmm

Starting to get tempted by vintage JLC, eh...?! ;)

 By: blomman Mr Blue : August 1st, 2016-09:18
Thank you, my friend. Well, to tell you the truth - the 3160 is the most rare one I have come across so far in the vintage JLC! Much rarer than the Polaris, Deep Sea Alarm or Geophysic... Best Blomman

Very interesting article, Blomman. Congrats on your second ( Jaeger )Lecoultre WT!

 By: amanico : August 1st, 2016-02:12
Do you happen to know the ref number? Congratulations for this article, too. Best, Nicolas

Thank you, my friend!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : August 1st, 2016-09:19
At the moment, no. This one is difficult to open and my watchmaker didn't write it down... Best Blomman

Same for me! [nt]

 By: blomman Mr Blue : August 1st, 2016-09:24

You will always surprise me my friend, great article !

 By: Mike H : August 1st, 2016-02:42
Fantastic documentation ! And great watches too ! Congrats ! Mike

I do my best to surprice! ;)

 By: blomman Mr Blue : August 1st, 2016-09:21
These documents and the watches I had for many years, but never had the time to write until now... Thank you, my friend! Best Blomman

Wow, dear Blomman !.. Again such a seminal post, one to also bookmark.. Congrats to your 2nd 3160, what a jewel !.. Always..

 By: hs111 : August 1st, 2016-03:46
.. I am admirative about your Sherlock Holmesian search for traces, facts, & these corresponding great samples ! Your doc material is a real treasure & you thereby everytime teach us so nicely ! - Thx again for this educative share ! Best, hs

My pleasure, HS!

 By: blomman Mr Blue : August 1st, 2016-09:23
I do not know the reference on this LeCoultre WT, but it is not 3160. Yes, the Sherlock approach to vintage watches helps a lot! Thank you, my friend. Best Blomman