Jaeger-LeCoultre made many different shapes of the Memovox in the end of 1960’s and beginning of 1970’s. One interesting point that most of these non-traditional cases have in common is the lack of or rather lugs integrated in the case shape.
In this week’s Friday report we will look at three Jaeger-LeCoultre oval shaped Memovox.
The time period: 1968 – 1972
During these four years Jaeger-LeCoultre released three Memovox with a perfect oval shape – E 861, E 870 and E 873. As far as I know, no other oval Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox exists. Possible some LeCoultre, but no other Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Style: Funky 70’s
The oval shape is clearly a part of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Funky 70’s Memovox – all Funky 70’s Memovox are very comfortable on the wrist, but I think the oval shape is the most comfortable and also the most elegant of all the shapes in a non-traditional way…
1) The first – E 861 Memovox
Released in 1968, the E 861 Memovox is the first of these oval shaped Memovox. Equipped with the older Calibre 825 Jaeger-LeCoultre kept the E 861 with the older movement in the catalogue until 1972 when it was replaced with another oval shaped Memovox…
E 861 Memovox, on the wooden beam:
E 861 is the only Memovox I can recall with a dial indicating 1/5 of a seconds. Maybe something you expect to see on a chronograph, but maybe not on an alarm watch?
But it’s logical that it was on a Calibre 825 watch and not on a Calibre 916 watch… Calibre 825 “ticks” 5 per seconds while the Calibre 916 “ticks” 8 times per seconds. So indication of 1/5 is more logical for the Calibre 825!
Please read my report on the E 861 for more details about this watch: Jaeger-LeCoultre E 861 Memovox
2) The second – E 870 Memovox “Polaris II”
Most likely, the E 870 was planned to be released in 1971, but by some reason Jaeger-LeCoultre changed their mind and released it in 1970.
The E 870 were released both as Jaeger-LeCoultre (European market) and LeCoultre (U.S. market). The two versions had different dials, the JLC version had the “GT” (read more about it in my E 861 report), while the LC version had the HPG, High Precision Guarantee. Not sure why this difference, but the HPG was used on several LeCoultre Memovox but nothing I observed on a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox.
The E 870 differ a bit from the other two oval shaped Memovox, all three were considered water-resistant, but the E 870 as a divers watch – waterproof down to 200 m/20 ATM.
LeCoultre E 870 Memovox, on the wooden beam:
Looking at a scan from the 1970 Basel Watch Fair, the E 870 is not included, but the E 871 and E 872 are…
Even if the E 870 is not included in the Basel Watch Fair scan, it is in the Jaeger-LeCoultre 1970 Memovox catalogue. Notice that there is no mentioning of “Polaris II” but “Prototype” is stated!
What is interesting is that in my German version of this catalogue someone crossed over the “Prototype” in the catalogue, not me – I found it this way.
Notice the cupola crowns? Most likely a detail that got changed from the prototype to the final version.
In the 1971 Basel Watch Fair the E 870 is present, notice the flatter crowns which is what we normally see on the E 870.
All this put together makes me think that the E 870 was planned to be released in 1971, but by some reason Jaeger-LeCoultre changed their mind and released it in 1970.
1) The third – E 873 Memovox
My belief is that the E 873 was introduced in 1972. I base this on the facts that:
A) after 1971 the E 861 disappear from all documents I have.
B) First and only year I found the E 873 in documents is 1972.
C) It would be logical to discontinue the oval shaped Memovox with the old movement once you have another oval shaped Memovox with the new movement.
E 873 Memovox, on the wooden beam:
In this scan from the 1972 Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox catalogue you see the blue/orange dial version.
Please read my report on the E 873 for more details about this watch: Jaeger-LeCoultre E 873 Memovox – line up
Three oval shaped Memovox, such a unusual and cool case shape!
On the wooden beam, from left to right: E 861, E 873 and E 870.
A BIG thank you goes out to @jaegerlecoultre_aficionado for posting these stories on Instagram!