Here in Sweden the summer have come to an end and the autumn is here… But I still have some watches from the Wooden Beam I like to share with you!
This time it is the Jaeger-LeCoultre reference E 873 Memovox Speed Beat GT and the Girard-Perregaux reference 9443 Gyromatic Alarm.
This year on the Wooden Beam I have been comparing watches that share some common points, like EPSA compressor cases.
So what do the Jaeger-LeCoultre E 873 Memovox and Girard-Perregaux 9443 Alarm have in common?
What can clearly be seen from their exteriors are that they are both from the Funky 70’s era – big, bold, oval/cushion shaped, colourful.
Left: Jaeger-LeCoultre E 873, right: Girard-Perregaux 9443
Both existed with several different dial versions and case materials.
Jaeger LeCoultre classified the E 873 as a “GT” – Grande Taille or Grande Turismo, still an ongoing debate… Grande Taille – large case: 38.5 x 46 mm or is it Grande Turismo…? You can read about it here.
Girard-Perregaux classified the 9443 as a “Gyromatic” referring to the automatic movement. Case size: 39.5 x 42.5 mm.
The big difference being the hidden vs. open lugs. While the E 873 completes the oval shape, the 9443 leaves the lugs open.
The rest of the case is also very similar in shape – bezel, crowns, screw-down case back, even hands are similar in shape!
Another difference is the polishing of the case – brushed vs. polished.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre have a classic Memovox dial, outer dial with the hour markers, minute track and alarm track. Date at 3 o’clock. Rotating Alarm dial in the centre.
Girard-Perregaux utilised the alarm in a different way, not using a central alarm dial.
To balance up the alarm window, the date is located at 6 o’clock, making the watch very symmetric around the Y-axis.
As already mentioned – both have similar screw-down case back. While the 9443 is rather anonymous, the E 873 tells boost the “GT” and the Speed Beat”!
Not only do they look similar, they share the same movement inside!
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 916, a.k.a. “Speed Beat” due to its higher beat – 28.800 vph/4 Hz. Previous Memovox Calibres were beating at 18.000 vph/2.5 Hz, hence the nickname “Speed Beat”.
One could say that this is yet another example of Jaeger-LeCoultre being “the watchmakers watchmaker“, but that would be a bit unfair…
This was in the early 1970’s – Quartz was considered the future!
Girard-Perregaux were one of the pioneers in the Quartz movement development, please visit the GP Chronicles for more information on this.
I would rather call this an exchange: so what happened was that Jager-LeCoultre received Quartz movements from the GP Calibre 350 family and in exchange Girard-Perregaux received the Alarm Calibre 916 and the Ultrathin Calibre 838.
Traces of this exchange can be seen in documents –
Here is a scan from the 1972 Girard-Perregaux Quartz catalogue:
And here is a scan from the 1975 Jaeger-LeCoultre Quartz catalogue: not even the date in the date window is changed…
I have not been able to find any notes that Girard-Perregaux made any alterations to the Calibre 916 other than the alarm and date display.
If you compare the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 916 vs. the Girard-Perregaux version, Calibre 080-351, only visible difference from the back is the text and the gilt ball bearing centre plate.
I have no production numbers of the E 873, but based on observations, it is most likely far less than most of the other Memovox in the E 870-series, the only one I suspect being produced in a even lower number would be the E 876.
The Girard-Perregaux 9443 was made in 350 pieces in stainless steel cases and 350 pieces with gold plated cases, 700 pieces in total. Again, visit GP Chronicle to see more examples of the 9443.
These T.W.O are hard to compare due to the different case colour but on the wrist, the feeling is very similar – that is why I wear them differently.
Steel on steel, white and blue – cold, perfect for on warm summer day…
Gold, yellow and grey on a brown leather strap – warm, perfect on chilly autumn day…
To read more about the different versions of the Jaeger-LeCoultre E 873 – click here.
I am still trying to identify the Girard-Perregaux references using the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 838, once I have I will report about it here.