A fine and rare stainless steel automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, alarm and date

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Jaeger-LeCoultre
    Year: 1970
    Reference No: E859
    Movement No: 2'030'579
    Case No: 1'253'196
    Model Name: Memovox Polaris
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. K825, 17 jewels, stamped VXN
    Bracelet/Strap: Rubber
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 42mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Jaeger-LeCoultre service certificate dated January 27, 1999, original rubber strap, polishing cloth and document holder. Furthermore delivered with Jaeger-LeCoultre Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1970.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Introduced in 1950, the Memovox soon became one of the most desirable and reliable alarm wristwatches on the market thanks also to its ease of operation: the central disc allows to set the alarm time easily and swiftly. Soon, given the growing popularity of recreative scuba diving, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s launched an oversized, automatic waterproof diver's version of the Memovox: the Polaris.

    Their goal was to offer both visual (inner bezel) and auditory (alarm) timers for ultimate diver safety. To do so, the firm created a patented caseback which optimized the alarm’s sound transmission under water. The outer case, with its 16 holes, allowed for the alarm tone to be heard and also felt on the wrist, while the inner case sealed and protected the movement. The watch featured three crowns, each with the cross hatch pattern characteristic of Super Compressor watches: the first for time setting, the second to rotate the inner bezel for dive timing, and the third to rotate the inner disc with arrow to set the alarm. 

    Known in the United States as the Polaris, and in the European market as the "Skin Diver Memovox", the reference E859 was made in 1714 total examples. Considering the intensive use such timepieces were subjected to, it is safe to say that only a meager part of the production survived to this day in original condition making the present piece as rare as it is aesthetically pleasing and technically interesting.

  • Maker Bio

    Jaeger-LeCoultre

    Swiss • 1833

    Not all companies in the watchmaking field have been able to stand the test of time quite like Jaeger LeCoultre, also known as the "watchmaker's watchmaker." Founded in 1833 by Antoine LeCoultre and originally named LeCoutre, the firm provided watchmaking's top brands, such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, the high-grade, unfinished mechanical movements with which they completed their watches.



    In the early 1900s, Cartier's watch supplier Edmond Jaeger sought out LeCoultre's help in creating the world's thinnest watches. The collaboration resulted in the creation of Cartier's earliest Tank and Santos watches, all housed with LeCoultre movements. The duo decided to merge in 1937, and the firm officially became the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand by which collectors know and adore it today. Some of the firm's most significant and important timepieces include the Reverso, the Memovox, the Atmos clock and, among modern watches, their Master Complications.

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Ref. E859
A fine and rare stainless steel automatic diver's wristwatch with center seconds, alarm and date

1970
42mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF12,000 - 18,000 
€10,700-16,000
$12,100-18,100

Place Advance Bid

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+ 41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE

Geneva Auction 11-12 May 2019