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

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  • Manufacturer: Jaeger-LeCoultre
    Year: 1968
    Reference No: E859
    Movement No: 1'952'224
    Case No: 1'116'869 further stamped 1-68
    Model Name: Memovox Polaris
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. K825, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Rubber
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 42mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Jaeger-LeCoultre Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1968.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The famed Jaeger-LeCoultre "Memovox" (voice of memory) was introduced to the market in 1950, quickly gaining traction in the market as one of the most desirable and reliable alarm watches. A center disc with an arrow is operated by a second crown at two o'clock. In an era where sports diving was gaining more and more popularity (indeed, advertisements of the era branded the E859 as "pour l'homme d'action" or "for the man of action"), Jaeger-LeCoultre's response was to meet that demand and create an oversized, automatic waterproof divers' wristwatch - with an alarm function.

    Jaeger-LeCoultre's goal was to offer both visual (inner bezel) and auditory (alarm) timers for the dive. To do so, the firm created a patented caseback, which optimized the alarm's sound transmission underwater. The outer case, with its 16 holes, allowed for the alarm tone to be heard and 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 for 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 between 1965 and 1969, and finding these precious timepieces in their original and unmolested condition has become increasingly difficult. The present model was made for the European market, as indicated with the full Jaeger-LeCoultre brand name on the dial, whereas the simplified "LeCoultre" brand was used on dials of models intended for the American market.

  • 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 very rare stainless steel diver's wristwatch with center seconds, date and alarm

1968
42mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF12,000 - 18,000 
€10,300-15,400
$12,700-19,100

sold for CHF37,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018