Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea

The Memovox Deep Sea, the first diver’s watch ever made by Swiss watch Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre, belongs to a select circle of historical timing instruments. After presenting in 2008 two faithful interpretations of historical diver’s watches, the Memovox Tribute to Polaris 1965 and the Memovox Tribute to Polaris 1968, the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux is pursuing its journey through time and returning to the very roots of the diver’s watch by introducing a re-edition of the 1959 Memovox Deep Sea, logically named Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea. The distinctive characteristic of the original model lay in the fact that it was interpreted in two versions: one intended for European sports enthusiasts and the other for American divers.

In homage to its rich past and to the delight of fine watchmaking connoisseurs, the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre is unveiling a faithful limited-series re-edition of the two 1959 Memovox Deep Sea models.

Rebirth of an icon
The Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea faithfully replicates the original model, except in one respect: the stainless steel case has been slightly enlarged from 39.8 to 40.5 mm in order to match contemporary requirements – and wrists. The case-back carries the motif appearing on the 1959 watch, featuring a frogman surrounded by bubbles. And, as one would expect from a new creation paying homage to its illustrious predecessors, the Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea also comes in two versions, each bearing the appearance of one of the historical variations.
While the European model features a matt black dial with luminescent hour-markers, its American counterpart is distinguished by a two-tone black/grey execution surrounded by an external ring comprising a scale with five-minute graduations and simply signed “LeCoultre”. The two versions offer the same range of functions: hours, minutes, central seconds and an alarm. A crown at 2 o’clock serves to wind and set the alarm, while another at 4 o’clock is used to wind the movement and set the time. Both models are driven by Memovox Calibre 956, an automatic movement incorporating the latest technological developments from the Manufacture and which has decisively demonstrated its reliability over the years. This descendant of the first manually-wound Memovox calibre beats at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour and is endowed with a 45-hour power reserve.
The first diver’s watch instrument
In the early 1950s, humankind was fervently dedicated to building a new world. Modern individuals were dynamic and intrepid, embodying the values of a future-oriented era and keen to set off on the discovery of new territories focusing on the unexplored heart of continents, the infinity of the cosmos, and the ocean depths. In 1957 the USSR launched the first artificial satellite of the Earth. A few months earlier, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle had unveiled the fascinating mysteries of underwater life in the film entitled The Silent World and which was acclaimed by critics at the Cannes Film Festival and subsequently by the public at large.

Commander Cousteau’s passion was soon shared by a growing number of eager scuba diving fans, especially once the simultaneous invention of a revolutionary diving bottle fostered the spread of this promising young discipline. A new kind of sports enthusiast emerged, requiring instruments suited to the exercise of their recently developed passion and able to help them successfully undertake their adventurous missions below the sea.

In order to meet demand from American enthusiasts of this booming sport, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched a daring project in 1959 involving the development of a diver’s watch. This represented largely uncharted territory at the time, with no criteria stipulating the demands that should be met by this unprecedented category of timepieces, and almost 20 years were to elapse before the adoption of the NIHS norms applicable to diver’s watches.

The watchmakers and technicians of the Manufacture immediately set to work and that same year presented a watch endowed with a degree of reliability and performances that were truly exceptional in that early period of underwater exploration. The Memovox Deep Sea was the world’s first diver’s watch equipped with an alarm function. Jaeger-LeCoultre engineers devoted the full measure of their inventive skills to transforming the alarm generally featured on Memovox watches into an acoustic signal designed to warn divers that it was time to begin their progressive ascent to the surface. In keeping with an essential principle consistently upheld by the Manufacture, functionality was already dedicated to serving security.

The new timepiece in both versions met with spectacular success on either side of the Atlantic. This iconic diver’s watch soon sold out and became a legend of which only a rare few collectors were able to glimpse the reality. The Memovox tribute to Deep Sea is issued in two limited series: 959 reproducing the “Jaeger- LeCoultre Classique 1959” intended for the European market; and 359 inspired by the “LeCoultre Spécial Amérique 1959”.

The last two digits of each edition echo the birth year of this legendary watch. And finally, driven by a determination to pay homage to one of the treasures of the company heritage, the watchmakers of the Manufacture have chosen to protect the dial of the Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea with a Plexiglas watch glass absolutely identical to that which equipped the historical models.

Technical details
Model: Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea, Replica of the “Jaeger-LeCoultre Classique 1959”

  • Movement: Mechanical automatic movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calirbe 956, crafted, assembled and decorated by hand, 28,800 vibrations per hour, 23 jewels, 7.45 mm high, 268 parts, 45-hour power reserve
  • Functions: hours, minutes, central seconds and alarm
  • Dial: matt black with luminescent hour-markers, alarm indication by a triangle with a luminescent centre
  • Case: steel, 40.5 mm in diameter, convex plexiglas watch glass, water resistance: 10 bar
  • Strap: black leather with steel pin buckle
  • Reference: Q2028470, limited series of 959

Model: Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea, Replica of the “LeCoultre Spécial Amérique 1959”

  • Movement: mechanical automatic movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956, crafted, assembled and decorated by hand, 28,800 vibrations per hour, 23 jewels, 7.45 mm high, 268 parts, 45-hour power reserve
  • Functions: hours, minutes, central seconds and alarm
  • Dial: matt black and grey, alarm indication by a triangle with a luminescent centre
  • Case: steel, 40.5 mm in diameter, convex plexiglas watch glass
  • water resistance: 10 bar
  • Strap: black leather with steel pin buckle
  • Reference: Q2028440, limited series of 359

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