Right off the bat, I want to say that Jaeger-LeCoultre makes the best reissues hands down and was one of the first brands that started today’s trend of drawing upon vintage pieces to create a modern incarnation. Ranging from Reversos to the mighty Polaris, Jaeger-LeCoultre has done a whole range of reissues. It must be said though, most will agree that one of the best would be the Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea, released in 2011.
Originally released in 1959, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm, as it was named then, was one of the most iconic dive watches of its era, alongside the Rolex Submariner, Omega Seamaster 300 and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. It was the first dive watch released with an alarm and uniquely, instead of relying on a rotatable bezel to indicate dive times and when to ascend, the Jaeger-LeCoultre used an inner rotating dial that triggered an alarm within the watch’s mechanism to inform the user it was the end of a dive. This was all housed in a case with a dual crown system, one at two o’clock to wind and set the alarm, and another at 4 o’clock for the minutes and hours.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and what you see here today is the beautiful reedition of the iconic dive watch. What impressed collectors the most was how Jaeger-LeCoultre really got all the details right, faithfully recreating the Deep Sea Alarm. Starting with the 40.5mm stainless steel case, it is only 1mm larger than the original and sits remarkably well and proportionate on the wrist. Completing the look, the case is bevelled, brushed on the sides and polished on the top of the lugs.
The black dial has a grainy textured finish and is near identical to the original dial, all the way down to the LeCoultre branding, the beautiful Deep Sea Alarm Automatic font and the luminous syringe hands. Furthermore, it has a matte anodised aluminium bezel with luminous triangles at 12,3,6 and 9 o’clock.
Instead of opting for a modern sapphire crystal, JLC used a plexiglass instead, so that they could get a domed crystal. While this might seem insignificant, the dome really makes a huge difference and on the wrist, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the vintage and the original.
All this is impressive enough, but Jaeger-LeCoultre took it a step further by making it a strictly limited piece. They released two versions, an American version which you see here, and a European version, with a different dial layout. They made 959 pieces of the European while this American example, was only made in 359 examples, making it a pretty damn rare watch. I think they could’ve easily sold tens of thousands of this, considering its good looks, so I am very impressed that the brand didn’t do so.
Powering the watch is JLC’s in-house Calibre 959, a movement that is used for all of their Memovox alarm watches. It has a power reserve of and is water resistant to 100 meters. While there aren’t many modern pieces worth investing in, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea is certainly one that’s worth it.