Saturday, June 23, 2018

Jaeger-LeCoultre Vintage Memovox: The Nearly Perfect Couple's Watch

What's a watch collector to get his or her significant other? Another necklace? A new leather cover for the car's steering wheel? A wallet? A third cat?

Of course not. A watch is the perfect gift for anyone, anytime, and the only better gift than a watch you can bestow upon your significant other is a couple's watch. Giving a watch as a birthday, anniversary or other present is wonderful, but getting the two of you matching watches is wondrous. When you're apart and look at your watch, you'll smile, knowing that your lover or spouse has the same testament to affection around their wrist.
A pair of 1960's Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovoxes

While finding a couple's watch isn't difficult, finding the right one is. It's easy to slip into a Rolex shop and wind up with matching Datejusts weighing in at his and hers sizes. In the Omega, Cartier, and Grand Seiko realms you'll find his and hers watches, too. Even Daniel Wellington has couples watches—and judging from the under 30-year-old wrists I see, they're popular.

But think outside the authorized dealer box and consider matching (or nearly matching) vintage watches. In particular, what about a pair of vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox? The Memovox was one of the most important watches of the 1950's and 1960's. Handsome, with touches of Art Deco from preceding decades, the Memovox's look is, well, timeless. JLC's Memovox is an alarm watch, because the in the 50's and 60's, alarms were more important complications than moonphases and jumping second hands. There were no phone alarms in those distant decades, and even electric alarm clocks were a relative scarcity. People were probably as sleep deprived in the 1950’s and 1960’s as they are today, and without an alarm half the population would be fired for chronic lateness.

But even in 2018, alarm watches are fun-functional: Sometimes you want a backup alarm; sometimes it's just more convenient to set your watch's alarm. (And sometimes you can surreptitiously set your watch's alarm to go off mid-meeting, followed by, "Sorry. I need to go.")

If you search the usual places, such as Chrono24 and vintage watch shops, you'll find Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovoxes in 33 mm and 37 mm sizes, just about perfect for his and hers watches.

Prices for vintage Memovoxes range from about $1,500 to $9,000. Here's a feather in the vintage watch cap: Vintage watches rarely go down in value, while a new Rolex or Omega is going to lost some 20 percent of its value the moment you walk out of the watch shop.

Vintage watches as couple’s watches are more interesting, thoughtful and rare than buying contemporary his and hers watches, too. Next time you’re thinking about a present, you know where to look.

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