A few years ago, I was visiting lovely Como, Italy when I came across a very special watch. Alongside the usual selection of little old Rolex and Omega watches was a dark beauty: A Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX1 Limited Edition in titanium with a deep ruthenium dial. I brought that watch home and it’s become a favorite of mine. Now there’s a similar watch up for auction, and I suggest that you take a look!
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s AMVOX series began in 2004 and is a joint venture with famed automaker, Aston Martin. The first piece in the series was the AMVOX1 Alarm, a modern take on the classic Memovox, especially evoking the 1963 Polaris dive model. The name, “AMVOX”, combines the “AM” of Aston Martin with the “Vox” of Memovox, and was apropos for this first model.
The production AMVOX1 Alarm model had a 42 mm stainless steel case and glossy black dial. Like the Deep Sea and Polaris, the AMVOX1 features a crown at 3:00 which rotates a bezel inside the crystal. Most other Memovox models have just two crowns: The standard setting and winding crown at 4:00 and the alarm crown at 2:00. There is a second inner case back and alarm gong behind the visible back.
Being a Memovox alarm watch, it included an inner disc allowing the automatic Cal. 918 to be set to ring up to 12 hours in the future. The alarm is set using the crown at 2:00, which also winds a separate barrel to power the hammer that rings the alarm. The alarm gong is mounted to the case back and protrudes through the center of the rotor, a novel arrangement pioneered by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1969 with Cal. 916. Previously, Jaeger-LeCoultre had to use a “bumper” rotor to keep from interfering with the alarm.
Alongside the steel AMVOX1, Jaeger-LeCoultre also introduced three limited-edition models:
- AMVOX1 Alarm Titanium (this watch) in a limited edition of 1000 with a titanium case and ruthenium dial element. The strap is Bridge of Weir chocolate leather, matching the leather used in Aston Martin cars.
- AMVOX1 R-Alarm in a limited edition of 500 with a 44 mm titanium case and Aston Martin green dial, yellow alarm time markings, and carbon fiber-look strap.
- AMVOX1 R-Alarm Platinum in a limited edition of 150 with a 44 mm platinum case with a black dial and yellow alarm time markings.
To my eyes, the 44 mm case is a little large, though many might enjoy the green and yellow dial in the R-Alarm. But the luscious contrast of the deep ruthenium dial disc and matte gray titanium is simply wonderful to behold. Although the case is titanium, the watch still has some heft (unlike the too-light Grand Seiko Snowflake) and the chocolate leather strap is not to be missed.
For what it’s worth, Jaeger-LeCoultre made me a replacement strap when I sent mine in for service recently. Truly amazing, considering the limited production and special leather used!
If you’d like your own AMVOX1 Alarm Titanium LE, you’re in luck: One is coming up for auction Jan 12 at Auctionata. This watch appears to be a good “wearer”, lacking box and papers but still including the correct Bridge of Weir leather strap. And with a starting bid of just $3,800, it’s worth getting involved!
It will be interesting to watch this auction. My watch (with incorrect box but original correct papers and strap) cost closer to their estimate for this model, and they often sell for over $8,000. I imagine this item will get some bidding on Jan 12!
Update: Conditional knockdown at just $3,800 – I doubt that will go through with the seller…