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Cars & motorsport

Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin: innovative traditions – part 1

The partnership between Jaeger-LeCoultre and British sports car maker Aston Martin has made a mark on History: perfect symbiosis between the brands and technical watchmaking innovations.

By Rémy Solnon
Specialised journalist

“There’s no such thing as serendipity; only rendez-vous ”. In 2004, the prestigious Jaeger-LeCoultre brand signed an exclusive partnership with British car maker Aston Martin. It was only natural for the two famous brands to team up since they have common values: high-quality finishes, noble in-house “engines” and a respect of traditions combined with cutting-edge technology. The partnership was also the occasion for Jaeger-LeCoultre to rekindle its prestigious past. Indeed, in the early 1900s, Edmond Jaeger made speed counters for the dashboards of the first racing cars and luxury sedans. They were highly accurate and reliable instruments that helped several drivers become victorious.

Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin

Out of this now-dissolved partnership was born the AMVOX collection, which is now an integral part of the history of car/watch partnerships. AMVOX stands for Aston Martin Memovox, inspired by the name of the legendary Memovox Polaris from 1965, a watch that came with a new function – an alarm. The watch reflected the revolutionary aspect of the whole collection. Jaeger-LeCoultre thus explored new technical solutions that made a long-lasting impact on watchmaking with, for example, the vertical release chronograph and the embedded touch function that also worked as a remote control key for Aston Martins.  It was during this time that the Grande Maison showed more than ever that it could perpetuate the long tradition of innovation which started when Antoine LeCoultre founded it in 1833.

Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin

Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin at the time, stated: The synergy generated by our complementary experience led to the creation of outstanding timepieces, both in technical and aesthetic terms. The incredible success of this long-term collaboration was also due to the historical connections between Jaeger-LeCoultre and the car world”.

The AMVOX collection stood out in the Haute Horlogerie circle. Indeed, the 44-mm pieces in the collection boasted a unique DNA. They were engraved with both manufactures' logos on the caseback and sported a dial inspired by the dashboard counters of Aston Martin cars. The latter featured a central motif that evoked radiator grilles, large numerals, blue luminescent 270-degree curved indexes, luminescent Calypso hands and a power reserve. The chronograph versions featured two disk totalizers and an opening onto the complex mechanism of the chronograph. The in-house calibers were entirely designed, assembled and decorated by hand in the workshops of the Grande Maison. Before they were delivered to their future owner, every piece had to be submitted to the "1,000-hour test", a quality-ensuring prerequisite that comprised several consistency tests as well as shock resistance, temperature, magnetic fields and soon.

Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX1 Alarm – 2004

2004, the Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX1 Alarm

The AMVOX1 Alarm (ref 1908170) was the first watch produced by the partnership and was introduced the same year the Aston Martin DB9 appeared.

Aston Martin DB9

As a bridge between the long history of the two brands and the present, it celebrated the 40th anniversary of the iconic 1965 Memovox and the no-less iconic DB5. The sober and traditional design of its circular black dial with a guilloché center evoked the old Jaeger tachometers and the dashboard tachometer of the DB9. The 44-mm case, available in either steel or titanium, was equipped with three crowns for time and alarm setting. The caseback was engraved with the initials of both manufactures. The AMVOX1 Alarm was driven by a self-winding Jaeger-LeCoultre 918 caliber (its alarm function had its own barrel) and its hanging gong mechanism owed its unique sound to the use of a special alloy. The elegant strap was made with the leather of the famous "Bridge of Weir" saddler which covered the saddleries of the prestigious Aston Martin coupés and convertibles.

Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX1 Alarm – 2004

In 2005, the manufacture introduced a special version that was dedicated to Aston Martin's comeback to car racing and its role as official timekeeper of the Aston Martin Racing team. Two race versions of the Aston Martin DBR9 coupé participated in the world endurance championship.

Aston Martin DBR9

Introduced in an avant-premiere at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2005 (which Aston Martin won in 2007 and 2008), the AMVOX1-R Alarm marked the brand's evolution in sports watches. Indeed, the “R” stood for “Racing”. The dial featured the same British Racing Green with the same yellow as the DBR9 no. 59. It was produced in two limited editions – the first  was in 150 platinum pieces that came with a British Green leather strap (ref 1916410) and the second comprised 500 titanium pieces that came with a perforated black leather strap (ref 191T440).

The AMVOX1 Alarm in short

Year: 2004 // Case: 44 mm X 15.10 mm, steel or titanium, water resistant to 50 m // Caliber: self-winding Jaeger-LeCoultre 918, 28800 alt/h frequency, 22 rubies, 45-hour power reserve // Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, alarm, date.

http://www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/

Coming up soon, Parts 2 & 3

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