Apr 4 2014, 1:52pm CDT | by Forbes
For 2014 Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre quietly returns to the original AMVOX2 Transponder timepiece with an upgraded model that is sure to satisfy owners of an Aston Martin automobile willing to spend a bit more to complete their experience. For those not dedicated to being a watch aficionado, explaining the ins and outs of such a complicated little horological luxury can be challenging. In a nutshell this is a high-end mechanical watch with an electronic transponder that is able to lock and unlock the doors of an Aston Martin car. The story began eight years ago back in 2006 when Jaeger-LeCoultre and Astron Martin released the first AMVOX watches.
The idea was not only to produce a timepiece that matched your Aston, but one that could interact with it. Jaeger-LeCoultre produces some of the world’s most complicated (and modern) sport watches so the integration between watch and car came as little surprise. The way it worked was as genius as it was complicated. Jaeger-LeCoultre was not satisfied with a timepiece that had pushers (buttons) on the side of the case to perform these functions. Instead they toiled to create a watch with a sapphire crystal that acted as a button. Pressing down on the left side of the crystal opened the car, while pressing down on the right locked it. This was combined with a sliding lever function on the side of the case to operate the chronograph part of the watch. Apparently it was a goal of the project to have the timepiece do as much as possible but have only a crown on the case.
It turns out that the original AMVOX2 watches performed rather well, but they had a rather humorous quirk. The three earlier models produced only worked with a single automobile. Meaning that you needed to own either an Aston Martin DBS, DB9, or Rapide… along with the corresponding watch for the “relationship” to work. For 2014 Jaeger-LeCoultre will release a new version of the AMVOX2 Transponder watch that purportedly works with any new Aston Martin automobile. Other improvements include an updated dial design, improved antenna system for the transponder device, as well as an improvement in battery life (note that the watch movement itself is entirely mechanical).
In a way the fact that Jaeger-LeCoultre has continued to pour R&D money into this project is as impressive as it is interesting. That such a distinctly niche sports watch from the mid 2000s returns with an improved model is surprising to say the least. Further, it comes after a series of subsequent AMVOX models that have long since removed the transponder mechanism. That means Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin have continued to work on timepiece designs after seemingly abandoning the “Transponder” concept. Nevertheless, the 2014 AMOVX2 Transponder watch is proof that once the Swiss have dedicated to something they will not let it go.
I’ve long since given accolades to Jaeger-LeCoultre for the modern design of many of their sport watches. While too many brands were deeply focused on reviving the past, Jaeger-LeCoultre has consistently produced interesting mechanical sport watches that have focused on the “now.” The AMVOX collection of timepieces is a brilliant example of that design sentiment in action. The AMVOX2 watch is thus 44mm wide in titanium and uses a highly complicated case that allows for the sapphire crystal pusher as well as the sliding chronograph system.
Inside the watch is the in-house made Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 751E automatic movement that has 65 hours of power reserve and a chronograph system that uses a column wheel and vertical clutch. If none of that means anything to you then I will simply say that this isn’t just a novelty watch for those needing an accessory to go with their supercar purchase. Jaeger-LeCoultre produces some of the most serious mechanical watches in the world, and just happens to also think it is a fun idea to make automotive-themed timepieces with Aston Martin. A fun design cue is the running seconds hand which is a spinning Aston Martin logo. If the logo stops spinning, so has the watch. Good thing it now works with more than just a handful of Aston cars as well. Price for the watch is $29,500.
Ariel Adams publishes the watch review site aBlogtoWatch.com.
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