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Opening JLC’s innovative AMVOX 2

by J.Edwards

Jaeger-LeCoultre first debuted their AMVOX 2 chronograph in late 2005, in partnership with English car manufacturer Aston Martin. While most chronograph watches will use at least one or two pushers to the control the chronograph mechanism, the AMVOX 2’s innovative design uses an incognito, ‘vertical trigger’ system to engage and reset the chronograph functions of the watch, rendering the appearance of the watch free of any pushers whatsoever. The feeling of starting and stopping, or resetting, this chronograph, by pushing on the crystal at 12:00 & 6:00, is reminiscent of the way that the click wheel of the iPod classic operates. This sublimely simple system was engineered into existence by Jaeger-LeCoultre design engineer, Francis Cretin, an incredibly brilliant, yet very humble, young designer, who already has quite a number of patents under his belt.

In order for the vertical trigger to operate, while still maintaining the water resistance necessary to protect the delicate mechanism inside the watch, the AMOVX 2 uses a three part cradle system to support the main body of the watch. The body of the watch is anchored in the center of the cradle by two screws, and pivots in a teeter-totter like fashion within the cradle, providing a means for the “pushers” to be engaged. For an insightful and informative look at how the AMVOX 2 operates, check out the following slideshow with audio commentary by Ron DeCorte. The duration of this article will focus on how to properly dismantle the cradle surrounding  the main body of the watch in order to access the watch’s movement.

Opening the Case

There are a lot of screws holding the case of the AMVOX 2 together, particularly on the backside, and not all of these screws need to be removed in order to open the watch. Two of the most critical screws holding the main body of the watch to the cradle are the screws positioned in the side of the case which enable the vertical trigger to operate.

As can be seen in the image above, the pivot screw on the crown side of the watch can only be accessed through a recess in the side of the crown, directly below the Jaeger-LeCoultre insignia. This feature can be seen even more clearly in the following pre-production design sketch by Magali Metrailler (red arrows and lettering added for emphasis).

To remove the main body of the case from its cradle, begin by unscrewing the two pivot screws from the sides of the case, at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions. The image below shows the screw at the 3:00 position unscrewed in the recess afforded by the crown.

Next, remove the eight screws from the middle section of the cradle on the rear of the watch. Leave the screw between each set of lugs intact.

All three segments of the cradle can now be lifted away, leaving the sealed core remaining.

Unscrew the four screws that were previously concealed by the cradle and remove the caseback to reveal Jaeger-LeCoultre’s in-house, column operated, chronograph calibre 751E.

Timing the AMVOX 2 with Kello

Curious to see how Kello would handle the odd case construction of the AMVOX 2, I tested the re-assembled watch using Apple’s standard microphone headset, padded against the back of the watch with a microfiber cloth. Running on an iPhone 4, Kello had no trouble picking up the signal and the watch timed out beautifully for a non-COSC certified movement. Minus 2 to plus 7 seconds across 5 positions, with an overall average of +2 seconds per day.

For more insight into the brand’s numerous mechanical marvels, including the gyrotourbillon and the unbelievably tiny calibre 101, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s self entitled Story of the Grand Maison, which has been published in English, French, German, Italian, and Japanese, is well worth a read.

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