V.I.P. Memosail (Valjoux Cal. 7737)…
Another sailing timer on the blog, this time from the company Memosail.
(Click pictures to enlarge)
Produced throughout the 1970’s, you can still find a good number of these Memosail timers for sale on the auction sites and forums, which is a testament to their durability and popularity. They were produced in a number of case shapes and styles over the years, a selection of which you can see below.
You may have noticed that some of the dials were marked “Memosail” while others were marked “V.I.P. Memosail”. The significance of the V.I.P. I couldn’t say (apart from the obvious) as mechanically all the watches are identical, and a search on the internet didn’t uncover anything specific.
The Memosail timers are slightly different in operation than the Aquastar sailing timers which I’ve written about in the past. In the Aquastar timers the countdown is signified by a number of coloured dots on the dial which change colour as the countdown progresses. In the Memosail timers a separate disc rotates underneath the dial, counting down from 10 minutes to the start of the race, and rather than being in constant motion like the Aquastars, the disc is only advanced every 30 seconds. The centre second hand rotates constantly around the dial on both watches during the countdown as you would expect.
The Aquastar timers have just one button on the side of the case which is used to start the timer whereas the Memosail is more like a traditional chronograph and has two buttons; the upper button starts and stops the timer, and the lower button performs the reset.
The movement inside the Memosail is a Valjoux Cal. 7737 which is a modified version of the Cal. 7733/4 cam lever chronograph used in many popular chronographs during the 1970’s. While the timer function does it’s job admirably, its design is somewhat simple compared to the mechanics of the Lemania cal. 1345 used in the Aquastar timers (see this post for more details).
With the dial removed you can see the timer ring, the numbers are printed onto the outer edge of a transparent plastic ring which is mounted on a gear that slips over the hour wheel.
Underneath the timer ring you can see the large gear attached to axle of the chronograph minute runner. In a regular 7733/4 movement this axle would extend out onto the dial and the minute sub-register hand would be mounted on it. In a regular 7733/4 a running second subdial is also provided, but as the disc for the sailing timer disc covers the majority of the dial side of the movement that isn’t possible on the cal. 7737.
On the going side of the calibre all the parts are exactly the same as the cal. 7733/4 with the exception of the centre chronograph wheel. Instead of having one chronograph finger to move the register forward every minute, in the 7737 the wheel has two fingers directly opposite each other to move the register forward every 30 seconds.
There was little wrong with the watch in this post except that the timer had been set up incorrectly and didn’t reset to the 10 minute mark. The dial had lost a little of it’s gold ‘sparkle’ too over the years but unfortunately I couldn’t do anything about that. I did however relume the hands while I had it apart which freshened up the cosmetics a little.
Memosail are still produced sailing timers, but just like Aquastar, the mechanical versions of the watches are no longer produced so you’ll have to ‘make do’ with a quartz timer. If you would like to see their latest offerings you can do that here.
The owner of this watch, Mark Reichardt, has a keen interest in sailing timers. If you have any questions or information about them, especially the vintage mechanical models, I’m sure he’d be interested in hearing from you. You can contact him at the following email address; firstname.lastname@example.org
** Many thanks to Mark for letting me feature his watch on the blog. **