By Jovan Krstevski
As we had thought, LeCoultre indeed brought something new that rivals the likes of Patek Philippe in the sports watch category. 2018 is also the 50th anniversary of the original Memovox Polaris from 1968. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s entry for SIHH are five new Polaris models with varying complications and finishes: a pair of three-handed models (one with a date, and one without), a chronograph, a worldtimer, and a limited-edition alarm paying homage to the original watch that inspired the entire collection.
What we have here folks are vintage-inspired sports watches designed for all lifestyles active or casual. Plus they all feature in-house movements with the brand’s popular designs.
Polaris was released in 1968 in very limited numbers succeeding the Deep Sea Alarm. The watch featured a new caseback that amplifies the alarm underwater while staying watertight. It’s 12–6–9 dial layout is highly legible and it also has a unique rotating disc in the centre for the alarm. When it was discontinued it became a rarity in the secondary market. By 2008, a vintage re-issue that’s also very rare paid tribute to Polaris’ 40th anniversary being only 800 pieces to be made. This rarity is the main reason why we have the new Polaris collection. Jaeger LeCoultre bets heavily on the collectors love for the history and rarity of the Polaris.
Of course, it ain’t just history for the watchmaker as the brand is building the line in an entirely new case, highly distinguishable from its predecessors featuring short, faceted lugs, and a thinner rounded bezel. The crown now features improved grip. Most of the pieces in the collection are also water resistant to 100m and have an exhibition caseback. The strap choices are diverse ranging from rubber, leather, to a newly engineered three-link bracelet.
The 3-handed dateless variants are the collection’s entry point. 41mm in diameter and available in black and blue dials with combined sunray, grained and opaline finishes. Powering them is an in-house cal. 898/1 – a bi-directional winding automatic movement with ceramic ball bearings. It comes in a domed crystal and vanilla-colored Super-LumiNova and made for professional divers since it’s capable of 200m. Its caseback is closed but engraved with a diver also seen on the original. This is the most sporty and active Polaris in the collection.
As for the innovative pieces, we have the Chronograph and Worldtimer models bigger 42mm cases and powered by JLC’s 751 chronograph caliber with 65 hours of power reserve. The Chronograph is the only model that has a rose gold case model. The bigger Worldtimer at 44mm adds cities rehaut and is made of titanium that keeps its weight lighter. Note that these watches still feature 100m water resistance but is intended for leisure use only. They also don’t have the vintage authenticity of the Polaris collection hence we said they’re the innovative pieces.
The real collector’s model is the new Polaris Memovox 50th Anniversary Edition featuring the original’s designs such as the triple-crown and the in-house vaunted Calibre 956. Plus this model feels updated rather than just a facelift like throttling down its vintage style using beige Super-LumiNova. Moreover, it still uses the amazing applied hourly elements, long sword-shaped hands and new 42mm case seen in the collection. Being a tribute to the original, it’s also limited to 1,000 pieces. jaeger-lecoultre.com