Here’s a saga that’s been raging since the 1950s. With its ascendants and descendants, twists and turns, history and inheritance. Pride of place at‘s booth during the last Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, the Polaris collection makes no secret of its noble ancestry. It takes after the 1968 Memovox Polaris, itself descended from the 1950 Memovox. All the vintage sports goodness you could wish for!
Go back to the origins of this long family line and you’ll find the Memovox which Jaeger-LeCoultre launched in 1950 as the economy revived, post-war. The thing that made this classically styled watch so special was its alarm function, designed to ensure the Mad Men of the day remembered their appointments and – unusually – operated by a second crown. Nine years later, in 1959, Jaeger-LeCoultre took the Memovox into a distinctly more sports terrain. Driven by the automatic Calibre 815, the Memovox Deep Sea was the very first dive watch to feature an alarm. More diving suit than suit and tie, the Memovox saga took a new, more sporty turn.
A design that hasn't aged a day since 1968
The next generation of Memovox appeared in 1968, with the Memovox Polaris. So that the alarm wouldn’t be stifled by the diver’s neoprene suit, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the triple caseback that enabled sound to be diffused clearly underwater. This new Memovox also featured an inner (rather than outer) rotating bezel that was operated by a third crown. The dial was refreshed with transferred numerals and trapezoid markers which, along with the triangle showing the alarm time and the baton hands, were all given a coating of luminescent Tritium®.
This year’s Polaris Automatic revives the main design features of its 1968 ancestor, starting with the blue dial whose three concentric circles offer a mix of finishes: sunburst in the centre, grained on the outer circle and an opaline treatment on the rotating inner bezel. Hours are again counted on Arabic numerals and trapezoid markers, which stay legible in the dark thanks to a coating of Super-LumiNova. Historic references continue with the steel case and the original two-crown layout – the second is for operating the bezel to monitor elapsed time, dive-watch style. Jaeger-LeCoultre rounds it off with a triple-link metal bracelet. Behind the scenes, its secrets revealed through the sapphire back, the automatic Calibre 898/1 marks time with precision. What better way to carry on the family line, and maintain a tradition of reliability that began with the Memovox Polaris and has continued ever since.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic
Case: stainless steel
Movement: mechanical automatic, Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 898/1
Power reserve: 40 hours
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, rotating inner bezel
Bracelet: stainless steel, interchangeable