Following its debut in 2018, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s sporty-elegant Polaris collection became an instant hit with gentlemen divers everywhere. Now, two new high-performance timepieces join the line-up; the Polaris Mariner Memovox and the Polaris Mariner Date. Both introduce several upgrades to the Polaris range, including increased water resistance and a new stainless steel bracelet, reaffirming its status as a bona fide dive watch. As a proud official partner of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Watches of Switzerland is pleased to be able to offer both new pieces to our esteemed clients. Read on for everything you need to know.
Before we dive in – pardon the pun – to the details of these two exciting new models, a quick recap of the Polaris collection’s heritage is in order. The first Memovox Polaris came to market in 1965. It built on the success of the 1959 Memovox Deep Sea – the first dive watch with a mechanical alarm (to remind divers to begin their ascent – a potentially life-saving feature). Demonstrating Jaeger-LeCoultre’s technical expertise, the Polaris introduced a patented triple case back to optimise underwater sound transmission.
It was the 1968 version, however, that really put the Polaris on the map. Essentially a muscled-up version of the original Memovox Deep Sea, it boasted a larger 42mm case size, three crowns, a triple layer caseback to improve the diffusion of sound underwater, increased water-resistance of 200m, an internal rotating bezel and the date. If that all sounds familiar, it’s because it forms the blueprint for the modern Polaris Memovox. Produced in very low quantities and only for a short period of time, quality examples are now highly sought after by vintage watch collectors.
Drawing inspiration from this rich diving watch heritage – not to mention its unparalleled expertise in chiming watches built up over more than a century – the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariners models unite fully ISO 6425-compliant specifications with the sporty aesthetic of the contemporary Polaris collection.
Both models are housed in expertly crafted, 42mm steel cases showing a dynamic mix of brushed and polished surfaces. In keeping with their purpose as high-performance diving watches, each is rated water-resistant to 300 metres (30 bar). Furthermore, the crown used to set the notched inner-bezel is screwed-down to avoid any unintentional movement, with the addition of an orange security band to warn divers when it is not fully screwed down. Both models are fitted with superbly constructed, integrated steel bracelets finished with the same contrasting brushed and polished surfaces of the case.
What really draws the eye though is the rich gradient-blue colour of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner dials. Each is comprised of three concentric circles finished in different textures. The central disc is sunray-brushed, complementing the subtle graining of the middle ring and the opaline finish of the outer ring, which serves as the unidirectional rotating bezel. Central, SuperLumiNova®-filled hands ensure excellent legibility in low light, with the hour and minute hands glowing different colours for easy differentiation between the two. Bold trapezoid-shaped indexes and three Arabic numerals complete the classic Jaeger-LeCoultre dive watch aesthetic, with the date shown via an aperture at 3 o’clock.
Paying homage to the earliest Memovox diving watches, the Polaris Mariner Memovox features the distinctive three-crown configuration, with inner rotating bezel and mechanical alarm function. The alarm is set via the crown at 2 o’clock, which turns the central disc on the dial so that the triangular pointer lines up with the desired alarm time. The opposing crown at 4 o’clock allows for the precise setting of the time, while the central crown controls the inner dive bezel.
Inside is the self-winding manufacture Calibre 956, a direct descendant of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first automatic alarm watch calibres. For the first time in a Memovox watch, the movement, complete with hammer and gong, are on full display via a sapphire case back. This seemingly simple evolution demanded a complete redesign of the striking mechanism, resulting in the gong now being attached to the case side instead of the case back as in all previous iterations. The open-worked heavy metal rotor ensures an unobstructed view of the strike-works, its Côtes de Genève decoration matching the fine finishing on the movement plates. The chime itself, however, retains its signature “school bell” sound, a key component of the Memovox’s ageless charm.
With one less crown, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date offers the classic diving-watch functions of hours and minutes, with running seconds and a unidirectional inner bezel. The addition of an instantly-jumping date display provides an added touch of practicality, whilst also balancing the dial nicely. The dual-crown configuration, typical of super compressor-type diving watch cases, offers quick and easy operation. The upper crown allows for rotation of the inner bezel, whilst the lower one is used to set the time and date.
This model is powered by the manufacture Calibre 899, also visible through a sapphire case back. Yet another example of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watch making ingenuity, this automatic mechanical movement boasts some technical improvements that enable it to deliver a healthy 70-hour power reserve.
True to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s guiding philosophy of uniting innovation and tradition, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner timepieces pay homage to the Maison’s past, while adding two entirely new high-performance diving watches to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris collection. The Polaris Mariner Date is available for purchase immediately from Watches of Switzerland. Pre-orders are also now being accepted for the Mariner Memovox. Allocations of both watches are extremely limited, however, so please act quickly to secure your preferred piece.