Jaeger-LeCoultre gives the Polaris Chronograph a tasteful lick of lacquerJamie Weiss
- Five years on, the Polaris Chronograph gets a subtle update with new dials and movements
- Dials now feature 35 layers of hand-applied clear lacquer as well as a new light grey colour variant
- The new Calibre 761 boasts a running seconds feature in place of a 12-hour counter
It’s easy to forget that Jaeger-LeCoultre’s modern Polaris collection was only revived five years ago. The sportiest model in JLC’s otherwise somewhat demure range, the Polaris has quickly become one of the brand’s most popular models and has been the focus of plenty of love in recent years. Just remember the speccy perpetual calendar variant that joined the range last year, as well as the fan-favourite, richly lacquered green-dial Polaris Date. It seems JLC’s love affair with lacquered Polaris dials is far from over, with the watchmaker’s watchmaker giving the Polaris Chronograph a surprisingly substantial visual (and technical) update just as summer in the Northern Hemisphere is coming to a close.
The big story here is the Polaris Chronograph’s new dial – or should I say dials. Joining the previously existing classic blue colourway comes a new light grey variant, which features a delightful dégradé pattern. More importantly, both the blue and grey dials feature sumptuously lacquered finishes that make the dials appear almost enamelled. JLC achieves this effect by first applying a base coat of varnish, followed by a layer of colour, and then 35 coats of translucent lacquer. It’s a painstaking process but one that really achieves results – the depth of these new dials is truly delicious.
The three-dimensional quality of that generous lacquer is complemented by the array of finishing techniques exhibited on the Polaris Chronograph’s dial. From the outside in, the internal tachymeter scale features an opaline finish, which contrasts with the asphalt-textured outer ring, which itself frames a sunburst-finished central disc. Additionally, the subdials feature circular graining, with the whole dial surface being mirror-polished. There’s a lot going on.
You’ll also notice that these new Polaris Chronographs feature a slightly different dial layout, with the 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock having been swapped out for a running seconds indicator instead – arguably a more valuable feature for day-to-day use. This hints at a more substantial change to the watch: the introduction of a new movement, the Calibre 761. This movement is an evolution of the Calibre 751, which was first launched in 2004 and has powered a variety of JLC and Richemont Group chronographs over the years, including previous iterations of the Polaris Chronograph as well as Master Compressor Chronographs. An automatic movement with twin barrels and a vertical clutch, the Calibre 761 also features hacking seconds and boasts the same 65-hour power reserve as its predecessor.
It’s also nicely finished with côtes de Geneve, blued screws, perlage and chamfering, all proudly on display through a sapphire crystal caseback. Water-resistant to 100m, the Polaris Chronograph is slightly less water-resistant than the Polaris Date or Memovox – yet it manages that 100m rating without having a screw-down crown or chronograph pushers, which is impressive.
All in all, this is a refreshing… Well, refresh, of the Polaris Chronograph, which gives it a lustrous new look as well as improved day-to-day functionality.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph pricing and availability
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph is available now for purchase. Price: A$23,400 (fabric or rubber strap), A$24,300 (steel bracelet)
|Case Dimensions||42mm (D) x 13.39mm (T) x 48.5mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||100 metres (10 bar)|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire on both sides|
|Dial||Grey/blue sunburst, grained and opaline|
|Strap||Colour-matched rubber strap, beige fabric strap or stainless steel bracelet|
|Movement||Calibre 761, in-house, vertical clutch, automatic|
|Power Reserve||65 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, chronograph seconds, running seconds, 30-minute counter|
|Availability||Grey initially available only online, blue available online or in-store|