Editor’s note: If you’re in the market for a steel sports watch with a chronograph complication, you really are spoilt for choice. Rolex’s Daytona, Omega’s Speedmaster, Tudor’s Black Bay Chronograph … the list goes on. However, if you’re looking for a timepiece that meets all of the aforementioned criteria, while still possessing a real and genuine point of difference, then the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph is a great option. JLC, known colloquially as the “watchmaker’s watchmaker”, have made movements for just abut every watchmaker in the game at some time or another. And this technical innovation and knowhow is really showcased in the Polaris chronograph. Late last year, we were fortunate enough to go hands-on with the grade-A chrono, and these were our initial thoughts.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of the Polaris collection for Jaeger-LeCoultre. In a world dominated by the round steel sports watch, JLC’s line-up has leaned heavily towards the dressy and rectangular. The Polaris, a fully evolved collection, changed that landscape overnight, and did it in style.
One of the strongest offerings is the chronograph. It’s a watch that does a lot of things right, many of which should be immediately apparent. First of all, there’s the size — 42mm is just about right for this sort of sporty classic style, and at 11.9mm high it’s not as top-heavy as you might expect. And then there’s the lack of a date window. Sure, it’s not practical, but it’s a move that’s sure to win lots of discerning nods from the watch cognoscenti. The dual register design is strong, and results in a very well-balanced dial, and a remarkably uncluttered one for a chrono.
The Polaris DNA is there, too: the ‘12’ and ‘6’, the oversized trapezoid-shaped markers. All present and correct. The combination of rich, summery blue in a range of textures ensures this watch is a looker from all angles, and even moving away from the dial, there’s a lot of fine details here that impress — the sporty, finely finished pushers, and the mix of brushed and polished case treatments. Being Jaeger-LeCoultre, the movement, the Calibre 751, is impressive, too: expertly finished and solidly specced (4Hz rate, 65 hours of reserve off two barrels) — all shown through a clear caseback.
Everything about the Polaris Chronograph is well done. It’s a lovely, thoughtful, well-considered overall package, and a watch that’s a joy to wear and to use. And really, that’s what counts.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph Australian pricing
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph, in steel on leather, $14,700