The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date green is a fine take on a gentleman’s sports watchBorna Bošnjak
Re-introduced in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original, the buzzing Memovox Polaris, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s alarm-equipped dive watch, combined vintage charm with modern technology. In 2022, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date gets a lick of green paint in a boutique-only release, continuing the long line of compressor-style watches by “the watchmaker’s watchmaker”.
Seafaring chameleon dial
Composed of three sections, the dial is an amazing melange of textures, gradients and colours. Depending on the light, it transitions from an autumn-leaf brown to a bright green. Starting from the inner-most disc with the subtle sunburst effect which is sectioned off by the minute track, it moves into a smooth, lacquered finish applied over a textured underlay with applied markers. A fume finish moves to black to match the colour of the inner rotating bezel, with subtle orange markings at the minutes and around the triangle, picked out by the orange tip of the seconds hand. The creamy lume on numerals, truncated triangle indices and semi-skeletonised fence-post hands goes perfectly with the vintage look and matches the green colour, without subjugating to the dark arts of excessive fauxtina.
There is no date window frame, but the enamel-like dial surface creates a gradual indent, reminiscent of an enamel dial. The stark white of the date window does stand out despite its small size, only matched by the Jaeger-LeCoultre script below 12 o’clock, and the AUTOMATIQUE text above 6 o’clock. The bezel-less nature of the Polaris increases the apparent size of the watch, as the internal bezel tucks underneath the curved crystal, making the dial look much larger, in turn, making this watch wear larger than the dimensions suggest.
The case is simplicity, personified
The overall design is decidedly simple, with no bells and whistles interrupting the sporty design. Only a subtle edge chamfering of the squared-off lugs suggest meaningful attention to detail. Hairline vertical brushing throughout only deviates from the norm in the thin bezel and protruding knurls of the dual crowns which are finished in a high polish. At 42mm in diameter and 48.5mm lug-to-lug, it is compact enough to fit most, though the 13.9mm thickness does make it quite top-heavy.
When setting the time with the crown at 4 o’clock, I was surprised to find the two crowns being non-screw down, which made me think the prototype watch I looked at wasn’t fully functional. I was gravely mistaken. Smooth in their operation, JLC managed to give the Polaris green 200 metres of water resistance, an impressive feat, though you’ll have to be careful not to pop the crown out should you take it for a dip. Upon release, the Polaris will be available on a green rubber strap with a quick-release system.
Powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre at its best
The Polaris is powered by the Calibre 899AB, an automatic movement with 70 hours of power reserve, though without the alarm feature of the original. The movement is only 26mm in diameter, however, which makes it look diminutive in the large Polaris case. The display caseback proudly states the 1000 hours of control that JLC put this watch through. The six-week period tests cased movements for everyday wear, timing in six different positions, temperature fluctuations, power reserve and water resistance, though I was surprised to find no stated accuracy for the movement.
The decoration is normally JLC’s chance to shine, and the Polaris green is no different. If the case was bells-and-whistle-less in its execution, the movement is the entire brass section. Cotes de Geneve on the plates and dark-plated skeletonised rotor, blued screws and jewels in polished countersinks with flashes of gold denoting manufacturer and calibre – a truly beautiful movement.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris green pricing and availability:
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date in green is a boutique edition and the first 100 pieces will be available exclusively from Jaeger-LeCoultre e-commerce. Price: $13,800 AUD
|Case Dimensions||42mm x 13.92mm x 48.5mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||200 metres|
|Dial||Green sunburst, gradient dial with transparent lacquer|
|Strap||Green rubber strap|
|Movement||Calibre 899AB, automatic, 70-hour power reserve|