Jaeger-LeCoultre's Polaris may not be a household name, its unique three-crown design, inner rotating bezel and relative rarity relegating it to the dive watch fringes. However, it's a beautiful and striking design nonetheless, and one that JLC has rightly chosen to build upon since the 1960s. The Memovox, a mechanical alarm watch that debuted in the 1950s, has been released in myriad iterations over the years, including several dive-ready variants.
In seeking to build new dive watches for the 21st century, the maison has inaugurated a new line, dubbed the Polaris Mariner Collection meant to further evolve these storied designs. Consisting of two new timepieces— the Polaris Mariner Memovox and the Polaris Mariner Date — the Mariner line adheres to ISO 6425 standards for dive watches and features 300m of water resistance and advanced movements (the JLC cal. 956 for the Memovox, and the JLC caliber 899 for the Date).
The Polaris Mariner Memovox builds upon the Memovox heritage and adds a few interesting features: An orange ring is visible when the 3 o'clock is unscrewed, alerting the wearer to, well, screw that sucker back in before he or she dives with the watch. The automatic JLC cal. 956AA provides time, date and alarm functions, features 45 hours of power reserve and is visible through an exhibition case back. As on previous iterations of the Memovox, the other two crowns control the internal rotating dive bezel and the watch's alarm function. The whole shebang is contained within a 42mm stainless steel case, which comes mounted to a matching steel bracelet for $17,600.
The Date looks strikingly similar to the Memovox, but lacks the latter's third crown and alarm function. Instead, it's powered by the JLC cal. 899, which provides only time and date functions and 70 hours of power reserve. It still features a Super Compressor-style 42mm case with inner rotating bezel, however, as well as an exhibition case back and matching bracelet, for $11,000. Unlike '60s Super Compressor designs, the Mariner collection features unidirectional bezels, which are much safer, as one can't accidentally under-calculate elapsed time.
Both watches feature largely the same dial: blue lacquer is overlaid with applied, oversized Arabic numerals in a funky, highly legible typeface that are coated in blue Super-LumiNova. The skeletonized hands glow the same color, except for the minutes hand — the most crucial hand, to a diver — which glows orange. An orange-accented triangle gives a visual reference for the alarm on the Memovox model.
Both watches are non-limited production models and are available immediately from JLC.