Vintage watch fans know that the Memovox Polaris from Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of those rare timepieces that deserves celebrating. The brand created only 1,714 of them in 1968, so the 50th anniversary is a fitting time to reinvigorate the cherished mid-century diver. Launching the Polaris Collection earlier this year also rounds out the JLC catalog with a sports watch series for the modern man in motion.
The set is anchored by an Automatic and a Chronograph on either end and draws sporting heritage inspiration from the original Memovox, which boasted an iconic alarm function reminding divers when it was time to return to the surface.
The 41mm Polaris Automatic may be a time-only ticker, but it delivers with the impeccable styling you’d expect from a JLC piece. Echoing its predecessor, the Automatic features two off-center crowns — the second one operating the inner rotating bezel, which can be used as a timer. The sapphire case back gives a peek at the automatic movement operating inside. Sleek dial details like the three-finish dial, trapezoidal indices and angular numerals are synonymous with JLC timepieces and tie the entire Polaris collection together.
Taking these key aspects and instituting them in the popular complication of today gives us the 42mm Polaris Chronograph. Fitted on a newly engineered stainless steel bracelet, it offers a fusion of polished and brushed links that exude sporting elegance. While the chronograph departs a bit from the initial dive watch formula, it does resemble the JLC instruments that were often fitted in vintage sports cars. And with a wide tachymeter scale, it provides plenty of functionality for practical use. This is all rounded out with the three black finishes on the dial for a tasteful chronograph look.
The trapezoidal hour markers, numerals and hands that are displayed throughout each dial of the collection are all coated with Super-LumiNova for optimal readability at night or underwater (each of the pieces is water-resistant to 100 or 200 meters), further enhancing the practicality of these watches for those on-the-go.
While JLC will make many more pieces of the Polaris Collection than it did of the first Polaris Memovox, the set does justice by building upon a JLC icon of the past to produce an elegant, casual style of watches that can be at home on your wrist anywhere around the world you want to take them.