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Review: The Jaeger-Lecoultre Polaris Memovox from SIHH 2018

A new collection the Polaris
by Chester Lau on February 3, 2018

Inspired by the iconic Memovox Polaris watch from 1968, Jaeger-LeCoultre has developed a new collection to join the brand’s existing main product lines.

The Polaris collection consists of five main products, with one limited edition paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Memovox watch. Of the releases, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox is easily the most desirable.

 

The latest Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox released at SIHH 2018.

 

The Case and Dial

This 50th anniversary timepiece is sized at 42 mm in stainless steel. It keeps the iconic three-crown design: one for setting the alarm (top), one for the inner rotating bezel (middle) and one for setting the time (bottom).

 

The details on the dial alludes to the 1968 original, especially with the ‘faux patina’ luminous treatment.

 

The dial design in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox combines a mixture of finishing on three concentric circles: a Memovox Polaris-inspired center with a sunray finish, graining on the outer circle with the hours and minutes, and an opaline finish on the rotating inner bezel.

 

The Jaeger-LeCoultre logo is printed on with the classic white font, contrasting with the applied hour indices.

 

The details on the dial alludes to the 1968 original, especially with the ‘faux patina’ luminous treatment; also known as the vanilla Super-LumiNova. Hour indicators are a mixture of trapezoidal indices and four Arabic numbers, with a triangle in the dial center as the alarm indicator. The Jaeger-LeCoultre logo is printed on with the classic white font, contrasting with the applied hour indices.

 

The dial boasts legibility in both high and low light conditions.

 

Congruent to its original purpose as a diving tool watch, the dial boasts legibility in high and low light conditions. Apart from the indices, the hands are large and filled with Super-LumiNovaTM* for excellent visibility in low light. Overall, the dial is clean, legibile and representative of how a classic dive watch should look like.

 

The Movement

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox uses the Calibre 956; an automatic alarm movement with an updated instant-jump date-change system. It runs at 28800 vph, has 23 jewels and about 44 hours of power reserve. This caliber is a direct descendant of the first automatic alarm watch movement created by Jaeger-LeCoultre in the 1950s, the special alarm function made famous by the 1968 Memovox Polaris watch.

 

The watch uses a closed caseback, signed with a 50th anniversary emblem.

 

Apart from the long years of heritage the watch and its caliber enjoys, it is also representative of a time-tested movement, with more than 60 years of continuous updates and improvements. The caliber 956 features an alarm complication that uses a striking mechanism with a gong. Controlled by the alarm crown, the central disc turns to line up the triangle with the desired alarm time. The alarm is separately wound and independent of the time-keeping power train.

 

Concluding thoughts

The watch is significantly more modern as compared to the previous tribute edition of the Polaris Memovox of 2008. Comparatively, the older model used paint indices instead of applied indices. The former visually appears smaller and more subdued. The new version has a more industrial and modern look, and may remind some of its sister brand IWC’s Aquatimer or Ingenieur designs.

 

The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox comes on a brand-new rubber strap with a new folding buckle and is water resistant to 200 meters.

 

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox is extremely iconic and the updated homage limited edition offers modern day collectors with a chance to own a piece of history. That said, the Memovox while fun to operate for its alarm interactivity and in this version, dive watch capabilities, it is however, a thick watch, and not the most comfortable for daily use. In part due to the alarm movement, the watch’s bulkiness while desirable for some, may be unusual for many who expect a thinner classic watch. In part, the only tradeoff for anyone who wants a Memovox.

 

It is issued in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces.

 

Technical characteristics:

Size: 42mm, stainless steel

Movement: automatic mechanical movement, Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 956

Power reserve: 44 hours

Functions: hours/minutes/seconds, alarm, date

Dial: black sunrayed, grained and opaline finishes

Water resistance: 200m

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