Jaeger-LeCoultre’s sporty Polaris collection welcomes a new perpetual calendar model, using a movement similar to the one powering the Master Ultra-Thin Perpetual model of 2019. Presented in a 42mm case in stainless steel or pink gold, the Polaris Perpetual Calendar features a gradient dark blue lacquered dial with three sub-dials for the calendar functions and an additional sub-dial for the phases of the Moon in both hemispheres. As a member of the Polaris family, the watch comes with a rotating inner bezel and other design features borrowed from the original Memovox Polaris of 1968.
The experience Le Coultre & Cie. gained making its perpetual calendar pocket watches at the end of the 19th century was miniaturised and translated into wristwatch format in 1937. A perpetual calendar is like having a miniature mechanical computer on the wrist, capable of smoothing out the anomalies between civil time and celestial phenomena and automatically computing months of different lengths and leap years.
Fitting a perpetual calendar complication inside a sturdy sporty case has its advantages. Not only is it more protected, but it also invites the wearer to enjoy it on an everyday basis. The current Polaris collection was inspired by the legendary 1968 Memovox Polaris, a watch that could sound an alarm underwater (200m water-resistance) with a distinctive compressor-style case with three crowns. Characterised by robust, modern-sized cases and powerful dials with bold markings, the Polaris was resurrected in 2018 and represents the brand’s only casual/sporty model. Several models compose the current line-up: the vintage-inspired Polaris Date, the Polaris Mariner Date and Memovox alarm models and chronographs with or without world time.
Set against a matte blue gradient lacquered dial, the calendar indications appear in three sub-dials: the month and year at noon, the days of the week at 3 o’clock and the date at 9 o’clock. The fourth sub-dial at 6 o’clock corresponds to the phases of the Moon in both hemispheres. Adding further complexity, the Moon in the Southern Hemisphere uses a retrograde display while the Northern Hemisphere cycles are represented with a silver Moon with stars displayed on a rotating disc along with the numerical age of the Moon. The four sub-dials are slightly recessed with snailed interiors and clear white markings.
Beneath the axis of the central hour and minute hands is the safety adjustment indicator. When it turns orange, between 20:00 and 04:00, it warns the owner not to adjust the time or calendar indications to avoid damaging the movement. The bold applied trapezoid-shaped indices with truncated tips and the large number 12 hark are key traits of the Polaris family and, in keeping with the sporty nature of the watch, filled with luminescent material. The rotating inner bezel, which can be used to measure elapsed times, also has an inverted luminescent triangle at noon and crisp white and orange markings to match the tip of the central seconds hand, the number 31 in the date dial and the safety adjustment indicator. The skeletonised hour and minute hands also have lumed tips.
The Polaris Perpetual Calendar comes in a 100m water-resistant 42mm case in steel or pink gold. Signature Polaris design codes like the thin bezel and glass-box crystal are respected, and the case (and bracelet of steel version) displays a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. The two crowns are functional: the top crown rotates the inner bezel; the lower crown sets the time and winds the watch. The calendar settings are adjusted via a single pusher.
By pressing on the pushers between the lugs, the bracelet or strap can be exchanged in seconds. This new interchangeable strap system means that the owner of the steel model can switch from the three-link steel bracelet for the textured rubber strap provided. The pink gold model comes on a blue rubber strap and an additional alligator strap with a folding buckle.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 868AA developed for the Polaris Perpetual Calendar is an evolution of the in-house QP calibre 868 that appeared in 2013. Upgraded with the latest technical innovations, the automatic movement delivers an increased power reserve of 70 hours on a single barrel and displays the moon phases in both hemispheres. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the Geneva stripes on the bridges, the bevelled and polished edges, the blued screws, the perlage on the main plate, and the openworked rose gold rotor.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar is presented in two references: Q9088180 for the steel version with an interchangeable steel bracelet and rubber strap, and Q9082680 for the pink gold model with an interchangeable rubber strap and alligator leather strap. The price has not been announced. For more information, please visit Jaeger-LeCoultre.com.