Introducing Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition “Blue Double Gradient”

The recently introduced sporty JLC gets a new version inspired by the 1970s.
calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 minute read |
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition Gradient Blue - Q9068681

Back at the SIHH 2018, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a brand new collection with a combination of vintage and sporty inspiration – something that was clearly missing in the range. Based on the famed “Polaris Memovox” from 1968, the brand developed an entire line-up comprising a chrono, a WT-chrono, a time-only, a Worldtime and of course, an alarm “Memovox” version. Last but not least (and a personal favourite), was the vintage-inspired time-and-date diver, which is the base for today’s novelty, with new “Blue Double Gradient” dial. Meet the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition.

Inspiration

There’s no hiding the fact that the new Polaris collection hasn’t come out of the blue. It was modelled on one of the most iconic sports watches ever created by JLC, the famed, highly collectable and handsome Polaris Memovox – and looking at this watch, you understand that Jeager-LeCoultre was right in taking this piece as an inspiration.

Jaeger LeCoultre Memovox Polaris vintage 1968
The vintage, 1968 “Memovox Polaris” that served as an inspiration to create the new Polaris collection

The new collection is a sporty, slightly modernized take on the Polaris concept. Not per se dive watches, not per se rugged sports pieces, it combines a casual, toolish look with the elegance you expect from JLC. All in all, the new Polaris collection was well-received by the general public and is now expanding. Still, the 1960s were not the only era of the old Polaris. The watch also made it to the next decade.

Vintage is trendy… But after intense scrutiny of 1960s watches, brands are moving forward and now take the 1970s and the funky styles a bit more seriously. The Polaris Memovox evolved over the years to become the Polaris II, with a new case and more colourful schemes.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Polaris II Blue E870 – source Timeless Watches

The watch we’re looking at today is inspired by one particular model, the Memovox Polaris II ref. 870, a watch that kept the alarm function but not the inner rotating bezel. But that’s not the topic of the day… What drew JLC’s design team attention was the cool, double gradient colour scheme of the dial. Obviously, quite cool! So there you go, you have the raison d’être of the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition.

The “Blue Double Gradient” Polaris Date Limited Edition

The new model is based on the “vintagey” version of the 2018 Polaris, which features an inner rotating bezel and, unsurprisingly, a date function (the vintage versions did feature such a complication). Compared to the black version we reviewed back in 2018, no dramatic changes regarding the proportions, the mechanics, the specifications of the materials. Same-same on most parts, but note the addition of a brand new, rather bold dial.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition Gradient Blue - Q9068681

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition sticks to the 3-part dial that gave the model all its appeal – which is clearly inspired by the vintage Memovox, with its central disc for the alarm function, its hour flange and internal bezel. The central disc of this new version features sunray with a gradient blue effect – lighter in the centre. Then comes the hours’ sector, which is grained with a gradient effect – ranging from deep turquoise to a deep shade of royal blue. Last but not least, the inner rotating bezel, with 60-minute scale, has an opaline finish and is treated in deep blue. The entire dial is hand- lacquered.

The rest of the dial remains faithful to the collection, with elongated and stylized applied Arabic numerals and trapezoidal hour markers – all filled with beige luminous paint. The date window is located at 3 o’clock and reads on a white disc – this is bound to generate debate…

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition Gradient Blue - Q9068681

The 200m water-resistant case measures 42mm in diameter and retains its superb finishing – as we explained in our introducing review of the collection, the cases of the Polaris watches are hand-decorated with great care, including hand-applied brushing (something rare in this price range). The signature double crown – one for the movement, one for the bezel – are still present. The movement, hidden under a solid steel back, is the in-house Calibre 899A/1 with 4Hz frequency and 38h power reserve. The watches have undergone 1,000 hours of testing before leaving the Manufacture.

Combined to this new “Blue Double Gradient” scheme is a blue rubber strap, with “Clous de Paris” pattern and mounted on a deployant buckle.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date Limited Edition ref. Q9068681 will be limited to 800 pieces and priced at USD 8,250 (excl. taxes). More details at www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.

17 responses

  1. This slightly reminds me of the look of the Rendez-Vous with its prominent dial-centre, but instead for men, and that’s something I’ve wanted to see for a while now. Always felt that range had the look of F.P. Journe about it, and they should’ve made a ~40mm version in gold without the jewels, keeping the arabic numerals and guilloche.

    Anyway, back to the Polaris. Eh. It just doesn’t stand out amidst the competition, and the power reserve is woeful.

  2. A beautiful dial spoiled by a generic date window. Sad.

  3. There MUST be some mistake. This 42mm case has been given all the accoutrements of a 38mm watch! Those hands are shocking!

  4. I remember when I was toying with the idea of getting a JLC Master Geographic over a year ago, and the salesman said I should, ‘Av a look at the Polaris mate, it’s the dog’s b*llocks’. I was like, ‘Oh, hmm, seems interesting, thanks’ while thinking ‘Nooooooope’.

  5. I realise now I commented on the 1968 original. My wifi is very slow right now! Apologies.
    As for the new one, the hands are better sized of course but that anaemic date wheel is just not on. And these “photographs” have been Photoshopped to within an inch of their lives so we can’t make any judgement on finishing. For myself, I am struggling to find a rationale for this release. It’s too big for no real reason and “hand-lacquered” neither means much nor impresses, given that Seiko can do a hand-made porcelain dial for 1/7th of the price. Maybe I’m just getting cynical. Or more informed. If this was dateless and had a new double-spring movement which demanded a larger case, fair enough. If it was smaller and was referencing a sector dial, OK. But this is NOT a Seventies watch; not even nearly. It’s just a new dial colour with a gimmicky feature.
    When was the last time The Swiss Aristocracy brought out a stunning new model?

  6. Subjective innit bruv. But from a technical point, probably Vacheron’s affordable watch for the common man – the twin beat perpetual calendar. From a design point…hang on, Bulgari aren’t Swiss. I give up.

  7. I think Parmigiani might be the only one. I mean after Lange and LF. FB are too outre to be included I think. Jaquet Droz? Are they Swiss? Old Guard is loiking tired.

  8. Which Parmigiani, the Toric Chronometre? I’ve got a Tonda 1950 Lune, so that makes me unreasonably happy that you think the brand did something right!

  9. From what I’ve seen, the quality is exemplary across the board. I’m no acolyte, but they still seem hungry.
    I think The Big Four need to trawl a few design schools and let rip for 6 months. I’m thinking pewter and aged steel cases, ivory, steel and enamel dials and a few new movements for JLC, an announcement by PP that all current models will be discontinued as of March 31st and AP need to start from scratch. VC aren’t doing too badly, but “bling” and tool watches don’t mix. Neither do friggin tourbillons!
    Of course, as long as the cash keeps rolling in, nobody at the top gives a damn.

  10. Nodding my head a lot there, the absurd tourbillon situation especially, and more enamel dials. VC really need to slim down their ranges – Patrimony, Traditionnelle, and Historiques into one range, and trim the fat; get rid of the Fifty-Six entirely and have the much more interesting Quai de L’ile as the entry model and expand the variations accordingly; Overseas stays distinct; Malte and Harmony into one ‘form’ case range. Bish.
    AP have the biggest potential to do something fresh, seeing as they’re going to be cutting all ties with retailers in the next few years. I hope they get rid of the 11:59, Offshore, the Millenary…basically everything except the simplest Royal Oaks and the Jules collection, then as you say start again from there.

    But…we’re dreaming.

  11. Speaking of AP, they’ve put their prices up…again. The horrible new 15500 is now £18,700, and the old 15400 is £17,300! This time last year the 15400 was £15,000. Smh.

  12. Nice design and I am sure the materials are top quality but for a been there done that watch it is way over priced

  13. Look at the new An Ordain watch: stylish, a bit different, and a grand. A breath of fresh air. If PP did something like this as a new model, with a bit more flourish, a killer handwound movement and complex finishing in white gold for around $10,000, I think we’d all take notice. There is plenty of life left in the watch world. Just not at the companies where CFOs have more say than watch designers. I’d even say that AP could learn a thing or two from Casio’s MR-G range! Can you imagine a ROO in the style of a hammertone titanium MR-G?

  14. JLC needs to improve the power reserve on their watch movements. 38 hrs is awfully short for a modern day watch.

  15. I was thinking more along the lines of the MR-G2000HT-1A.
    🙂
    One of my daily wearers is an Oceanus OCW-T1000. Unfortunately it cannot mimic any watch it touches.
    Alex, any idea how old that mvt is? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was…er…”classic”.

Leave a Reply