In 2018, Jaeger Lecoultre decided to widen the scope of the iconic Polaris, which since 1965 and the unveiling of the first model is, basically, a diving Memovox, re-edited in 2008.
So, 4 years ago, Jaeger Lecoultre came to the SIHH in Geneva with a whole family of Polaris, and not only a water resistant alarm watch. Since then, we had the Polaris Automatic ( no date, no alarm ), the Polaris Date ( No Alarm ), the Polaris 50th Anniversary ( Alarm and Date ), the Polaris Chronograph, the Polaris Chronograph World Time, and the Polaris Géographique World Time.
For Watches and Wonders, this year, Jaeger Lecoultre unveils a new Polaris, a daring version of the icon which consists in housing a perpetual calendar in a diving watch, and for those who could think that it was not daring enough, in two versions, one in steel, and one in rose gold.
The Grande Maison is not the first to have played with this combination, as Ulysse Nardin did it with its " Acqua Perpetual " 20 years ago in a 42, 7 mm steel case, but, still, it is not something you see everyday.
Let's see what we have here.
- A traditional case.
I mean a 42 mm one, as there were three different sizes in 2018: 41 / 42 and 44 mm. The 42 mm case is the " historical " one, as it is the size of the Polaris 1965 and 1968, vintage or Tributes.
You will find the polish satin finishing and the generous beveled lugs.
The height is 11, 97 mm, which has to be compared with the Master Chronograph Calendar ( 12, 05 mm high ), and the Master Ultra Thin 39 Perpetual Calendar ( 10, 44 mm for the Guilloché Blue Enamel / 9, 2 mm for the " normal " dials ) or with the Master Perpetual Calendar Skeleton from 2007 ( 41, 5 mm big / 11, 80 mm high ). So to say, the proportions of the Polaris Perpetual Calendar are quite restrained, if you keep in mind that the Polaris Memovox Mariner is... 15, 6 mm thick!
Lug to lug, the length is 48, 815 mm which will make it wearable for most wrists.
As for the choice of a rose gold case for the Polaris, it is the second time they made it.Indeed, since 1965, it has only been made once, in 2018, and it was for the Polaris Chronograph. We sure had the platinum version of the Tribute to Polaris in 2008, and titanium for the Polaris Chronograph World Time. Jaeger Lecoultre smartly decided to avoid a rose gold bracelet. So the rose gold Polaris Perpetual looks, in real, lighter than the steel version on its steel bracelet. And it is, as the Steel Polaris Perpetual Calendar on its steel bracelet weighs 187 grams, versus 133 grams for the rose gold version.
The Polaris Perpetual Calendar has a see-through case back, which, in my opinion, was not necessary here, I mean for a diving watch. A solid case back would have been more consistent and there is nothing exceptionally nice to see, in terms of movement finishings and decoration.
And maybe we would have a bigger resistance to water: With this see-through case back, the Polaris Perpetual Calendar is water resistant to 100 meters.
To be complete, none of the two crowns are screw-in, like most of the Polaris we know ( with the exception of the Polaris Memovox Mariner which had the screw-in crown dedicated to the bezel ).
- The visible Star of the Watch: The dial.
For those who are familiar with Perpetual Calendars from Jaeger Lecoultre, you immediately know there is something special with this Polaris.
A hint? The position of the moon phase and the months. Normally, on the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar 39, the moon phase is located at 12 o' clock and the months at 6 o' clock.
On this Polaris Perpetual Calendar, these two indications are reversed, which is something we already saw in another Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar 39, the White Gold version with the guilloché blue enamel, issued in 2020. A detail which announces something about the movement, as we'll see later in this article.
This dial is exemplary, in terms of symmetry, with the 4 subdials dedicated to the day, the date, the month and the moon phase. The years window is also nicely integrated in the months sub dial, and the " danger zone " indicator, reminding that you should not set the date between 10 PM and 4 AM, is discreetly located above the axis of the hands.
The hands which are empty at their base, to allow you to see the danger zone indicator. Smart. And discreet.
A few words on the dial texture, now. It is grained with a gradient ( smoke ) blue lacquer finish, at the contrary of the Polaris Geographique World Time which was grained only.
The counters have a circular grained finish, the hands and the applied indices are made in steel for the steel version, and golden for the pink gold one.
The bezel is blue opalin, to complete these pleasant shades of blue.
What about a lume shot?
- THE MOVEMENT:
I will quickly mention it as it is well known, now. Indeed, the movement was first introduced in 2019, in the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar Guilloché Blue Enamel. It is the Cal 868, automatic, with a power reserve of 70 hours, which was a very good improvement, compared to the former automatic perpetual calendar and its 38 hours power reserve.
This longer power reserve is due to the new silicon escapement, a redesigned barrel and new oils.
The inverted months and moon phase sub dials reveal that this movement has been rotated to 180 degrees, as it was the case for the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar Guilloché Blue Enamel.
- THE STRAPS:
Depending on the version, you have two choices.
The steel version comes with a steel bracelet ( which is not an option ) and an additional bluel rubber strap on a folding buckle.
The rose gold version is mounted on a blue rubber strap, folding buckle, with an extra black alligator strap.
For the rubber and the alligator straps, you have the quick change simple " presto " system, double " presto " system for the bracelet.
You can also quickly adjust the buckle of the steel bracelet.
- PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THE POLARIS PERPETUAL CALENDAR:
There are not so many perpetual calendars among sports watches.
The most famous certainly are the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, but the first is water resistant to 20 meters, and the second to 60 meters.
A less famous one is the Ulysse Nardin Acqua Perpetual from the early 2000's, with a steel case and water resistant to 300 meters, which is more consistent for a sports watch than only 20 or 60 meters, in my opinion.
100 meters is a minimum for a sports watch, and for what is supposed to be a diving watch even more, so the Polaris qualifies here.
Personally, I like the " blend of genres " and here, a fresh approach of a traditional or noble complication. So to say, I have nothing against perpetual calendars housed in sports watches
I like the symmetry of the dial a lot, the integration of the years is not ruining it. And the gradient blue gives a huge cool factor to this watch.
Now, there is one thing I regret... I would have been totally mad IF this perpetual calendar could be associated with... An Alarm.
Yes, this is my only regret, here.
Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts,