TO SAY the current Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris, launched at SIHH 2018, has been warmly received by the market is a bit of an understatement. The Polaris is one of the brand’s most talked about line in recent times, thanks to its role as the outdoorsy guy in the family (the polo-playing days of the iconic Reverso come rarer, right?). That the model looks like a proper tribute to the Memovox Polaris dive-and-alarm watch piece of 1968 does not hurt it either.
And neither would this dressier version would, for sure.
Jaeger-LeCoultre picked the Polaris Date to reinterpret as something still sporty and vintage-y, yet slightly glamming it up. Available in only 800 pieces, this piece is inspired by the funky Polaris II of 1970. But instead of going all retro, the special Polaris Date takes only the blue hue of the Polaris II’s dial, and turns this into a more sophisticated touch by way of a “truer” blue (rather than turquoise) and darker, nearly black gradient. Plus, the new model keeps the looks of the late-’60s Memovox Polaris, meaning there is no color-coordinated, numeral-marked bezel in this case.
Instead, the limited-edition Polaris Date relies on a double-gradient dial to make it appear special. The signature center dial of the Polaris, where the alarm readout resides, remains a trompe l’oeil in the Polaris Date — it foregoes the alarm function of the other Polaris models (easiest ways to tell this model is alarm-less are that it only has two crowns, one for the inner rotating bezel and the other for time-setting, and that it lacks the triangle pointer for the second minute track at the center of the dial). But this spot gets a darker gradient compared to the part of the dial surrounding it, which in turn sports more bright blue hues. Lending the dial further elegance is a sunray finish.
Kept in the special Polaris Date are its cream-colored Arabic numerals, trapezoidal hour markers and baton hands, which purport a retro vibe. All this furniture gets SuperLumiNova coating. The date disc and other inscriptions on the dial are in white.
The watch’s steel case is unchanged at 42 millimeters wide. While simple, it is also refined by way of alternatively brushed and polished surfaces — accomplished by hand, at that. Sapphire crystal seals it on top, solid steel does the same job at the back. At the center of this cover is an engraving of the scuba diving insignia. Among the inscriptions on the caseback is the one reading “1000 HOURS CONTROL,” denoting the assembled watch has undergone 1,000 hours of testing. A dark blue rubber Clous de Paris strap specific to this special watch attaches to the case. Well, the Polaris Date is a sporty watch, flaunting a water-resistance rating of 200 meters.
Ticking within the case is the in-house cal. 899A/1, a 32-jewel, 219-component, self-winding movement that operates at 28,800vph and which has a 38-hour power reserve. True, there seems to be nothing extraordinary here, but remember Jaeger-LeCoultre is widely considered on Planet Horology as the “watchmakers of watchmakers.”
The limited-edition Polaris Date may sport retro cues, but clearly it is also up to, well, date.