Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces the Polaris Mariner Memovox and Mariner Date

Blue gradient dials, again.

Modelled on a 1960s diver’s alarm wristwatch, the Polaris was revived in 2018 as a full-fledged collection of watches ranging from time-only to chronograph.

Now Jaeger-LeCoultre adds two more to the line up: the Polaris Mariner Memovox and Polaris Mariner Date. Looking very similar to each other, both share the same a gradient-blue dial but are distinguished in function; the Memovox is an alarm while the Date is a three-hand base model.

Polaris Mariner Date (left), and Polaris Mariner Memovox

Initial thoughts

Probably because it manages to be sporty and slightly retro at the same time, the gradient (or fumè or smoked) blue dial is being used once again for a Polaris dive watch, not long after the similar-looking limited edition for the American market. And it’s worth noting that the three-tone blue dial takes inspiration from the Memovox “Snowdrop” of the 1970s.

In short, the look isn’t novel, but it is a good one. And a few tweaks have been worked in to help it stand out, most obvious with the use of orange accents.

The new Memovox on brand ambassador Benedict Cumberbatch

The Polaris Mariner Memovox

Although both watches have been updated in design and upgraded in functionality – water resistance is now 300 m instead of 200 m – they are beset by a sharp increase in price. For instance, the new Mariner Memovox alarm watch costs about 40% more than the equivalent limited edition of 2018. And the Mariner Date costs a bit over US$11,000, while the standard Polaris Automatic sans date is US$8,000.

That’s hard to stomach, especially given the brand’s penchant for reiterating on the same few ideas. The new pair of Polaris watches feel expensive despite being good-looking, and no doubt as well made as JLC watches tend to be.

What’s actually new

Despite being incremental rather than revolutionary, the changes to the design as compared to the earlier Polaris models are effective in elevating the appeal of the new watches.

One welcome change is the white “lume”. While earlier Polaris limited editions relied on cream Super-Luminova for the faux-aged look, the new Polaris Mariner sticks to clean white luminous paint. The contrast between the white lume and blue dial gives it a clearly more contemporary look, which is further accented by the dash of orange on the dial and hands.

Skeletonised hands for better legibility

More importantly, the Polaris Mariner pair have also received some functional upgrades, which means they meet the ISO6425 standard for a diving watch.

Amongst the new features are screw-down crowns, which is most crucial for the second crown that rotates the inner, elapsed-time bezel. Having the crown secured prevents accidental rotation of the inner bezel, which is can be used to record the duration of time spend underwater. And the screw-down crown also incorporate an orange security band that is visible when the crown is unscrewed, serving as a reminder to screw down the crown before entering the water.

And unchanged

The movements found in the Polaris Mariner watches are identical to those in their Master Control counterparts, but without the red-gold plating on the rotor. Both are essentially improved versions of longstanding, decades-old Jaeger-LeCoultre movements.

The cal. 899 in the Mariner Date, for instance, now boasts a 70-hour power reserve. And the cal. 956 in the Memovox has its gong attached to the interior of the case, instead of the case back, making it possible for the movement to be seen through a sapphire back.

The cal. 899 in the Polaris Mariner Date

The Memovox is powered by the cal. 956

Key Facts and Price

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox
Ref. Q9038180

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15.63 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 300 m

Movement: Cal. 956
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, and alarm
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet

Availability: Already at Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques and retailers
Price: US$17,600; or 25,900 Singapore dollars

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date
Ref. Q9068180

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 13.92 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 300 m

Movement: Cal. 899
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet

Availability: Already at Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques and retailers
Price: US$11,100; or 16,200 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Jaeger-lecoultre.com.


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