Jaeger-LeCoultre is a brand that calls to mind a host of iconic, or at least iconic-adjacent, designs. There is the Reverso, the Master Control line, and the Polaris, just to name a few. Drawing on that heritage, JLC is introducing the new Polaris Mariner – a more sport-oriented tandem of dive watches – comprised of the Polaris Mariner Date and Polaris Mariner Memovox (featuring the signature alarm function). Both Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox watches sport a 42mm-wide case design, in a blue and orange color scheme, that is decidedly modern in appearance while still maintaining the classic core design language of the Polaris as we have come to know it.
Having been originally unveiled around 1950, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox has become one of the staples of alarm-bearing watches, if not the most well-known (for more on the Memovox, check out this A Week on the Wrist). Likewise, the Polaris, originally released in 1968, is one of those late mid-century watch designs that has been re-contextualized for modern day. It sports a look markedly different from the more ubiquitous rotating bezel diver design (think Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, Rolex Submariner, and almost every dive watch that has followed). The Polaris is one part funky, two parts retro, with a splash of futuristic – staple traits of similarly styled Super Compressor dive watches from the 1960s.
The difference between the new Polaris Mariner Date and the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox is, effectively: alarm or no alarm – that’s pretty much it (save for a difference in thickness, and the number of crowns, which again are products of the alarm function). You might be hard-pressed to even see anything different at all between them at a quick glance, but if you look closely, you will notice the tiny “Memovox” word mark and triangle on one model – with corresponding third crown – and the absence of each of those things on the other.
Despite the core design language, you won’t find a heritage aesthetic, or fauxtina anywhere here. Instead, you are left with a bold set of blue and orange colors, inside of a 42mm case on a steel bracelet. Whereas the Polaris line of watches, at large, has been considered more of a “sport gentleman” watch, this new collection presents a sport and tool watch design – and build – that is fit for its intended purpose. How so? Well, the Polaris Mariner is ISO 6425-compliant, which makes it something of a proper dive watch with a 300-meter depth rating. If you had any doubt as to its bona fides, you need only look to the text on the lower portion of the dial, which quite literally reads, “diving.”
The lume glows both in a blue and orange color. The orange lume is reserved for the minute hand, which matches the orange accents on the dial – something I would love to see in the metal. There also appears to be an orange accentuation on the base of the crowns, when unscrewed. The Polaris Mariner Date features two crowns, one to work the movement and the other for the internal dive time bezel. The Polaris Mariner Memovox sports a third crown, which operates the alarm function. The dial boasts the usual three textured approach with a mix of grain, gloss, and sunray finishing. Of course, there are the large, distinctive, and legible numerals in the signature retro typeface.
Both of the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox watches evoke a certain modern-leaning, ready-to-dive attitude while simultaneously serving as representations of the heritage of Polaris models of years past. The movements inside each watch are the JLC Caliber 899 in the Polaris Mariner Date and the JLC Caliber 956 in the Polaris Mariner Memovox. Both watches feature sapphire exhibition casebacks showcasing the aforementioned calibers. Overall, the Polaris Mariner collection presents an unabashedly sporty watch, on a steel bracelet to boot – and while the summer season may technically be in our rearview, “Hot Dive Watch Summer” endures.