First appearing as a diver’s watch in the 1960s and quickly becoming an icon, the modern-day Polaris watch from Swiss horology house Jaeger-LeCoultre was revived back in 2018. The adventurous yet elegant chronograph model, designed with everyday use in mind, is now appearing in two new iterations. Both versions showcase new artisanal dials and come with a pair of interchangeable straps.
The new Polaris Chronograph models put wearability at the forefront of their design. Jaeger-LeCoultre balance the steel case’s 42 mm diameter with a height of 13.39 mm. Naturally, the case follows the Polaris’ hallmark design codes, from taut lines, sharply curving lugs and a thin bezel to a glass-box crystal and eye-catching mix of brushed and polished surfaces. In addition, a large crown – a signature of the 1960s model that inspired the current Polaris line – and robust pushers provide the wearer with good grip and excellent usability. Finally, the watch offers robust water-resistance to 100 m.
The most notable point about the launch of these two Polaris chronographs are surely the new dial iterations. The bold, richly lacquered dials come in a classic deep Polaris blue or, for the first time, a sportier ‘warm grey’. The Polaris dials consist of a central disc and middle ring featuring applied hour markers. Encircling this middle ring is an outer ring that plays host to the tachymeter scale.
The lacquered central disc and middle ring graduate from light to dark, creating an aesthetic visual depth. This is no easy feat; the lacquering of these two dial components is a lengthy and exacting artisanal process, with each layer of coating being manually applied. Beginning with the application of a clear coat of varnish and followed by a layer of colour, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s artisans carefully control both the shade and the gradient. To complete the dial, they add no less than 35 coats of translucent lacquer for further visual depth.
Readability is key
Furthermore, the new layout of the Polaris Chronograph dials bring legibility to the forefront, with the new duo of watches featuring a central chronograph seconds hand to enable more precise reading of this key measurement. Balanced by the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, the sub-dial at 9 o’clock (in a notable change from its predecessor) now animates the dial with a running seconds display.
Orange accents further aid the watch’s readability, while skeletonised hands allow for greater visibility of the indications. As always, the Polaris watches use luminescence on the indices, numerals and hands for 24/7 visibility. Last but not least, Jaeger-LeCoultre add finesse to the dial with circular grained subdial counters, contrasting with the lacquered and opaline finishing on the dial.
Bringing the horology house’s savoir-faire to the sporty timepieces, Jaeger-LeCoultre power the new Polaris Chronograph models with the in-house calibre 761. This automatic movement, which is visible via the sapphire crystal caseback, combines high performance with horological finesse. Powered by twin barrels, the fully integrated chronograph movement features a column-wheel chronograph mechanism with vertical clutch.
Alongside a solid 65-hour power reserve and frequency of 4 Hz, the calibre 761 also prioritises aesthetics. Therefore, the movement showcases finishing including blued screws and Côtes de Genève decoration on the baseplate, as well as on the signature open-worked winding rotor bearing the ‘JL’ motif.
Price and strap
Last but not least, the Polaris Chronograph watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre come with two easily interchangeable straps. The blue dial version comes with a sporty steel bracelet and a blue rubber strap with a ‘Clous de Paris’ pattern, while JLC pair the new grey dial edition with a beige canvas strap and a similarly textured black rubber strap. While the price of the Ref. Q9028181 (blue dial) is 16,100 euros, the Ref. Q902843J (grey dial) is 15,500 euros.
|Blue dial: Q9028181
Grey dial: Q902843J
|Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 13.39 mm
|100 m (~10 bar)
|Blue or grey lacquer
|Blue dial: steel bracelet and additional rubber strap.
Grey dial: beige canvas and additional rubber strap.
Both models are supplied with an interchangeable folding buckle.
|Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 761
|4 Hz (28,800 vph)
|Hours, minutes, small seconds; chronograph with 30-minute counter, central seconds indication and tachymeter
|Ref. Q9028181 (blue dial): EUR 16,100
Ref. Q902843J (grey dial): EUR 15,500