When it comes to watch collectors, there are several different camps. There are those that love the technically innovative, those that go for the painstakingly hand-made and decorated, others who are intrigued by the plain weird. Then there are the horophiles that are enraptured by the models of the past – either those actually from years gone by, or new models built to contemporary standards but using the design codes of the past.
This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre has decided to launch something for the latter group, celebrating the half-century of its legendary Memovox Polaris by not only creating a faithful reissue of the original, but also introducing a brand-new line-up of models to accompany it. A simple automatic three-hander, a three-hander with date, a chronograph and a chronograph world-timer, join the most vintage-inspired model: the Polaris Memovox.
Based on the Memovox Deep Sea of 1959, which was the world’s first dive watch to be equipped with a sound signal to remind divers of the ascent time, the Memovox Polaris, named after the first submarine-based nuclear weapons system, had a three-part case to allow optimal amplification of the alarm underwater. The alarm time was indicated by an arrow – an important signature, repeated in the new watch.
The 42mm polished stainless-steel case has three crowns – one at 3 o’clock to adjust the rotating bezel under the crystal, with its indicating triangle serving as a marker for diving times, one at 2 for adjusting and activating/deactivating the alarm and one at 4 for setting and winding the movement. The watch features a convex sapphire crystal, covering a black dial with alternating trapezium-shaped indexes and Arabic numerals at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock with a generous coating of vanilla-coloured lume. There is also a date window at 3 o’clock.
The watch is powered by the Calibre 956, JLC’s first automatic movement with alarm function. At the desired time, hammers hit a metal gong that is fixed to the inside of the solid caseback. As a reminder of the watch’s primary function, the caseback features an engraving of a scuba diver. Just 1,000 pieces will be made, each selling for £12,900.
Automatic in-house Calibre 956; hours, minutes, seconds; date; alarm; 44-hour power reserve; 4 Hz (28,800vph)
42mm stainless steel; water resistant to 200m
Black rubber strap with Clous de Paris pattern and steel folding buckle