My thoughts on the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox

Posted by

OK, long over due, here are my thoughts on the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox!

I hesitated to put my thoughts in writing due to the fact that, for me, whatever Polaris that Jaeger-LeCoultre comes up with, it will never be better than the original…

I know I am biased and its not fair to compare a new watch with an icon full of history, that is why I have waited with this review, to be able to give a fair view of the watch!

So, I will not go into too much technical details, all is pretty much known.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox is a novelty of 2018, Limited Edition of 1000 pieces (not numbered, “One of 1000”). 42 mm stainless steel case, water-resistant down to 20 bar/200 m. Inside is the Calibre 956, same movement as in all Memovox from 2008 and onwards.

Same complications, automatic movement, internal rotating bezel, hour, minute, seconds, date and of course the alarm, the Memovox.

This is a watch I have had the pleasure to handle several times. Each time I discovered new details and each time it changed my mind regarding this Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox.

First time I made the mistake to wear the original on my wrist… Piece of advice, if you like to give a new watch a fair chance, don’t.

After that I returned to see the watch several times without any Polaris with me to compare with, opening my mind to be able to take in something new, something different…

Yes, something different, because this is a different watch. Even if on paper it looks very similar to both the original Polaris and the Tribute To Polaris, the execution of this watch is different.

In short, I would say “it’s more square”, in a good way. Gives it the watch its own identity without becoming estranged.

Everything is a bit more square from the lugs which have a smaller bevel to the larger numerals and the hands. Even the crowns profile is more square.

This squareness give the new Polaris a more modern look and the broader, sharper hands increase this look. More technical, less “old charm” – which is exactly what this watch represent! A new more technical advanced watch than the original Polaris, a watch of today, built on history of the old! Tomorrow, to become a part of the history…

One detail I am having problem with is the “MEMOVOX” written on the alarm disk. That detail is text book “LeCoultre Polaris” and not “Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris”!

On the back the original 16 holes are gone, replaced with 12 marks symbolising the holes. Originally, the 16 holes were not there as a decoration but to amplify the sound of the alarm. Now with the new type alarm with gongs instead of a pin in the case back, I guess the holes don’t make any real difference to the sound anymore. Still, I miss them, same as I miss the cross hatched compressor crowns – to me a big part of the character of the Polaris – the “tool watch” look.

The technical design is also shown on the back, even the engraving looks technical. Honouring the 50th anniversary, 1968 – 2018.

On the wrist, the old comforting familiar feeling is there… But one glance on the wrist and you are brought back to present time… It looks good, it looks sharp!

I insist that this is a watch one should not campare with previous Polaris versions, but here is a comparison shot, left – Tribute To Polaris 1968 from 2008, right – Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox from 2018.

One thing that the Tribute version got a lot of critic about was the faux patina of the index and I have to admit, index colour on the new Polaris looks better.

Tribute To Polaris 1968 – Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox

While sharing, here is another comparison shot, left – the original Polaris from 1967, right – Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox from 2018.

One full of history and charm, one new more technical advanced.

Original Polaris 1967 Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox

To end this post, when I first saw this new Polaris, I was thinking “no way, that’s not a Polaris”… Now I am in the camp of “I really like what I see”… “This one stands on its own merits”…

I think it’s best I don’t go back another round looking at this watch again, because then I might bring it home with me!

Big thank you to my local Jaeger-LeCoultre AD Nymans Ur for letting me handle this watch repeatedly!