With the new Polaris series launched by Jaeger-LeCoultre which is based on the Polaris 1968, it is easy to forget the Polaris 1965!
But yes, the “Polaris 1965” was the first. Back in 1963 the very first prototypes very made but according to some sources, the actual launch were not until 1965…
I already gave you my view of the name “Polaris 1968”, I will not discuss the name “Polaris 1965” here, at least not now… You can read the post here: Jaeger-LeCoultre E 859 Memovox Polaris 1968, a “mystery”
Instead I thought we should have a closer look at the LeCoultre reference 859 Polaris 1965.
To start, I like to point out that the name “Polaris” was not used in 1965. In documents, the watch was referred to as a “Deep sea skin diver watch”. Guessing LeCoultre tried to connect back to the “Deep Sea Alarm” which from the start were referred to as “Deep Sea Automatic Alarm”. The Automatic part being very important as it points out the difference from the Vulcain diver with alarm…
Here is a scan from a LeCoultre catalogue showing the “Deep sea skin diver watch”:
“The only one of its kind in the world!” referrers to the Polaris at this point in time was the only divers watch with both alarm and automatic movement. All dive watch competitors in 1965 which had an alarm were equipped with manual wound movements. The manual wounding wears more on the crown sealing, with higher risk of compromising the waterproofness of the watch as a result.
The earliest document I found using the “Polaris” name is in this LeCoultre catalogue from 1969.
Notice the different bracelet style used. In the first scan the Polaris having a similar bracelet as the Deep Sea Alarm while in this second scan it is a completely different bracelet.
If I remember well, both bracelets are made by JB Campion, but guessing that the previous style “deluxe” were not a good fit for a tool watch like the Polaris… Also the deluxe bracelet is not as solid as the one shown in the later scan.
OK, enough about the name, let’s see the watch – LeCoultre reference E 859 Polaris 1965: on the wooden beam
There are more differences between the LeCoultre dial and the Jaeger-LeCoultre dial of the Polaris 1965 than the name. I will not go into details here, that is a topic for a different post…
The Polaris 1965 dial is quite elegant with the thin index and the applied numbers. Some of you may have noticed that in the Polaris 1965 scan, the hands are Dauphine shaped while my Polaris 1965 have the sword hands, same as on the Polaris 1968.
The fact is that both styles existed, guessing the earlier watches had the Dauphine hands and the later got these sword hands due to visibility.
Based on the style of the Polaris 1965 dial, I guess that Jaeger-LeCoultre used the black dial from the E 855 as a starting point and if so, it would also be logical if they used the hands from the E 855 as a starting point as well.
Remember that the dial of the E 859 and the E 855 are interchangeable, the rotating bezel is the only difference between the two, when it comes to the dial.
I find the Polaris 1965 dial absolutely stunning, to be honest, not a good fit for a divers watch, but stunning!
Too small lume dots, no lume on the bezel and with the Dauphine hands it must have been almost impossible to read time at any larger depth…
On the LeCoultre dial the logo text is gilt as well as the index lines and the “T- Swiss -T”. The text “Memovox” and “Automatic-Alarm-Calendar” look almost white, but under the loupe you can see the print is more like silver. I find this very charming!
Today many collectors don’t like the “Automatic” that most brands insist on writing on their dials… Not sure why, it has always been that way – brands want to boost about their watches capability!
You never hear about a car guy being negative about the 4x or V12 marking on the car…
On the wrist the Polaris 1965 have the same presence as the 1968, 42 mm of pure pleasure! Quite different in style, more elegant that the later version yet the solid feel of a tool watch!
Yes, there is much more to say about the Polaris 1965, but I will save that for another post… So stay tuned!