Wooden Beam 2020: Jaeger-LeCoultre Tribute To Polaris

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It has already gone 12 years since Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the Tribute To Polaris! Time to put them on the Wooden Beam!

Back in 2008 the Tribute To Polaris was introduced with the a Memovox movement, the Calibre 956. This was the start of the “modern” Memovox era…

Followed by the Navy Seal Alarm Limited Editions in 2009, the Master Memovox and the Limited Edition Memovox International in 2010 and the Tribute To Deep Sea Alarm Limited Editions in 2011… And this year we saw the birth of the new Master Control Memovox and the Memovox Timer with a re-worked Calibre 956AA.

There were three versions of the Tribute To Polaris – T.W.O Limited Editions and one Limited Boutique Edition. T.W.O in steel and one in platinum. T.W.O with the first dial version, “1965” and one with the second dial version, “1968”.

As I already pointed out in one of my previous reports, I think the “1968” should in fact be “1967” if it should follow history correct – but then the launch would have been on the 41st Anniversary of the original E 859 Polaris… Jaeger-LeCoultre E 859 Memovox Polaris 1968, a “mystery”

The Tribute To Polaris was a “one shot” – only once, never again. But for the 50th Anniversary of the Polaris “1968” the new Polaris line was born! To be fair – the new Polaris line is not a Tribute line or an attempt to make to redo the Polaris as it was.

The new Polaris line is a modern interpretation of the Polaris – it took me a while to warm up to this but now I must confess that there are several versions of the new Polaris I really would like to add to my collection… You can read some of my thoughts about the new line here: New Polaris

Of the Tribute To Polaris versions, I ended up with the T.W.O Limited Editions – the “1965” platinum (165 pieces) and the “1968” steel (768 pieces).

Inside they are identical, both having the Calibre 956 inside. Outside they look same except for hands and dial…

The Tribute To Polaris was made as a close replica of the original – 42 mm case with snap-on case back, three cross hatched crowns and plexi crystal.

Love the domed plexi and it scratches as easy as any vintage plexi… Which may be a bit frustrating when you use a modern watch as a modern watch!

On the “1965” version Dauphine hands instead of Sword hands like on the “1968”.

The original Polaris 1965 – early examples have the Dauphine hands while later have the Sword hands… Guess that Jaeger-LeCoultre changed to the Sword hands due to viability – while I find the Dauphine hands more elegant, they are much harder to read in low light… Same reason why Jaeger-LeCoultre changed the dial to the “1968” layout.

One difference one the “1965” from the original is the lack of luminous material on the dial – only the hands and the alarm arrow glow in the dark. On the original 1965, the small circles around the alarm disk are filled with tritium.

The “1968” looks more similar to the original, but up close you see the faux patina – a detail which to me, looks much better on the new Polaris Memovox.

First batch of the 768 pieces have the full lume dial, while the larger part of the 768 have no lume on the index between the numbers.

Mine have the full lume dial – it is hard to tell the dial versions apart unless you are in the dark…

With the broader hands and larger index, the “1968” is less elegant and looks much more like what you would expect a modern divers watch to look like!

On the back the 16 holes on the outer case back is kept, just like the original – even the snap-on case back is the same way as on the original Polaris.

Up until here it is more a matter of taste which one you like the most…

Once you strap them on your wrist the case material plays a part – a big part as well… Even if they look similar, the platinum version weighs 52 grams more!

The Polaris is not a very heavy watch, especially how I prefer to wear it, on a leather strap. The original is 84 g, the “1968” is 87 g and the “1965” is 139 g including strap.

The weight difference is a detail which can’t be seen in a photo – I love the feel of the “1965”, the extra weight makes wearing this piece very intimate, you are constant aware of its presence, makes it very personal..!

The “1968” is very close to the original Polaris on the wrist, if you close your eyes – the only thing missing is the “bump” from the rotor of the Calibre 825…

The upside compared with the original is that you don’t need to be afraid of your watch around water!

These are still my favourites among all the modern Memovox but I fear that once I see the Memovox Timer in the metal, I might change my mind…

Stay tuned for more Memovox reports!