The watchmaker of watchmakers, Jaeger-LeCoultre, elevates the sporty-chic Polaris inside and out.
Meet not one but two new faces of the historic Polaris Chronograph, now powered by a new movement. Embodying both the robustness required of a sports watch and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s distinctively elegant aesthetic, the Polaris line is an homage to the Maison’s emblematic diving watches of the 1960s, and the latest iteration reflects this sporting spirit.
At once, the new lacquered dials add texture and depth that is not only visually striking but also showcases the Manufacture’s exceptional artisanal skills. Don’t be fooled by the Polaris Chronograph’s strong, clean lines; the dial is a complex construction. Encircled by an outer ring marked with the tachymeter scale, the central disc and the middle ring with the hour markers display an artful colour gradation of the lacquer from light to dark. Achieving this effect requires not only time but also dexterity and control from the in-house artisans, to ensure that the shade and gradient on the two sections match. Each layer of coating is manually applied, starting from a clear coat of varnish, followed by a layer of colour, then 35 coats of translucent lacquer for depth and richness. The process concludes with polishing the components to a bright mirror finish.
Bold yet refined, the two new dials speak to different characters: The deep blue channels elegance, while the new shade of warm grey reveals a sportier side of the Polaris. This fresh interpretation comes five years after Jaeger-LeCoultre revived the historic Polaris series in 2018 with a modern take, making it a choice sporting complication for everyday adventurers.
The new dial of the Polaris Chronograph is pleasing to the eye not just for the incredible lacquered dial, but also its timeless and intuitive layout. A central chronograph seconds hand that allows for more precise reading is balanced by the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, while the sub-dial at 9 o’clock – a notable change from its predecessor – animates the dial with a running seconds display. The circular graining of these sub-dials adds contrast to the high gloss of the lacquered surfaces and the opaline finish of the outer ring, while orange accents highlight key indications and skeletonised hands provide greater visibility of the indications. Bold trapezoid-shaped indexes balance the fine detail of the chronograph displays, aligning with the contemporary Polaris design codes. Finally, there is also what one would expect from a sports watch – luminescent coating on the indexes, numerals and the tips of the hands enhances legibility in all light conditions.
Wearability and beauty are perfectly balanced here. The alluring dial is enclosed in a 42mm steel case that fits comfortably on the wrist, and embodies key Polaris design codes: taut lines, sharply curving lugs, a thin bezel, a glass-box crystal, a large crown that’s a signature of the 1960s model that inspired the contemporary Polaris line, and robust pushers for better grip and ease of use.
Beneath its impressive exterior lies the in-house Calibre 761 with an integrated chronograph mechanism that perfectly displays Jaeger-LeCoultre’s approach to watchmaking, where high performance meets mechanical elegance. Revealed through its sapphire crystal caseback, the fully integrated chronograph movement powered by twin barrels, features a column-wheel chronograph
mechanism with vertical clutch and a 65-hour power reserve. Designed and made within its own Manufacture at Le Sentier, in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux, the Polaris Chronograph is finished with blued screws and Côtes de Genève decoration on the baseplate as well as the signature open-worked winding rotor bearing the ‘JL’ motif.
Discussing the versatility of the new additions would not be complete without mention of the interchangeable strap system. Each watch comes with a pair of interchangeable straps enabled by a folding buckle: the blue dial comes with a steel bracelet and a blue rubber strap bearing a textured ‘Clous de Paris’ pattern, while the grey dial is accompanied by a beige canvas strap and a similarly textured black rubber strap.
Images courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.