Sometimes, simple is best. Forget countless spinning subdials and distracting case shapes. Forget straps woven from rare materials and exotic leathers. Forget wild colourways and dizzying dial decorations. We just want a well-made watch that does a job, and looks good doing so. And Jaeger-LeCoultre’s latest limited edition of its Polaris Date is here to answer our prayers.
The new watch from the manufacture combines high-watchmaking expertise with contemporary proportions, vintage design motifs and several important aesthetic changes. Any watch aficionado will recognise that it takes inspiration from the iconic 1970 Polaris II — but with some choice updates.
The dial, for example, is now hand-lacquered with a blue double-gradient. The sunrayed, grained and opaline finish, unique to this special model, shows both the skill of the craftsmen and the commendable restraint of the designers. Make no mistake, there is incredible technical ability at play here — the central disc and main dial incorporate a colour-change effect that shimmers from deep turquoise to a brilliant royal blue — but these touches never feel showy.
Instead, this watch feels functional. Those elongated Arabaic numerals, trapezoidal hour markers and baton-style hands — signatures of the Polaris collection — are easily legible and all treated with Super-LumiNova to be useful in even the lowest-lit scenarios. The blue rubber Clous de Paris strap, also unique to the model, is pleasingly reliable; colour-matched to the inner bezel and ready for any extreme conditions that may be thrown at it.
And this limited Jaeger-LeCoultre wants to be thrown into extreme conditions. That case, hewn from stainless steel, not only incorporates brushed and hand-polished surfaces — but also protects the calibre from water up to 200 metres below the surface.
It’s a calibre worth protecting, too. The self-winding movement delivers all the precision and craftsmanship you’d expect from the maison, faithfully keeping the seconds, minutes, hours and date and offering the wearer an impressive power reserve of 38 hours. On the closed caseback, multiple engravings attest to the technical achievements of this watch — from the SCUBA certification to a ‘1000 HOURS CONTROL’ imprint; proof that the watch has undergone over 40 continuous days of rigorous testing.
The final engraving, however, may be the most important. It reads ‘Limited Edition — One of 800’. And herein lies the real understated charm of this Polaris: Jaeger-LeCoultre has produced an incredibly well-constructed, small-run, meticulously designed timepiece, but it’s not flaunting that fact. It knows we want a Polaris to simply do a job — and the brand has made it their first and only objective to deliver.
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