Sounds of the Tide: Jaeger-LeCoultre Launches the Polaris Mariner Collection

Jaeger-LeCoultre is well known for its wide variety of impressive collections. From the Master Control to the iconic Reverso, to the stationary Atmos clock, the manufacture is rich in terms of historical watchmaking inspiration. Now, Jaeger-LeCoultre is working to elevate one its most interesting and notable designs, unveiling the new Polaris Mariner collection. The new collection is an extension of the brand’s existing Polaris family, which has been revitalized over the past few years — incorporating some distinct upgrades including new movements, colors, and design elements. 

The Mariner collection consists of two new models: the Polaris Mariner Memovox— which is the most modern edition of the brand’s historical divers’ alarm watch released in 1968— and the Polaris Mariner Date, which is a similar, albeit alarm-less, super-compressor-style dive watch.

Polaris Mariner Memovox

The silhouette of the Polaris Mariner Memovox is likely familiar to fans of the modern Memovox diver, particularly those found in the non-Mariner Polaris collection. The 42-mm case is constructed of high-grade steel, with satin and polished finishing on its angled lugs, and polished finishing only for the rounded bezel. On the watch’s side are three screw-down crowns, each accented with orange strips that may double for sealants: one for adjusting the time, another for moving the internal 60-minute diving bezel, and the third for adjusting and activating the built-in mechanical alarm that lends the Memovox its name (“voice of memory”).

Underneath the sapphire crystal is a striking, gradient dial. On its outer edge is the aforementioned inner diving bezel, itself informed by the historical super-compressor dive watches of the 1960s; this bezel uses white and orange accents throughout, punctuated at each 15-minute mark. Closer to the center of the dial, the gradient effect becomes more prominent, with the color changing from a dark midnight blue to lighter ocean tones. Applied markers indicate most hour positions, with three of the quarter hours (6, 9, and 12) using Arabic numerals, the 3 o’clock opting for a small date window, and the others using a trapezoidal indexes. At the center of the dial we find the rotating alarm disk, also with a gradient style, outlined by a white minute ring, and peaked by an orange-outlined triangle.

Passing over the triple textured dial are two skeletonized sword hands for the hour and minute, while an interestingly slim pointer counts the seconds. This seconds hand’s unusual design features a tapered end, a small rectangle at its center, and an orange-painted tip. Powering these hands is the revitalized, in-house Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 956, capable of a 45-hour power reserve, and which for the first time will strike the sides of the case, rather than the back, to generate its alarm noise. This change is significant, as it allows the Memovox, for the first time, to include a sapphire caseback to display its well-finished inner workings.

Polaris Mariner Date

The non-alarm version of the watch, the Polaris Mariner Date, has a similar design, albeit with some key differences. The case, while still 42 mm, lacks the third crown used for the alarm functionality and is slightly slimmer in profile: 13.92 mm compared to the 15.63 mm needed to accommodate the Memovox’s alarm-equipped movement. The layout of the dial is virtually identical, featuring the three distinct sections—curved diving bezel, outer gradient sector, and inner gradient sector— and once again using the various finishing textures including graining, gloss, and sunray. However, the central sector obviously lacks the alarm-setting ring, replacing that rotating disk with a stationary scale.  

Inside the Polaris Mariner Date is the latest version of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 899, which notably includes an upgraded power-reserve performance of 70-hours. The automatic caliber is finished in the same style as that of the alarm model’s 956 and is also visible behind a sapphire caseback. It’s worth noting that both the alarm and non-alarm versions of the watch feature a 300-meter water resistance, even with their sapphire casebacks — a sign that the brand has taken the extra steps to ensure the ISO 6425 compliance required of true diving watches.

In Context

The new Polaris Mariner collection is a new and interesting take on the historical Polaris and Polaris Memovox designs. In the context of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s recent efforts, the brand has placed a significant emphasis on producing more models that appeal to a larger mass audience, beyond the iconic Reverso, and this new collection may be posed to do just that. Significantly more expensive than the previous Polaris series, the Mariner collection represents an elevation in both luxury and utility.

The Polaris Mariner collection was notably launched with acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch as its primary ambassador, with Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiling the short film, “In a Breath” featuring the performer and placing a focus on the elegant yet exhilarating nature of passing time and living in the moment. These themes are executed throughout the style of the watch, from its cool blue tones to its various gradient finishes to its underwater functionality.

Further, while the Polaris Memovox collection is steeped in historical intrigue, this latest reintroduction of the watch, with its updated name and less emphasis on its vintage influences, hint at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s forward-looking attitude toward this series — one that will likely include some significant follow-ups in the months and years to come.

The new Polaris Mariner models are available now directly through Jaeger-LeCoultre, with the Polaris Mariner Memovox priced at $17,600, and the Polaris Mariner Date retailing for more than a third less, at $11,100.

To learn more, you can visit Jaeger-LeCoultre’s website, here.

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