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As one of the more identifiable models from the history of Jaeger-LeCoultre, the 1968 version is also one of the rarest. Less than 2,000 were produced in the original run although there have been multiple Memovox (sans Polaris) reissues over the years, most recently in 2016 with a boutique edition of 500 set within the Master Collection.
This year, however, marks the 50th anniversary of the very specific Memovox Polaris and Jaeger-LeCoultre Men's Replica chose to honor this golden jubilee with the launch of the new Polaris Collection based entirely off the original alarm replica watch’s design but extended into different arenas such as chronographs, worldtimers, and time-only models.
This new Polaris Memovox (Jaeger-LeCoultre switched the Polaris identifier in front of Memovox in accordance with the collection’s name) functions similarly to the 1968 model. Three crowns offer control over the alarm function and time setting. The first crown allows you to wind the alarm function and then set the alarm and date when it’s pulled out, the middle crown doesn’t pull out and allows you to adjust the bidirectional inner rotating bezel, and the lower crown is the one that allows you to adjust the time.
With the crowns, it’s worth noting that despite the nautical provenance of the original Memovox Polaris, and the fact that it is rated for a water resistance of 200 meters, none of the crowns are actual screw-down crowns. This, and the fact that the replica watch features a bidirectional bezel, means that it is not ISO-compliant so it should never be used for any sort of scuba diving.
This is neither a good or a bad thing. Overall, the new Polaris Collection allows Jaeger-LeCoultre to embrace a sportier side that it has lacked over the past few years. With the focus on building out the Master line plus the dominating presence of the Reverso, there hasn’t been much room for the growth of the luxury sports segment within the Jaeger-LeCoultre catalog. In that regard, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox Replica is not a dive replica watch but is a sports replica watch with a dive heritage that can be positioned at the head of the greater Polaris Collection.
The alarm rings once the hour hand passes it by, making it difficult to set to the exact minute. In this image, the alarm is set to ring a few minutes after 7:00.
When setting the alarm function, which is indicated by the arrow on the center dial, you must align the marker with wherever the hour hand will pass it by, a difficult task to do to the exact minute. After being fully wound and properly set, the alarm goes off for around 15 seconds, emitting a deep, guttural growl of a ring rather than the harsh, high-pitched, screeching buzz you might be used to if you’ve been around other alarm models. It’s a pleasant ringing that has a much fuller sound than that of your typical alarm clock. There was more than one time in the week that I wore the replica watch, that after forgetting I had set the alarm earlier in the day, I was awakened after dozing off on the couch by its persistent yet gentle, loud yet soft, alarm.
Another distinguishing trait of the Polaris Memovox is the distinctive dial architecture with its mix of various finishes across the three concentric circles. There’s a smooth opaline finish on the inner rotating bezel that is complemented by a grained finish where the applied Arabic numerals and trapezoidal indexes that are filled with a pool of “faux-patina,” vanilla-colored SuperLuminova are set, and a snailed finish across the minute-track. Finally, the inner circle with the alarm indicator features a sunray finish. This set of finishing is, as mentioned, directly inspired by the 1968 Memovox Polaris and is the dominating trend throughout the greater Polaris Collection, connecting the line of six timepieces together.