Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Polaris Chronograph WT is a fantastic watch, it does everything to perfection, and it combines the chronograph function with a very functional world time display. It’s large at 44 mm, but it wears smaller, it’s only 12.5 mm thick, and the use of titanium makes it pleasantly light – lighter than the Polaris Automatic in stainless steel. 100 metres water resistance makes it a great sports watch. The size of the case is justified by the need to provide space for the cities and ensure that they are legible.
Case with differentiated polished and brushed finish
The case is based on the 1968 Memovox Polaris, which was so minimalist that Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers didn’t have to do much to update it. It features a narrow bezel so as to maximise dial space, slim crowns and discreet chronograph pushers. The case has an attractive combination of satin and polished finish.
The dial has some references to the original Memovox Polaris, with differentiated finish in the various sections. The chronograph arrangement is perfect, with a continuous, uninterrupted seconds scale subdivided into quarter seconds, and a red-tipped chronograph seconds hand. A nice touch is how the red section corresponds exactly to the ring of grained finish on the dial. The two subdials are for 30 chronograph minutes and 12 chronograph hours. There is no continuous seconds, but as the chronograph is of the column wheel plus vertical clutch type, you can just leave it running and use the chronograph seconds hand for running seconds. No extra wear and tear on the movement. The hour and minute hands are faceted with a central area for the SuperLuminova, and the hour numerals and indices are also luminescent.
Practical world time function
I think that the designers have excelled in their treatment of the world time function. The external cities ring is controlled by the crown at 10 o’clock. It shows the conventional 24 time zones, with lines and triangles indicating summer time in the respective cities. Inside this ring, the 24-hour ring then enables you to immediately see the time in any other time zone. A neat and unusual feature is the indicator linked to the 24-hour ring that enables you to set up the watch with precision, aligning the hour hand with this needle running across the face of the watch.
Chronograph movement with column wheel and vertical clutch
The movement is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 752A, a modified version of the 752 that appears in the Polaris Chronograph also introduced this year. It is self-winding, running at 28,800 vibrations per hour, with two barrels providing 65 hours power reserve. As I mentioned, it has a column wheel and vertical clutch, arguably the finest chronograph arrangement, ensuring precise pusher operation without the need to exert excessive pressure, no wobble of the chronograph seconds hand when starting the chrono, and no problems of extra wear if you leave the chronograph running. In the latter case, you can pull out the crown to stop the balance – a hacking seconds function for when you are using the chronograph seconds hand for running seconds.
You can see the movement through the caseback, with its tungsten oscillating weight mounted on ceramic bearings for extended times between maintenance operations, and the usual haute horlogerie finish.
Easy strap change
Another feature that Jaeger-LeCoultre have got right is the quick-release springbar for the strap. The brand makes a range of straps so you can personalize the watch as you wish. The titanium case and black dial will go with any colour; the blue dial version is perhaps best with the natural leather colours but the purchaser can enjoy himself trying out different combinations and giving the watch a different look from one day to the next. The straps have double deployant clasps in stainless steel. There is also a three-link bracelet.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph WT in titanium costs €14,700, except for the version with an alligator strap that costs €14,800. The reference is 905T470 with alligator strap, 905T471 with leather strap. Jaeger-LeCoultre is a brand that offers exceptional quality, in-house movements and seamless design at prices that are nearly always lower than other comparable brands. Personally I think that this watch is a winner, truly a highlight of SIHH 2018. Read more on the Jaeger-LeCoultre website.