An in depth review on the Jaeger Lecoultre Polaris Memovox Mariner.

Feb 08, 2021,23:01 PM
 



A few months ago, I posted my first feelings and thoughts on the Polaris Memovox Mariner, when the official pictures were unveiled. 

I was impatient to discover it in real life, to see if my first positive reaction was the good one. 

Indeed, the real experience is the only way to appreciate the proportions of the whole watch, its dial, and how you feel it, when it is between your hands or on your wrist. 

That's what we'll see, now. 

1/ The raison d'être of the Polaris Memovox Mariner:

Some will say that the Polaris Memovox Mariner is just another Polaris with a different dial. I strongly disagree with that statement. 

Indeed, when the Tribute to Polaris 1965 and 1968 were issued in 2008, the purpose was to pay an sensuous homage to one of Jaeger Lecoultre icons.The vintage touch was the key factor of this watch, with its hyper domed plexy, and the strong color of the indices ( for the 1968 version ). These two versions stuck to the original in the closest way. The only modern part of the watch was the movement, the Cal 956, which was first used in the Tribute to Polaris. 



With the Polaris Memovox 50th Anniversary, the icon has been deeply revisited, with a new case, new crowns, a different case back, revisited applied numbers and indices, new hands, a sapphire glass, and a different treatment of the dial, while the movement stays the same. So, yes, the idea behind this version is to get a modern iteration of the cult watch. 



The Polaris Memovox Mariner goes farther in the modernity of the iconic diving watch, as it is the first Polaris to respect the Iso Norms such as an unidirectional bezel via a screw-in crown located at 3 o clock, different colors for the hours and minutes hands, and a water resistance of 300 meters now, instead of 200 meters, before ( while the Iso Norms require a minimum of 100 meters ). The former Polaris share two other Iso exigences with this new version: The running movement indicator and the luminosity in dark conditions. 

So we can say that this new Polaris Memovox Mariner is a real and modern  diving watch, as it respects all the Iso norms, hence the " diving " mention on the alarm disc. 


2/ The aesthetics of the new Polaris Memovox Mariner:

When you read the characteristics of the Polaris Memovox Mariner, you can wonder if it is harmonious or if it is not a bit too chunky. Indeed, with a 42 mm big and 15, 6 mm thick case, the question is relevant. 


In the metal, the answer is evident. The watch, although big and thick, is not too chunky. The secret? The thickness has been measured including the sapphire glass, which is 2, 3 mm high, and the case back, which is 2 mm thick. Once in your hands or on your wrist, it is well proportioned, better than on the paper! 




You will admire the generous bevels on the lugs. As for the lugs, I wonder if they are not a tad slimmer than on the 50th Anniversary. I will have to try to ask Jaeger Lecoultre to show me both models and to take a side by side picture, just to check that point. 

The three crowns are well integrated to the case, not too small nor too big, and nicely decorated. 


Only the crown at three o' clock, dedicated to the internal turning bezel, is screwed. Unscrewed, an orange ring is appearing, warning you that you have to screw the crown in order to protect the watch against the intrusion of water before diving. 

The other important part of the watch is, of course, the dial. The biggest concern with a blue dial is that the pictures can suggest, sometimes, a different hue than in reality. In the official pictures, I found it cool looking, but maybe a bit flat. In reality, I was totally convinced and seduced. The combination of these different hues of blue, white and small touches of orange is really working, at least for me. We are far from a flashy outcome. 

The other major difference between this Polaris and the former ones... The case back, which is now a see through one, allowing to see the movement. 



Here, I am a bit more dubitative. On the negative side, 2 points: 

- I don't see the point to have a see through case back in a serious diving watch. 

- I don't see the interest of having a see through case back when there is nothing exceptional to see ( movement ). 

On the positive side, two points: 

- The see through case back is a first for a Polaris. So, why not? 

- At least you can see the hammer beating when the alarm is working, which is quite entertaining.

3/ The question of the Bracelet:

I am not a bracelet fan, but here I find it is quite nice. Simple, sober, it suggests the " tool watch character " of the Polaris, which is a good point. The other good point is that this bracelet is very pleasant and comfortable to wear. 

Now I regret two things: 

- The fact that we don't have the choice between this bracelet and a strap. It would have been great to have a Canvas strap, a navy blue one, with such a watch. Or a rubber! 

Please, Jaeger Lecoultre, take this suggestion in consideration, pretty please! 

- I also regret that this bracelet doesn't have a quick system to remove it. 

But, once again, this bracelet is really good looking and its design goes very well with this Polaris. 


4/ The movement:

The Cal 956 had to receive a new architecture for the peripheral gong and the hammer, due to the fact that the case back is not solid anymore but in sapphire.



 As you can see, the rotor is in tungsten, which is not a true novelty since the different movements of the Polaris line received it in 2018. 



I like the Cal 956 a lot. Introduced in 2008, it was a major improvement compared to the former Cal 918, offering for the first time ( if we exclude the Cal 912 introduced two years before ) a quick set of the date! 

I just regret that Jaeger Lecoultre didn't take the opportunity of this new Polaris Memovox Mariner to offer a longer power reserve to their Cal 956, while they made it for the Cal 899, for example. The Cal 956 still has the 44 hours power reserve and a classic escapement, while the Cal 899 received a silicon escapement allowing a power reserve of 70 hours. 

While we are at it, I find the alarm of the new Polaris Memovox Mariner to be more crystalline, but a tad lower, compared to the former ones. The impact of a see through case back, or of the peripheral gong? 

CONCLUSION: 

I will say it straight, the new Jaeger Lecoultre Polaris Memovox Mariner is a watch I like a lot. A true Polaris, a nice modernized icon, technical, fresh and young looking. 

I love the dial, the new hands, and these colors in the dark. 



I am pleased by the fact that it is not a limited edition, too. 

While I find the bracelet very pleasant to see and comfortable to wear, I regret the absence of choice and the fact that there is no strap available ( for the moment ) for that watch. 


Now I regret that the crowns for the alarm ( at 2 o'clock ) and the time ( at 4 o' clock ) are not screw-in, and that the case back still has these 4 tiny screws ( I would have much preferred a true screw-in case back. But I can live with those points, as long as the water resistance is efficient. 


No, my major issue with this watch is... Its price: At more than 17, 000 Euros, I find it way too high. And that bugs me a lot, as I really love that watch! 

Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts, 

Best.

Nicolas


More posts: 918Jaeger LeCoultreMemovoxPolaris 1965Porsche

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Comments: view entire thread

 

Great post

 
 By: Cookies : February 8th, 2021-23:13
Wow it’s been a while since you’ve done a detailed post like this. I remembered all the wonderful posts you’ve written. I like the contrasting lume and the tungsten rotor. I like this piece but feel they priced it out of my reach (for it’s specs and mater... 

I’ve lived with this watch for some months now.

 
 By: fuigo : February 8th, 2021-23:26
I 100% agree to your assessments on the physicality of this watch. On paper, it may seem chunky, but on the wrist it feels just right. I also think it’s a shame that not all crowns are screw-in, but it’s also something I can look past. At this point of my...  

Thank you very much for the review, much appreciated

 
 By: George Gently : February 9th, 2021-02:26
The price is it's achilles heel. The competition starts to get really interesting in this price bracket. Too interesting for this good looking JLC. Regards, George

A good alternative would be the polaris mariner date at 11k usd (per their website)..

 
 By: Echi : February 9th, 2021-03:11
Same ISO rating/improvements sans alarm. Would you know if their bracelets come with micro adjust? I think this should be the new standard already for bracelets along with quick removal a la VC or Cartier. And, yes, no harm in throwing in a rubber strap a... 

Thanks Nicolas, for the wonderful post. I too find this watch beautiful and pricey at the same time.

 
 By: Monopole : February 9th, 2021-03:41
Still holding out for our own special edition... :0)

In total agreement.

 
 By: amanico : February 10th, 2021-02:42

I have been waiting for this my friend, wonderful review.

 
 By: aperna : February 9th, 2021-05:00
I agree with all of your salient points. Some of these I have shared with my own PM 50th anniversary edition. However this is certainly a most beautiful time piece that I would love to have but not at this price point. I would imagine that the sapphire ba... 

thanks for the detailed review, and more importantly, your opinion...

 
 By: hoseachandra : February 9th, 2021-06:09
Based on true wearing experience. So we can trust it, not by paper description. I like the color scheme, the case shape and the overall look. Certainly I will get this if I'm in the market for a diver.....instead of Sub or Planet Ocean...but not for that ... 

Thank you very much for the detailed review.

 
 By: Reuven Malter : February 9th, 2021-07:51
I too think that the blue is fantastic, yet my major critique is that it looks too modern comparing to their other offerings within the lineup. It maybe is just about the orange color, but maybe about the numerals or whatever as well. Thanks for the revie... 

Looks great, thanks for the review! These on the wrist photos are more compelling than the marketing shots. I don't know about the price for the memovox version but the date version seems fairly priced

 
 By: Fastwong : February 9th, 2021-08:30
The date version priced at something in between a Rolex and a Blancpain seems fair. Of the close competitors like the Sub/Seadweller, SeaQ, Planet Ocean, and Bathyscaphe imho JLC has produced the best looking of the bunch and I look forward to seeing wher... 

Great review!

 
 By: descartes1 : February 9th, 2021-10:14
I think this would be a super cool summer watch on a white rubber strap. (Perhaps a more interesting alternative to the AP Diver). Also, I’m a fan of the clear caseback in this instance because seeing the alarm hammer in action is such a novelty.

Nice review mon ami 👍

 
 By: holdemchamp1225 : February 9th, 2021-11:40

Merci, Justin.

 
 By: amanico : February 10th, 2021-10:27

😉👍🙏

 
 By: holdemchamp1225 : February 10th, 2021-11:36

Appreciate...

 
 By: bruckner4 : February 9th, 2021-16:45
the fine review. Pretty hot piece.

Yes, agreed.

 
 By: amanico : February 10th, 2021-10:27

Great looking JLC, Nico, thank you

 
 By: Brandon Skinner : February 9th, 2021-23:01
If I’m being honest, just about no one will use this for its actual purposes, so in my personal view a sapphire caseback to see the action is an upgrade. My only wish, which is also incongruent for it’s true purpose is that it had the “School Bell” ring (... 

The fact that it has the beautiful ring adds many points in my book

 
 By: Brandon Skinner : February 10th, 2021-12:52
Thanks for the clarification my friend!

My pleasure, Brandon.

 
 By: amanico : February 10th, 2021-13:58

non-screw down crown

 
 By: Joe90 : February 10th, 2021-13:35
Yours is the first hands-on or review that I've read mentioning the non-screw-down top and bottom crowns. Maybe this is legacy but I wonder why they choose to do this? Secondly I wonder why other sites/reviews fail to mention this? As a casual skin-diver ... 

Total mess

 
 By: sbonazza : February 13th, 2021-08:15
This watch is a total mess as most of the polaris reissues, quick list : - price is insane for sucjba product - case back show a downgraded caliber - screw down internal bezel only, the other crowns ? - lame color choice - no diving dna nor siprit It s a ... 

Your opinion. Welcome here!

 
 By: amanico : February 13th, 2021-09:58

I hadn't heard about quality issues. What kinds of issues have been occurring?

 
 By: Fastwong : February 13th, 2021-18:44
I've heard about issues with the calendar chronos, curious to hear is there is a recurring issue with the mariners. Is it just the memovox or the date version as well? Quality issues would objectively be a problem. Your other issues seem subjective? Total... 

Total mess II

 
 By: sbonazza : February 15th, 2021-00:48
A french AD told me there was a recall (dial issue) on the mariner, and to be honest and objective there are design issues, cost cutting decision and no respect to polaris history. the memovox reissued were more faithful. For me the case study is Blancpai... 

Interesting you bring up the Bathyscaphe, in looking at the Mariner, the Bathyscaphe was the first thing to come to mind

 
 By: Fastwong : February 15th, 2021-10:40
The Bathyscaphe on a bracelet is a few thousand more than the Mariner (date) but with that comes a feeling of less compromise on the quality at least as far as the movement goes. I definitely agree with of your points and I'm not trading my Blancpain in f... 

Love this design...

 
 By: Mostel : February 15th, 2021-15:50
I wish it was more... svelte? And the reports here and there of QC, customer service issues and timekeeping issues give me pause... of course all brands have these issues but maybe by 'coincidence' I have seen more posts about JLC... But I LOVE IT, LOVE I...