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INTRODUCING: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new Polaris Chronograph (Refs. Q9028181 & Q902843J)

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph Ref. Q902843J.

The sports watch with a difference comes with two new refined dials, lending a touch of luxe.

Jaeger-LeCoultre may be best known for their dressier and more technical timepieces like the Reverso or the Master Control. We tend to overlook their sporty Polaris collection, with sturdy and robust everyday watches for their well-heeled clientele. The Polaris combines the practical functions of a sports watch with its distinctively elegant aesthetic. Towards the tail end of 2023, the Maison released two new chronograph models endowed with rich lacquered dials for a subtle touch of luxe and interchangeable straps for a quick swap in style and attitude.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph Ref. Q9028181 with blue lacquered dial.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph Ref. Q9028181 with blue lacquered dial.

The new Polaris Chronograph models celebrate the design codes that make this vintage-flavoured collection so well-loved – the 42mm steel case features taut lines, sharply curving lugs, a thin bezel, a glass-box crystal and a blend of brushed and polished surfaces. A large crown and pushers, a throwback from the 1960s model that inspired the Polaris, ensure better grip and ease of use.

A look at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph Q902843J on the wrist.
A look at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph Q902843J on the wrist.

The lacquered deep blue and warm grey (new for JLC) dials are the most arresting aspects of the chronographs. They are composed of a central disc, a middle ring to which the hour markers are applied, and an outer ring marked with a tachymeter scale. On both the central disc and the hours ring, the graduated blue and grey hues add great visual depth and are possible only through a lengthy and exacting process. It begins with the application of a clear coat of varnish, followed by a layer of colour, which is challenging because of the control required to perfect the shade and the gradient. Thirty-five coats of translucent lacquer add richness to these stunning lacquer dials, something not often seen in sports watches.

A close look at the dial of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph (2023).
A close look at the dial of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph (2023).

The dial layout is timeless and intuitive to read, with a central chronograph seconds hand that's coupled with a 30-minute totaliser at 3 o’clock. The sub-dial at 9 o’clock offers a running-seconds display. The circular graining of these sub-dials adds contrast to the glossy finish of the lacquered surfaces and the opaline outer ring. Orange accents draw the eye to the key indications and inject dynamism into the overall composition. Skeletonised hands allow greater visibility of the indications, and trapezoid-shaped indices balance the fine details of the chronograph displays.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 761.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 761.

The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the automatic calibre 761 – a refined movement that combines high performance with mechanical elegance. Powered by twin barrels, the fully integrated chronograph movement features a column-wheel chronograph mechanism with vertical clutch and offers a 65-hour power reserve. The fine finishing includes blued screws and Côtes de Genève decoration on the baseplate as well as on the signature open-worked winding rotor bearing the ‘JL’ motif. The Polaris Chronograph with the blue dial (Ref. Q9028181) is complemented by a steel bracelet and a blue rubber strap textured with a ‘Clous de Paris’ pattern. On the other hand, the warm grey model (Ref. Q902843J) is complemented by a beige canvas strap and a similarly textured black rubber strap.

The Polaris collection is an excellent way of getting into the JLC game, so to speak, with its offering of daily-use steel watches that are relatively accessible buys for the (not so) novice collector. For anyone on the fence about becoming part of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s legions of fans, these two new models should seal the deal quite nicely.

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