Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces The Polaris Mariner: A Pair Of Serious ISO 6425-Rated Dive Watches Watch Releases
Historically speaking, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve had a “true” dive watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre. Sure, the maison has most recently produced the Polaris Date and the “Deep Sea” Chronograph (the latter of which was oddly rated to a paltry 100 meters, despite its rather ambitious naming convention), but if memory serves correctly, not since the Navy SEALs Automatic from 2010 has there been such a specific, purpose-built reference — that is, until now. In keeping with its late-summer release traditions, Jaeger-LeCoultre has just unveiled a pair of true, ISO-rated dive watches: the Polaris Mariner Date and the Polaris Mariner Memovox — the latter of which bears the brand’s signature alarm complication.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces The Polaris Mariner: A Pair Of Serious ISO 6425-Rated Dive Watches Watch Releases Dive watch fans might already know the parameters of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 6425 by heart, but for those who don’t, let me catch you up. In order for a watch to be formally certified under these standards, thereby earning it the right to be “officially” considered a dive watch (and thus bear the word “diver” or “diver’s watch” on the dial), it must have five key criteria: a unidirectional rotating bezel, clearly demarcated hour and minute hands, a luminous running indicator, luminous elements enabling low-light legibility, and at least 100 meters of water resistance. Now, to be fair, plenty of legitimate dive watches already meet these criteria and go on to live long, adventurous lives in and out of the water without ever undergoing the ISO testing process. So, why bother? In part, legitimate credibility is absolutely a driving factor, especially for those who might still be diving enough to demand a reliable backup. Then, there’s simple nerd cred — more likely the motivating force behind products like the ISO-rated, but gleeful instrument of luxury, the Cartier Calibre De Cartier Diver from a few years back.

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces The Polaris Mariner: A Pair Of Serious ISO 6425-Rated Dive Watches Watch Releases If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner sits somewhere between the two. JLC has always, quietly and confidently, had the engineering chops to produce truly excellent tool watches, but with the exception of the aforementioned Navy SEALs pieces, always seemed to stop just short of proving it. That attitude might have backfired a bit with the 2018 launch of the Polaris, which was flagged for its arguably lackadaisical approach to the “sport watch” discipline, with fiddly push/pull crowns, anemic power reserve, and somewhat imprecise inner rotating bezels. The Polaris’ woes appeared to continue later in the summer of 2018 when reports of some examples having been compromised by water ingress trickled through the forums. In response, Jaeger-LeCoultre quietly recalled units that had been shipped, offering complimentary servicing during which the seals were upgraded and the service warranty increased for new owners. (If you’re buying a new Polaris, look for a yellow sticker on the caseback or check the service record to confirm the upgrades have, indeed, been performed.) All this, of course, was before JLC dramatically increased its warranty on all its watches to an impressive eight years.

Drama aside, I always have and will continue to love the standard time-only Polaris for all that it represents: gorgeous case lines and impressive movement finishing and architecture paired with minimal, but beautifully detailed, dials that withstand the scrutiny of even intense magnification. The Polaris is the ultimate “GADA” (Go-Anywhere-Do-Anything) watch, yet a portrait of restraint that really comes to life as the sum of its parts. Perhaps most importantly, it represents a sporting watch whose hallmarks finally felt like they fit the incredible history and legacy of the brand whose name was spread across its dial at 12 o’clock. But unlike the time-only Polaris, the 2018 Polaris Date, and the Polaris Memovox — with their upsized cases, 200 meters of water resistance, and deep-sea diver helmet caseback engravings — felt aspirational at best, and maybe ornamental at worst, being neither true diver nor GADA.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces The Polaris Mariner: A Pair Of Serious ISO 6425-Rated Dive Watches Watch Releases That all changes with the new Mariner collection, where Jaeger-LeCoultre reminds us that the brand is not only capable of producing an exceptional tool watch but an exceptionally good-looking one, as well — because let’s be honest, the Navy SEALs pieces, while quite cool, never felt like a product mature enough to be a part of a brand widely considered to be “the watchmaker’s watchmaker.

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The purpose-built Mariner is available in two configurations: first as a time and date (ref. Q9068180) that bears all the signatures of an ISO-rated dive watch — a unidirectional ratcheting inner bezel controlled by the screw-down crown at 2 o’clock, clearly differentiated and luminous hour and minute hands, a luminous running seconds indicator, and plenty of water resistance (300 meters, which is triple the base ISO requirement).  One feature of note in the new crown system for the Mariner is a series of cautionary orange bands that can be seen when the crown is unscrewed, alerting the wearer to lock things down before entering the water.

Specifications: Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date (ref. Q9068180)

Dimensions: 42mm-wide, 13.9mm-thick
Water Resistance: 300 meters
Case Material: stainless steel with sapphire caseback
Crystal/Lens: sapphire
Movement: Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 899
Frequency: 4Hz
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Strap/Bracelet: H-link stainless steel bracelet
Price & Availability: $11,000 USD

Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces The Polaris Mariner: A Pair Of Serious ISO 6425-Rated Dive Watches Watch Releases The Polaris Mariner is also available as a Memovox, Jaeger LeCoultre’s signature alarm movement. This reference (Q9038180) maintains the same 42mm size, water-resistance, and enhanced ISO-rated design signatures of the date variant, including the crown warnings and gorgeous blue sunray dial inner and grained perimeter. Like the standard Calibre 956-powered Memovox, the Mariner’s operation is pretty standard: one additional crown (bringing its total to three, just like the original) winds the alarm, which can then be set by rotating the center disc to the desired hour of the alert. Click here to listen to the alarm for yourself, which you’ll notice sounds a lot more like a school or firehouse bell than the buzzing “cricket” style more commonly found in mechanical alarms.

Specifications: Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox (ref. Q9038180)

Dimensions:42mm-wide, 15.6mm-thick
Water Resistance: 300 meters
Case Material: Stainless steel
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire crystal / exhibition caseback
Movement: Calibre 956
Frequency: 4 Hz
Power Reserve: 45 hours
Strap/Bracelet: H-link stainless steel bracelet
Price & Availability: $17,600

Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces The Polaris Mariner: A Pair Of Serious ISO 6425-Rated Dive Watches Watch Releases The purposeful Polaris Mariner won’t replace the standard Polaris but rather supplement it, giving Jaeger-LeCoultre fans a more clear-cut path to choose between a true, no-holds-barred dive watch and its more contemporary, lifestyle-inspired counterpart — not unlike getting the AMG Sport Package for your Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Thankfully, neither of the Polaris Mariner watches is slated to be a limited edition and will be made available to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s full retail network, both physical and online. Once again, the prices are $11,000 for the Mariner Date on bracelet, and $17.600 for the Mariner Memovox on bracelet. For more, head to jaeger-lecoultre.com.


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