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In 1947, Vulcain altered horology by creating the world's first ever wrist alarm, the Cricket. Its success would lead to a bevy of wrist-mounted alarm watches from numerous brands.
Jaeger-LeCoultre was one of those brands, but their approach to the wrist alarm perfected the concept and their offering, the Memovox, released in 1950, formed new benchmark for the class. Like the Cricket, the Memovox employed a twin-crown system (the top crown to wind and set the alarm, the bottom winding and setting the time), but was differentiated by a unique alarm mechanism: a hammer that struck a post welded directly to the case back, unlike the Cricket, which uses a resonant dual case back design. With this innovation, JLC set itself apart, and created one of the most iconic models of post-war watchmaking.
JLC quickly realized that their design was ripe for adaptation and began exploring different applications. In 1959, JLC released the Deep Sea Alarm which made waves as the first automatic wrist alarm designed to be worn under water.
Rated to a depth of 200 meters, the Deep Sea Alarm was unmatched by any other manufacturer until Vulcain released the Cricket Nautical in 1961. Two versions were released of the Deep Sea Alarm: one, for the European market, bore the full name of Jaeger-LeCoultre but lacked "Deep Sea Alarm" on the dial. The U.S. version, however, marketed under the name LeCoultre, bore the model name: "Deep Sea Alarm Automatic."
Following the Deep Sea Alarm, JLC released the Polaris in 1968. Like the Deep Sea Alarm, the Polaris was a wrist alarm, but it was housed in a three-layered compressor case similar to those manufactured by EPSA. The Polaris had two case backs--one with holes bored in it to provide better acoustics for the alarm, and another inside it that formed a watertight seal. Inside of that was an additional inner layer of bronze, to magnify the sound of the alarm.
The Polaris was rare, with only 1714 pieces being produced. Existing examples that find their way on the vintage marketplace often suffer from signs of wear, particularly in the bezels. Many a collector dreams of finding one in excellent condition, but those examples are few and far between.
Fortunately for us, JLC re-released the Polaris in 2008. JLC is no stranger to reissues, with its Reverso Tribute to 1931 (and its U.S.-only limited edition) or the Geophysic 1958 proving to be great successes among collectors of modern watches and vintage enthusiasts alike. The Tribute to Polaris was no less well-received, and enjoyed a limited production run of 768 pieces, making those that surface on the market more rare--and perhaps no less desirable--than the iconic watch upon which they were based.
Stainless Steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crowns). Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956 Automatic Alarm Movement. Circa 2008.
Overall Condition: Stainless Steel case is in very good condition throughout, with only light signs of wear on the case back. Dial and handset are in like-new condition. JLC hatched crowns operate as designed. Internal bi-directional rotating bezel moved smoothly without resistance or skipping. 8:00/2:00 quickset functions smoothly. #512/768
Includes original 22mm Jaeger-Lecoultre leather embossed strap with steel pin buckle. Also includes original JLC outer and inner boxes, booklets and paperwork.