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There are diver's watches, and then there are diver's watches....just as there are grail watches, and then there are grail watches.
In this rare opportunity, we are beyond delighted to be offering both at once in the form of this absolutely incredible 1968 Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Diver's Alarm watch!
Culminating in a timepiece considered by many to be the ultimate vintage diver's watch, the Polaris project was begun by Jaeger-LeCoultre in1962 after completing a limited run of early mechanical diving alarms known as the "Memovox Deep Sea Alarm". The DSA was Jaeger-LeCoultre's original answer to safely calculating dive time in the new and rapidly growing sport of SCUBA. Utilizing an automatic movement with a manually-wound alarm function that would sound off at a pre-set time, the vibration and sound would alert the diver that it was time to ascend. In the late 50s and early 60s, this was as high-tech as it came. And it is every bit as awesome a function today.
Evolving from its predecessor, the Polaris featured a "jumbo size" 42mm steel case with two piece case back designed to amplify the sound of the alarm function underwater. The Polaris also featured an internally rotating timing bezel, operated from a third crown. The Polaris was made in a limited run of 1714 examples between 1965-1970 with a few variants to the hands and dial dependent on the destination market.
Recently obtained from the private collection of a serious diving watch enthusiast, this reference E859 Polaris may very well be the finest example in existence outside of a museum. While the bulk of these timepieces were used as intended - beneath the waves - this particular example seems to have been spared the hard life, and is in breathtaking original condition. This piece features the US-Market dial which only reads "LeCoultre," arguably the most desirable and certainly the cleanest variant.
This exact Polaris was loaned to our friends at Hodinkee for a write up late last year. Be sure and check it out HERE!
We've seen a number of remaining examples beaten to hell - a charm unto its own for sure - but nothing compares to the beauty of this all-original and only very lightly patinated example.
Steel Compressor Case is approximately 42mm (excluding the crowns). JLC Reference E859. Calibre K825 mechanical automatic winding movement with manually wound mechanical alarm function. Produced in 1968.
Overall condition: Case is in excellent condition over all, showing only light signs of wear consistent with age and careful use. Unlike most remaining Polaris models, it is quite possible this example was never submerged! The original dial and hands are in fantastic condition with a lovely even patina. No chipping, cracking, scratches, spotting, or debris to make mention of - just amazing. Original outer case back has light superficial scratches consistent with wear. All three original hatched crowns are present!
Includes pictured 22mm leather-backed woven strap by Hodinkee and a selection of 22mm Nylon Straps by Crown & Buckle. Correct JB Champion steel bracelet is available but not pictured. Also comes with official Extract from the Archives of Jaeger-LeCoultre, prepared in January 2012.