2021 Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date Review

by Chamath Gamage
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Pros:

  • Graduated shades of intense blues on the dial
  • A real joy to see the redesigned calibre 899 on the case back 
  • ISO 6425 complaint proper ‘diving’ watch 

Cons:

  • Some may not be fans of the screw-in internal Bezel 
  • 42mm case size will wear large on wrists smaller than 6.5 inches
  • Some may find it pricey 

Overall Rating: 8.1/10

  • Value for money – 7.5/10
  • Wearability – 8/10
  • Design – 8.5/10
  • Build Quality – 8.5/10 

Reference : 9068180

Late last year in October 2020, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the Polaris Mariner for their Polaris collection. The Polaris Mariner is a range of high-performing diving watches that pay homage to the brand’s diving legacy and almost 100 years of knowledge and expertise on chiming watches. Jaeger-LeCoultre has introduced two watches to their sporty and elegant Polaris collection; the Polaris Mariner Memovox and Polaris Mariner Date. What we have on our hands today is the classic diving piece the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date. 

Case:

Reference : 9068180

The case on the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date is as close as it gets to the vintage 1968 Memovox Polaris. This 1968 model was the first true diving watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre, which included an internal rotating bezel, an alarm, and a triple-layer case-back for better sound transmission. With the latest Polaris Mariner Date model, the alarm and sound transmission mechanisms have been left out for the Memovox model, with the Mariner Date being the simple yet classic diving piece. 

Reference : 9068180

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date comes in a 42mm x 15.63mm stainless steel case which as mentioned feature key design codes from previous Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris cases. Some of these features include their taut lines, glass-box crystals, and a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. As the watch is branded as a high-performance timepiece, the case has been water-proofed to a depth of 300m (30 bar). Jaeger-LeCoultre has also taken precautionary measures to ensure that the watch is secured before entering the water.

Reference : 9068180

One of these measures is the crown which is used to set the notched inner-bezel. This crown is screwed down securely so as to avoid unintentional movement. In addition to this, an orange security band is also added to warn divers if the crown has not been fully screwed down. 

Design:

Jaeger-LeCoultre has used the same principles for the dial design that they did with the case. This latest Polaris model uses the same dial design cues from past models, with a touch of modernity to bring it to the 21st century. Firstly, Polaris models are known for the rich blue tones (alongside black dial variants). This latest timepiece utilises the rich deep blue colour on the dial with a sunburst finish. This blue dial, however, is unlike the others in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s current Polaris lineup. The dial has been given a gradient finish, which means that the centre of the dial is blue with the colour gradually turning to black on the outer circle (inner bezel) of the dial. 

Reference : 9068180

Other references to previous models include the three concentric circles which have been finished in different textures. Firstly the central disc (or circle) has a sunray-brushed finish, which is followed by the second circle having a subtle grain finish. The third and outer circle of the dial has an opaline finish. This outer circle as mentioned earlier is also the inner bezel, which works in the uni-directional movement. This inner bezel can be rotated by using the crown at the 2 o’clock position. 

Reference : 9068180

Other key elements of the dial include the trapezoid-shaped hour indexes which are complimented nicely with the three large Arabic numerals at the 6, 9, and 12 positions. A hint of colour is added to the dial to break up the contrast between dark and light colours, with the colour orange used sparingly along the bezel.

Reference : 9068180

Visibility in low light conditions is also enhanced thanks to the use of different colours for luminosity. To maximise divers safety, different colours are used for the hour and minute hands. The running second’s hand has been tipped in orange SuperLumiNova with a central luminescent section used to avoid confusion with other hands. 

Reference : 9068180

A simple addition of the date window is added to the 3 o’clock position, which rounds up this simple classic divers piece nicely. 

Movement:

The movement used inside the Polaris Mariner Date is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 899. The movement powers the standard hours/minutes/seconds along with the date and uni-directional rotating bezel. Decorated and assembled by hand, the calibre 899 has been around for a while, with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s engineers constantly updating it to utilise the latest performance-enhancing technology. 

Reference : 9068180

The latest Caliber 899 used on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date gives the timepiece a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. The watch also comes with an open case back in which you can see the beautifully decorated movement. The rotor has also been skeletonised so that more of the movement underneath can be seen. 

How does it wear?

On a 6.5inch (16.5cm) wrist, this 42mm watch just fits on the wrist. As there is no visible bezel on the watch but rather internal, the dial looks bigger than a 42mm. At first, you have to battle that visual sizing in your mind. With a lug to lug of 49mm and thickness of 13.92mm, Mariner date sits comfortably, thanks to its shorter lugs that contours around the wrist. I had no trouble wearing this day to night and I really got to enjoy the blue shades throughout the day as lighting changes. One thing to note is that for a certified ‘diver’ watch, this watch is surprisingly thin compared to other divers out in the market.

42mm casing on a 6.5inch (16.5cm) wrist

One thing I enjoyed with the Mariner date was the internal operation of the unidirectional bezel. To operate, you have to unscrew the crown at 2 o’clock until you see the orange ring which is an indication that the crown is open, in case you forget to screw it back in. Now, this may seem like a painstaking task for some, but for some (like me) will enjoy this function thoroughly. 

42mm casing on a 6.5inch (16.5cm) wrist

In my time with this piece, I felt it had great wrist presence. It will stand out both during the day and night thanks to the loud dial that is enhanced by the brilliant lacquer and rhodium-plated appliqués, catching the light superbly. I found the brushed/polished tri-link bracelet to be comfortable on the wrist and easy to operate and compliment the overall look of the watch. 

JLC PMD on a 6.5inch (16.5cm) wrist

Turning over the watch, I got to enjoy the redesigned calibre 899AB through the open caseback. The skeletonised oscillating weight with the JLC motif is just pure beauty to look at. 70 hours of power reserve should get you through the weekend and ready to wear at the start of the week!

Gorgeous JLC PMD case back

One thing I had a hard time adjusting to, is the price of this watch. Priced at 17,400 AUD, this diver certainly sits on the higher end of the diver’s pricing scale. I know some of us are going to compare this to the Submariner which is priced at 12,900 AUD (that is if you can get one from your AD just walking in).

Perhaps a better companion would be between the Polaris date (ref 9068670) and the Polaris Mariner date. Polaris date is priced at 12,900 AUD for a 200m water-resistant depth and comes equipped with a rubber strap and JLC 899A/1 calibre (38 hr power reserve). Both versions are of 42mm case rising and  Polaris date has a 13.1mm thickness compared to 13.92mm thickness on the Mariner date. Considering all these points, the price difference between these two watches is about 4,500 AUD. Now it’s up to each individual to decide whether the 17,400 AUD price tag is worth it or not.

Reference : 9068180

In all fairness, the ultra-cool Memovox (ref 9038180) is priced at 27,300 AUD. So in a way, Mariner date’s pricing is justifiable? 

I’ll leave it to you guys to decide.

Final thoughts….

This latest release by Jaeger-LeCoultre brings together innovation and tradition to create a new visually stunning timepiece that is a perfect addition to the existing Polaris collection. Not only does this timepiece pay homage to the Maison’s past, but it also brings it to the 21st century with modern design cues and updated movement. 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Date Specification:

Model Reference: 9068180
Case Dimensions: 42 mm, height: 13.92 mm and Lug-Lug of 49mm
Dial: Blue Case Material: Steel
Case-back: See-through case back with sapphire crystal
Movement: Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 899AB
Power Reserve: Minimum 70 hours
Functions: Date, Hour – Minute, Rotating rehaut, Seconds
Bracelet: Steel Bracelet

Australian Retail Pricing : $17,400.00

Availability: Available now

Jaeger-LeCoultre Boutiques:

  • Melbourne – 86 Collins Street
  • Sydney – Shop 4, 84 King Street

Local Authorised dealers :

  • Brisbane – The Hour Glass
  • Melbourne – The Hour Glass and Watches of Switzerland
  • Sydney – Swiss Concept and Watches of Switzerland
  • Perth – Watches of Switzerland

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