Jaeger-LeCoultre enriches the Polaris collection with a Perpetual Calendar
In 2022, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduces a perpetual calendar to the Polaris line for the first time, enriching the collection with one of horology’s most complex, useful and prized complications. With a deep gradient-blue lacquer dial amplifying its sporty-elegant style, the Polaris Perpetual Calendar takes its aesthetic cues from the Polaris Mariner Memovox. Its newly developed, in-house movement, Jaeger- LeCoultre Calibre 868AA provides a display of the moon phases in both hemispheres, as well as an extended power reserve of 70 hours, in addition to the perpetual calendar displays and rotating inner bezel – a signature of the Polaris line.
- Redefining the modern sporty-elegant wristwatch, the Polaris perpetual calendar is powered by the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 868AA
- A gradient-blue lacquer dial provides a visually rich and highly legible display of calendar indications and the moon phases in both hemispheres
- The 42 mm case in steel or pink gold features a rapid-change attachment for the interchangeable straps
The historic Polaris name was reintroduced by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 2018 with an entirely new line of watches that harness the Manufacture’s distinguished legacy of diving watches, and translate the spirit of the celebrated 1968 Memovox Polaris into contemporary form. Conceived for everyday adventures, with a combination of robust capabilities, practical functions and a distinctive aesthetic, the Polaris collection has redefined the modern sporty-elegant watch.
and a new Perpetual Calendar calibre
The reason for the complexity of our calendar, with its leap years and different number of days in the months, lies in an anomaly between the way we measure civil time and the celestial phenomena on which those measurements are based.
Consequently, for watchmakers, a perpetual calendar is among the most challenging complications to master; a miniature mechanical computer, it must automatically adjust for months of different lengths and even for leap years.
Unlike a simple date display, which needs to be adjusted at the end of every month that doesn’t have 31 days, a perpetual calendar will not need any manual correction until 2100 and, after that, only for the centenary years that are not leap years.
Ancient civilisations defined a year as the time it takes for the Sun to return to the same position in the sky, completing a full cycle of seasons. This solar (or “tropical”
) year lasted approximately 365.2425 days – and led to the creation of the first calendars. However, a 365-day calendar year is almost six hours shorter than a solar year. The Julian Calendar, introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar, compensated by adding an extra day to February every fourth year. However, this was an over- compensation and in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII eliminated some leap years. According to the Gregorian Calendar, which we use to this day, any year that is divisible by 4, is a leap year; however, if it can also be divided by 100, it is not a leap year (for example 1900, 2100); nevertheless, those centenary years that can be divided by 400, are leap years (2000, 2400).
At the end of the 19th
century, LeCoultre & Cie developed its first perpetual calendar pocket watches. Due to the difficulty of creating such complex mechanisms on the tiny scale of a watch, the complication was still extremely rare when Jaeger-LeCoultre presented its first perpetual calendar wristwatch in 1937. Since then, the Manufacture’s watchmakers have continuously improved the precision and quality of these remarkable mechanisms.
The new Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 868AA developed for the Polaris Perpetual Calendar has evolved from the well-proven in-house perpetual calendar movement that first appeared in 2013. It has been upgraded in line with the Manufacture’s latest technical innovations and significantly modified, with a retrograde display of Southern Hemisphere moon phases complementing the classical Northern Hemisphere moon-phase display, as well as an increase in power reserve to 70 hours. Supplementing the calendar indications, the rotating inner bezel – a Polaris signature – offers the practical function of measuring elapsed time.
Lacquered in a deep gradient-blue colour, the dial of the Polaris Perpetual Calendar takes its aesthetic cues from the Polaris Mariner Memovox. The graduated blue suggests the transition from day to night – a subtle reminder of the connection between celestial phenomena and time measurement.
With an emphasis on balance and legibility, the calendar indications are displayed in three sub-dials. The date, month and day indicators are at 9, 12 and 3 o’clock respectively, with the year displayed within the month indicator.
A pleasing reminder that calendars had their origins in astronomical phenomena, the moon phases are displayed at 6 o’clock – with a retrograde display for the Southern Hemisphere framing a classical display for its Northern counterpart. Each of the four sub-dials is slightly recessed and finished in different textures, adding visual richness as the light plays across them.
At the centre of the dial, a small security zone indicator shows red between the hours of 20:00 and 04:00 to warn the user not to adjust the time or calendar indications. Skeletonised hands allow greater visibility of the indications and, in keeping with the contemporary Polaris design codes, bold trapezoid-shaped indexes balance the complexity and fine detail of the calendar displays. Luminescent coating on hands and indexes enhances legibility in all light conditions – an essential attribute for a sport watch.
The 42 mm cases, in steel or pink gold, feature the key Polaris design codes: taut lines, fine bezels, glass-box crystals, and an eye-catching mix of brushed and polished surfaces. A transparent sapphire crystal case-back and an open-worked pink gold winding rotor reveal the fine decorative finishes on the movement.
Crucially for a timepiece designed for everyday living, the Polaris Perpetual Calendar is easy to operate and adjust. The top crown rotates the inner bezel – both features being Polaris signatures – while the lower crown is for setting the time and winding the watch. Calendar settings are adjusted via a single pusher.
Thanks to a newly developed interchangeable strap system, which is operated by simply pressing on the pushers integrated into the attachment point between the lugs, the Polaris Perpetual Calendar is adaptable for every adventure. Capitalising on its sporty character, the steel model is offered with both a three-link steel bracelet and textured rubber strap, while the elegance of the pink gold model is complemented by a blue rubber strap and, for a more formal look, an alligator strap with a folding buckle. Adding to the options for personalisation is a collection of calfskin straps in a variety of colours.
True to La Grande Maison’s guiding philosophy of marrying tradition and modernity, the Jaeger- LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar now brings one of horology’s great complications into the world of contemporary sporting elegance.
The Stellar Odyssey
In 2022 Jaeger-LeCoultre pays homage to the astronomical phenomena that lie at the very origin of how mankind measures time. Since the earliest days of the Manufacture, astronomical functions have played a major role in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s portfolio of complicated timepieces – ranging from simple forms of moon phase display to highly complex perpetual calendars, equation of time, sky charts, and the draconic and anomalistic lunar cycles. Mastering all three measures of time – solar, lunar and sidereal – the watchmakers of La Grande Maison have perpetually innovated to create the most advanced and precise mechanisms that represent or even predict celestial phenomena. This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre embarks on a Stellar Odyssey with an immersive exhibition and a series of themed events that will embrace inspirational collaborations with a visual artist and a mixologist, and a fascinating programme of celestially-themed Discovery Workshops at Atelier d’Antoine. The Stellar Odyssey is an invitation to discover how the mysteries of the cosmos are translated into micro-mechanical wonders for the wrist.