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Extremely rare 1965 series
This example is an extremely rare Polaris 1st Series “1965”, in excellent condition.
The inner caseback has the year 65 preceded by a hyphen and the number of the month (9). Important to note is that it is the very early and rare version without holes.
The dial is LeCoultre and the alarm disc has the Memovox indication. It is the first version with applied stainless steel baton indexes, which is correct for this early model. The hands are baton style, which is also conform (both alpha and baton hands were fitted on this version). The 3 crowns are original.
Both the case serial number (engraved on the inside back) and the movement serial number are correct for the year of production (1965).
The caliber is in very good condition, with the LeCoultre inscription on the bridge, which is correct for this example.
The case looks unpolished and has very light signs of time. The dial and the bezel are in perfect condition.
This piece represents a unique opportunity for any watch collector to acquire a very rare 1965 Polaris model in excellent condition.
About the model
The initial story came in 1959 when Jaeger-LeCoultre first thought about creating a diving watch with alarm. Mr. Lowe, who was president of the LeCoultre Watch in New York, submitted a letter to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Board of Directors proposing to create a diving watch with an alarm function. The result came out in 1959 with the Memovox Deep Sea Alarm (ref. E857), equipped with the calibre K 815. A little more of 1’000 pieces were made of this reference and it was the first automatic diving alarm wristwatch in the world.
The Polaris as we know it today was born a few years later in July 1963 when 50 Memovox de plongée prototypes were created (ref. E859). It was a large case of 42mm which was exceptionally large for that time, but perfect for underwater legibility. The name Polaris was chosen as the US division of Jaeger-LeCoultre wanted a name to describe the growing spirit of adventure, be it water or polar expeditions or space.
A unique system was developed to allow the alarm sound to be more audible under water and it was cased in a triple caseback that enabled it to be water resistant to 200 meters. It was also equipped with the patented Piquerez Compressor System. To ensure better operating security, the rotating ring was positioned under the glass activated by a third crown.
The Polaris ref. E859 was made in 1’714 pieces between 1965 and 1970 in all its variants:
- Prototype in 1963: 50 units (never commercialized and not counted in the global volume of 1’714 pieces);
- 1st Series “1965”: 500 units;
- 2nd Series “1968”: 1’214 units of which 9 units produced in 1967, 1’150 units produced in 1968, and 55 units produced in 1970.
All model variants have the same stainless steel case model, blacks dials, date at 3 o’clock and the K 825 caliber, but have different indexes, hands and casebacks.
The watch has 3 crowns: the first at 2 o’clock is used to charge the alarm spring and if extracted has the dual function of setting up and stopping of the alarm signal itself, the second at 3 o’clock is used to rotate the inner ring (to set the alarm), and the third at 4 o’clock is used for charging the watch and, if extracted or pulled out, to adjust the time and date.