Velociphile's Journey into Watches

Adhoc stuff about wristwatches. The technology of horology, escapements and patents to the industry and the market. Try me in Japanese or Chinese

Saturday, April 05, 2008

JLC Polaris Re-Edition - Lost Opportunity

Say Rolex to a non WIS and they might say Submariner or Daytona.  Say Omega and they might say Moonwatch, Speedmaster or Seamaster.  Breitling - Navitimer and so on. Most companies would kill to get this kind of identification of their brand.  Say Jaeger to most and you'll get a blank look, maybe they might just know Reverso, but that's probably about it.

Rightly or wrongly 'Polaris,' at least among WIS, is now as heavily identified with the JLC Brand as the Submariner with Rolex or Speedmaster with Omega.  It's only a short step to make it a public icon - so why the limited re-issue? JLC should make it a serial piece.

My interest in getting JLC to re-issue Polaris is well documented and well known. Having been told 'no-way' by no less than the top of JLC and that JLC doesn't repeat itself, I am happy they have relented on this.  It's been a long journey.... and we're finally here. 

For some reason I'm just not as excited as I thought I would be (maybe it's because there is no '63 version above). Let's try to answer the question people have been asking me, like I'm some kind of Polaris expert, is which one do I get?!

Of course, in so far as the movements will be modern and equivalent and with '65, '68 and Paris Boutique versions (apparently awarded for getting JLC to go ahead with the Polaris re-issue..... errrr is that some kind of joke?) to choose from, it encourages an 'authenticity' and aesthetic review rather than a technical one.

Nothwithstanding the ongoing debates of what JLC did exactly make 40+ years ago (hands and dials) they remain somewhat moot when the choice implied is now or never.  As to the 65/68 debate, frankly from what I've seen of the protos, I'm amazed and they got the look perfectly right. Forget the backs it's all about the look and the discrepancies beween the originals and re-issues in the dial execution are small.

One thing of interest though, the deliberate avoidance by JLC of sapphire crystal is almost too inspired to be believed and I echo Dario who considers this may be to JLC's detriment for 'mainstream' sales. This attention to such a subtle detail lost on 99.9% of the buying public makes it all the more odd that they've got the date window cutting the alarm ring is unforgiveable - so I hear a fix is in the offing, but why was this error ever made?

So which one?  For me, I would go for a 68, just don't expect it to be an investment.

Except I won't be. One more for you then........ Why? Well, with the cachet of Polaris better established in the brand DNA of JLC after and somewhat in spite of the AMVOX debacle, let's just say you can expect more Polaris 'inspired' pieces so maybe you shouldn't blow your wad yet.  


  • At April 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ha ha. Yeah, couldn't agree more. S'funny, I remember you giving Jerome Lambert such a hard time back in 2004 - looks like it paid off tho'! But Yves at Paris gets the credit? What BS is that? Thanks to you we got our Polaris re-issue.

    Good to have you back BTW.

    A fan

  • At April 07, 2008, Blogger Velociphile said…

    Fan, UR 2 kind. Can I take credit for a no-brainer decision like this? Maybe I helped a little.... anyway the important bit is we got there in the end! It was worth falling out with JL over anyways. Good luck in the allocation.....

  • At April 09, 2008, Anonymous Lord Croker said…

    Dear fellow, rest assured only a half wit is in doubt as to who inspired this breakthrough. What an elegant beauty the 63 is, so why the 65 I wonder? In the meantime I will attempt to land one of the 768. By the by, have you seen the IWC Aquatimer re-issue?

  • At April 09, 2008, Blogger Velociphile said…

    My Lord you are too kind too. IWC? Yes I have. But for the '7750' insides it could have otherwise been a choice.


  • At April 11, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not entirely sure what you seem to offer a lot of praise...and after going on about it for so long this seems a little off to be frank.

  • At April 12, 2008, Blogger Velociphile said…

    Thanks 'anonymous'. If you want to read fawning praise, well you know where to find it..... ;-) It's nice it's finally here after such a battle, but not for me this time.

  • At April 15, 2008, Blogger KronosClub said…


    Could not have said it better.

    Actually you might have revealed something without being aware of it. Reading your post I have noticed that Jaeger add the vintage to the model of Polaris. Cold it be that there are more on the way? Maybe the Polaris line will be ended by a Polaris 2000 and something? Several LEs at first and a modern Polaris as a regular production model?

    It could be that the battle is not over just yet.


  • At April 25, 2008, Anonymous digitalkl said…

    i immediate thought of you when I saw this Polaris re-edition thing....hehee

  • At April 25, 2008, Blogger Velociphile said…

    Kind of you D'KL. Yep, it's well known I campaigned and posted on this several years ago - and at the highest level. In fact as an example the TZ archive shows that there was not ONE single reply to my post suggesting this reissue such was the lack of interest from even one of the largest JLC forums at the time.

    The guys who deserve the prize for keeping this flame alive are definitely not the f**ppin' Paris Boutique - pardon my French.... thanks to Clavi and Ilja by the way - oh and Vadim for their Polaris passion. Maybe they should get free ones for keeping the interest up.


  • At May 06, 2008, Anonymous sooks said…


    U the best, man. You may not get many comments but always remember, you are well liked and well regarded. A lot of people read but very few posts.

    Now, we have the Polaris at astronomically high prices. JLC will make a huge bundle for every single watch sold. They SHOULD thank you by giving you their 1st piece or if that has been reserved/sold, make you a piece unique :)

    Keep blogging, my friend.

  • At May 07, 2008, Blogger Velociphile said…

    Sooks, Welcome! Well you are so very kind. But, JLC have probably given me more than I deserve already LOL. I'll tell you what, if that happens, I'll auction it for a good cause. (And I know, only allow all 3 subscribers registered before today to bid......)

  • At November 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nobody ever discredited your 2004 inspiration; it was simply not the right timing for the watch, for JLC and for the market.

    Your inspiration was based on a JLC watch that is part of JLC patrimony, so even if your designs were published in 2004, nonetheless this piece is propriety of JLC

    The 3 people that made this idea a project have never claimed to be the owner of any designs and material. However, extensive researches and works were carried to be in details as precise as possible to the original versions.

    The idea of re-introducing a Polaris was made due to several converging circumstances (growing appreciation of Vintage watches, Heritage Gallery, JLC diving patrimony etc…) with respect to managing JLC marketing, budget and product development strategy, thus leading to further analysis and ending in a triumphant project.

    You may feel let down, but all it balls down to, at the time You never presented a satisfactory proposal outlining the benefits and or motivations which could have led to a proposed project.

    In the end all that matters is that all watches and Polaris enthusiasts are given an opportunity to acquire an accurate re-edition of a legendary JLC piece.

    You ought to know that your 2004 inspiration and support was noted!

    Don’t be left out, get one too ;-)

  • At November 02, 2008, Blogger Velociphile said…

    Yves, Merci tellement beaucoup pour votre visite ici. Je ne pense pas qu'il soit possible de proposer directement à JLC. (Ce n'est pas mon travail!) En fait, en 2004 j'ai eu une réponse simple à partir de M. Lambert, "JLC ne répétez pas!" ....

    J'ai donc pensé qu'il y avait aucun espoir. Mais, nous sommes arrivee a la destination Polaris enfin.... Bon,c'est la chose la plus importante.

    Chapeau à tout le monde à JLC.



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